The zigzag lines moved at an irregular pace in the monitor. A constant beep echoed from the machines which kept us in control. Some uncountable tubes and wires extended from the life support system and went inside his body. He was lying still and the small area enclosed by curtains marked it as his territory. The air was thick with tension and we knew we were losing him. A sullen faced woman sat by his side but did not weep. She had shown extraordinary courage in the past few days and she continued to show a brave face to the world even now.
Life is that huge fat magical book which you can never finish at your own will. You are a reader but restricted. The book decides what you can read and what you have to miss. The funny thing about human nature is that it tries to control life all the time and fails at every attempt but never gives up the fight. We always try to cling on to people and things even when the ultimate Rule is clearly laid out in front of us.
The shuffling of feet outside indicated that her visiting time was over. She wiped her face with her veil and stood up to leave. Days had passed since her husband had uttered a word to her. She had snatched him from the clenches of the Devil of Death a decade back and she hoped for a miracle just like that even now. She was not ready to let him go.
She looked at her husband one more time when he opened his eyes and extended his hand to her. One good thing happened because of all the medicines he ate, he no longer needed those old-age-glasses to see and read. She grabbed his hand like that was all he needed. A tear escaped his eyes and the sheer pain in his eyes shook her from inside. He was not happy with the arrangement and he wanted to be free of the tubes which bound him, she knew it. She knew him well enough to know all that.
She had become frail and skeleton like in the past decades looking after him. 50 years with the man had made her accustomed to these sudden shocks and visits to the hospital. She looked more in need of medical attention than her husband but she never showed even a sign of instability. Some mythological stories seem so impossible to believe and specially the stories in India which are every bit magical. But instances like these never really pull you away from miracles. They keep reminding you of the power of love and care.
The couple was blessed with five children. They were all waiting outside when the doctor arrived with a thick file in his hand.
“His reports are not improving. The platelet count is dropping every hour.”
Somewhere deep inside everybody knew this but never admitted. Their father had some last few moments left of his life. His life was finally giving up on the battle it had started fighting on the night a chilly October night of 1994.
One of his friends had invited him to a small dinner party. The usual of an Income Tax Department party was there like drinks, food and laughter. He was all good until he came back home and reported some uneasiness to his wife. Next morning was followed by vomiting and certain blood rings appearing before his eyes. Terrified his family took him to a doctor in Lucknow, where he lived.
After certain tests and a trip to Mumbai, Plastic Anemia was confirmed. Life stopped there and never went back to normal. K.K Srivastava never went back to his job. His treatment started in Mumbai and continued till this moment. He resorted to a life which consisted of his family and some friends who played chess with him. That was one thing very dear to him.
He saw the Yamaraj (Demon of Death) once, all ready to take him to another world. He refused to go citing reasons of all his children unsettled. It was the time when during a blood transfusion session he was given the wrong blood group. It was a miracle that he survived and it was regarded as a miracle by all doctors always that he lived on for so many years even with an illness as serious as Plastic Anemia. He always had so many legends to retell and this was one of them.
The hospital was a torture cell and everybody in their own silent ways had acknowledged the truth except his wife. After a few hours we lost him forever……
K.K Srivastava was my Mother’s Father and this is true incident. My Nana (Grandfather) was an English Literature Enthusiast and did his graduation with it. He was an excellent poet and wrote brilliant Urdu & Hindi Shayari. He didn’t live to see me write and that is my biggest regret in life, to have started writing so late in life. He taught me the importance of reading and knowing our culture & traditions. He slipped in sweets and chocolates (always the same) when I was about to leave his house.
But like I said, we can never control life, no matter how much we try to drive things ‘our way’, it follows its own peculiar path which leaves us sometimes surprised and sometimes disappointed. I miss the influence of some people in my life who left me at a very young age but then God more than made up for it in his own magical ways.