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Recently, I got an opportunity to visit my parents and be a guest to all my friends, extended family, Uncles, and Aunts. This visit was an opportunity to say "Goodbye" to some who were old, fragile, and sick. While I got a chance to give a "Welcome hug" to my niece and nephews whom I had met for the first time.
Towards the end of my visit when I was flying back home, I was happy with the welcome hugs but was quite emotional on the goodbyes more so since departing has never been easy for me. I went about recollecting all those memories of one aunt, in particular, whose condition is chronic. She has shared the space of my life for at least twenty years and counting.
I recollected going into splits of laughter with her, sharing a joke or two. Admiring her cooked food and praising her for the effort she put into it. I also remembered her loud laughter that would fill up the room, and even if I would be in a foul mood, it made me join in the laughter. The way she would join her two hands when amused over things, and exclaim a loud, "Dutt tere ki!"(Wow!).
She is a small figure, but her laughter could travel to all the rooms of our home whenever she would come visit us thus making me forget the books, and join in the fun. She used to be full of life, and would express amusement to such an extent that my laughter would be genuine, and literally tears would roll down my eyes. She could never sit still. And all age groups were welcome in her laughing crusade. I met her courtesy her daughter who was my classmate in High School. But somehow her bouncy, lively, energetic and playful attitude attracted my attention.
That day, when I visited her, she was confined to a wheelchair and would not utter a word. I was shocked. I had to stare hard and come to terms to her confinement.
My mom had given me a vague idea of her sickness, but I had never in my dream imagined her to be in that state. She was sitting quietly with her left hand balancing her head for most of the time as if meditating on her life. She looked pensive, and yet thoughtful. I, on the other hand, was looking at her with patience with the hope that she might just clap her hands in delight over something...just darn something and laugh aloud.
Alas! That did not happen.
Although I actively live by Gandhi's quote, "I do not want to foresee the future, I am concerned with taking care of the present."
I was devastated and was in tears while wishing if I would have known the future. Then maybe just maybe there would not be so much of heartbreak or I could have used the "Prevention is better than cure" mantra to alert my dad and other near and dear ones who also passed away after succumbing to a particular ailment.
Hugged her Goodbye and silently thanked her for the many waves of laughter and the memories that we created.
As I was consoling myself with the memories, I contemplated about the Past, Present, and the Future. These are mere tenses that are man-made cause when the mind is enjoying a reminiscence it can lighten up a grieving heart at any moment of the time. Thus, as I continue my life on this side of the world, I pray that her family finds solace in her memories and live the present with passion as if there is no tomorrow!
Mantra for today: Memories can halt time!