By Ms. Ankita Gupta
The afternoon was packed with meetings and there were a billion things on my mind. Post work, there were a number of household chores that needed to be done. Make dinner, hang the washed laundry, spend time with the 3-year-old who just came back from day-care, eat and complete my Dutch homework. All this, with simultaneously hoping that my husband would be in a good mood to finish the remaining chores without being asked to. Meanwhile my best friend had been in labour since the previous day and while I was eager to hear the joyous news any minute, my mind was also racing towards the tasks I needed to do for her. The pandemic definitely gets cursed every day. The grandparents couldn’t come to help with the new-born. And so, I had to step up and make this new mother as relaxed as possible.
Sitting in a co-working space amidst this pandemic, as the ground floor of my building was getting renovated and it was impossible to continue ‘working-from-home’, my phone rang. Pausing my train of thought, I answered Rohan’s call in a hushed voice. It was a friend who wanted to know the address of the ‘Pooja Samaan’ shop. The busy-bee-me wondered for a second why would he ask such a question directly without exchanging any pleasantries, but the work meeting needed my attention more. I sent him a text with the location of the shop and got back to my meeting.
When my work-day finally ended, I called Rohan. I thought it wasn’t really nice of me not to ask him to come over and meet us if he was in our neighbourhood. As he answered my call, I could hear people talking in hushed voices and he too sounded a bit low-spirited. He said he couldn’t come at that time and would talk to me later. This felt strange enough to tell me that something was amiss. But soon I heard my 3-year-old talking cheerfully with his father while running through the corridor to our main door. Smiling from ear to ear, he told me that he received a sticker today because he didn’t wet his pants. Wow, a big milestone, we are getting there, thought the mother in me and soon I got back to working around the home and doing the daily tasks.
Later that evening after putting our son to bed, I told my husband about Rohan’s call. We called him up again and to our utter disbelief, he told us that his friend and colleague, only of 35 years had passed away due to cardiac arrest; leaving behind his wife and an 8-month old. Alone. In a foreign land. Finding himself at a loss of words, my husband took a minute and gathered the courage to ask what happened. We had only met this friend of Rohan’s once in a new year’s party. But we all remembered the evening clearly. What fun we had! Heavyhearted, he told us this happened all of a sudden during a soccer match. He passed away before any help could arrive.
I felt sick. I had goosebumps. This lamentable news took me directly to the corner of the divine in my home. And I just sat there without knowing what to say, what to ask. After sitting in silence for some time, I prayed to give his wife the strength to bear this irreparable loss and to be her guiding force in these times. I prayed for more power to her combating the situation, and that she finds comfort in her grief and wisdom to make the correct decisions.
And I realized how enormously fortunate I was to be just sitting there, with my family all safe and sound. Life hasn’t been a bed of roses and with hardships came unfulfilled expectations and arguments and misunderstandings. But we persevered through it all.
We take life for granted. We just go up and about without pausing for a minute to thank the Almighty for taking care of us; for being there always, without us knowing it; for all our basic necessities. And this is not the first time we might have realised this but somehow in the daily grind, we tend to forget the unfortunate incidents that brought us closer to this awakening. I hope this time brings me even closer to Him.
I hope we learn to love and forgive with all our heart. Life could change in the blink of an eye. Life is precious and we must appreciate it and be grateful. I hope everyone finds time or rather takes out time to just contemplate how downright blessed he is. And that he makes conscious efforts to stay healthy, to love and to nurture. That he has his priorities set straight. That even if today wasn’t as he expected, tomorrow is a new day filled with endless possibilities. Be grateful for that new day. Not everybody made it.
The author is a software professional working at Netherlands. She describes herself as a literary enthusiast and a doting mother of a super-active child.