Under His Wings: Remembering My Father!

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5 min read

📱The Phone Call!

On an usual afternoon of September in 2019, I received a call from home, while roaming around the hostel corridor. The low voice at the other end immediately hinted that things were not right back at home.

To add on to my anxiety, I was asked to visit home for a couple of days, despite there being no holiday or special event in the schedule.

I arrived home only to discover that my father had been detected with symptoms of blood cancer and would soon be traveling to Mumbai for the treatment.

Suddenly, we were at the lowest phase of our life & something I couldn't ever digest. My brother and I, with heavy hearts, had to see our parents off at the airport.

Our uncle joined them to assist on the journey to Tata Memorial Hospital, well known for its cancer treatement facilities.

🏫Back to Hostel…

Left with no alternatives, I returned to my hostel, burdened by the emotional toll of the moment.

This news appeared in the beginning of the 7th Semester, when the academic session had just kicked off.

I never found the courage to open up about this to anyone at college. Balancing the emotional strain with the pressure to complete my education was overwhelming.

I pretended like, everything was alright in my life! Each night, I went to bed ridden with anxiety, dreading any calls from home, always fearing the worst. After all, it concerned the father.

Notice the strange turn life took: that specific semester was the first time during my engineering studies where I experienced a major improvement in my academic performance, jumping directly from an average grade point of 6 to 8.5.

This progress was largely due to the support of some helpful classmates followed by clearance of all my backlogs.

😑
See the game of life, when something got fixed, something remained unresolved!

✉️A Letter By Post!

Though I had met him in the winter break, I felt as if certain conversations were left incomplete, the kind that couldn't be properly conveyed through a call or WhatsApp.

Therefore in the mid of January 2020, I sent a handwritten letter to him. Then he was undergoing routine checkups at a hospital in my hometown, after returning from Mumbai.

This was during the final semester of my engineering journey. In the letter, I expressed admiration for his bravery and mental fortitude in handling the situation & leading the family.

I informed him of my decision not to sit for the GATE exam or for PSU companies. I reassured him not to worry about my career, emphasizing that I was putting my efforts. At the end, I had insisted him on taking due care of his health, more over anything else!

🦠Amidst The Lockdown

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, followed by a nationwide lockdown, the initial two months felt chaotic.

I found myself without a clear path, lacking any solid tasks to focus on until I unexpectedly received a call from the organization in Delhi where I had previously interned. They offered me a position, almost without an interview, just two days later. Can’t be more grateful!

The subsequent three months were consumed by intense work, day and night, while in another room, my father was battling with his illness.

The constant trips between the hospital and home, along with a relentless stream of medications, became the focal point of our existence.

Even at that point in time, he’d find it irritating if we rally around him concerning his health, rather he’d push us to get back to work.

😑The Black Wednesday

In an afternoon, I was busy with tasks related to a product launch. After his routine medications and lunch, my father experienced difficulty in breathing.

We immediately sought transportation to the hospital. However, that bleak afternoon of September 30 in 2020, which I've come across to think of as "Black Wednesday," brought no positive news.

My father departed, a painful fact, that was confirmed upon the arrival at the hospital by an ambulance.

The ground slipped beneath our feet and time passed in a blur as I tried processing with the reality of what had happened, all while navigating through the rituals.

I reached out to a few friends for support and requested some personal time off from my office, which was granted without hesitation.

🪄Personal Reflections

During the rituals held in his honor, I couldn't fully grasp the magnitude of the loss. It was only after the relatives had left and we found ourselves with a moment to reflect that the reality truly hit us with full force.

For a considerable period, my mind was just a void.

The home he had devoted his life's savings to construct barely could host him for a while. It made me question the purpose of life and all that we gather for the future.

This experience profoundly altered my outlook, highlighting the paramount importance of spending time with loved ones. On days, when nothing happens and I return home with a gloomy face, it’s the family which treats me the same.

My father and I often engaged in discussions about my career path, debating over his advice for me to pursue Medical exams before moving for engineering or to opt for a career in government services.

Despite our differing viewpoints, we shared a profound bond of love and respect. It was actually he who encouraged my English learning and honed my writing skills that have consistently rewarded me, even to this day!

🚵Life Ahead…

I felt the urge to cry, but merely three weeks following his passing, I returned to my professional responsibilities. He had always emphasized the importance of prioritizing work above all else, even the day before he passed away.

Also, I took a week’s off to the hostel to pack our belongings and say our final goodbyes to the engineering journey.

At times, when I get any good news related to work, my eyes get filled with tears & in those times I truly miss the presence of my father.

😶
I always wish to tell him that I’m capable of something, but I won’t have the luxury to say so ever!