Death has been in the news since last few weeks. People have passed in quick succession. Some old and some not so old.
My Dad’s elder brother passed away when I was out on the Jim Corbett Trip. My mom’s aunt passed away couple of weeks back. A former neighbor passed away from heart attack and a childhood friend passed away, again from a heart attack.
The neighbor was not old to die so early. A mother of 4, I knew her as she lived in our building. I knew their children better than her.
My mom’s aunt passed away after some complication. Again my mom knew her better and I had met her when she came to our house. A loss for my mom though.
My Dad’s elder brother, my uncle passed away when I was on the Jim Corbett trip. Although I would talk to mom everyday, she did not tell me that. I was informed when I came back from the trip. Relation with my uncle was not at all good during all these years. He was critically ill back in December 2002. Mom and Dad had gone to see him and take care of him. Nobody had thought he would survive.
A month later, Dad passed away. Our relation with uncle and his family were not on the best of terms. And after the scene they created during Dad’s funeral, I had stopped having any contact with them. Although they were and are blood relation, I hardly had and have any emotional connect with my uncle.
When mom told me about his passing away, I did not react much. It was like someone distant had passed away. It felt like I was watching a news channel and the news does not concerns me. Mom and Brother went to the 12 days ceremony and I did not go. I did not feel I should be there, even though it was my social responsibility.
The whole idea of being there and interacting with the rest of the family gave me cold feet. I was afraid that some of the family member might make a comment and I might not react favorably with them. The whole show of “pretending” is what I did not agree with and was not comfortable with. I realized that I was not uncomfortable of the ceremony but of the people my uncle left behind.
I guess it goes in the family!
Sri stayed in the same building as ours. When we were small, he along with his brother were very good friend of mine. Both elder than me, I would tag with them and they knowingly and unknowingly protected me. When I was in 3rd or 4th Standard, they moved to a new home. We met them a couple of times but in absence of modern communication devices like email and phone, we just drifted away.
I had not seen them for maybe past 20-25 years. I do have some blurry image of the two brothers but nothing much. Sri, the younger of the two was maybe a couple of years elder to me.
I heard that he was working in a high stressful job when he had a heart attack. He died in his sleep. I did not know how to react to his death. He was not that close now to feel anything for him. I don’t know what kind of life he lived or how he had grown up. Was he the same friendly boy or had he matured enough? Lots of life has passed between us.
He was totally out of touch to remember anything but a small part of my life had been spent with him. A small part of my childhood which I still remember has his presence.
I haven’t gone to meet the family yet although my mom has gone and met them. But it made me think. How does a young guy passes away at this age. Maybe it was his time, maybe he should have slowed down. Lots of questions unanswered. We stay in the same city but we have never met in more than 20 years and that was surprising if not shocking.
In all these death, however there was something to cheer about. My younger brother got engaged. The marriage is in November.
So we had these small ceremony of the engagement two weeks before. When your younger brother is getting married and you are nowhere in the horizon, its not a pleasant experience.
I was prepared for the obvious questions of “When are you giving us laddu?”
I coolly point out to the laddus for my brother’s engagement.
I would always cringe at the question asked during these functions
“So, what about you”
If I answer that efforts are being taken, then they would insist that I be serious and then they start to tell me how my mother is suffering because of me and how I need to take responsibilities. This can go on with me getting uncomfortable and nodding my head in agreement. My seriousness is judged by the delay I am facing to get a bride. The more the delay, the less the seriousness.
But then I have found a way to enjoy or rather turn the table on them.
I smile, the best smile i could put and then say
“Trying! Efforts are on. Do you know any girl? Do you have any girl in mind?”
The next moment, they either walk away or smile or mutter some promises of finding me a girl. 99% they are off my neck and looking for the next victim. Most probably they will never ask me the same question that evening.
I agree, I am a tough product to sell!