It is 6 in the morning …. I have been awake for more than 2 hours now,
hearing the ticking clock…awaiting the first buzz of life around me…. Can feel
the warmth from my husband, Balu’s forehead on my arm, where he fell asleep
last night by my bedside…. His long heaves of breath have always been my solace
for the past 30 years of our married life….
This is something or maybe the only thing I will miss after today….
Yes, today is my last day of life….I know it today…though I did not
know it 2 months back. All that I remember was being admitted to this hospital
for a heartburn or gastric issue for which Balu insisted I needed a checkup.
Following that everything happened so quickly , checkup, some heart blockage
issues and an unexpected cardiac arrest on the operation table, which left me
hooked up to this wonderful machine which hums and ticks and beeps standing
like a warrior by my bedside today. Don’t be disillusioned by the looks of it, Mr. Ventilator is more expensive
than he looks, Balu’s bank account will vouch for that , trust me J !!
Getting back to the story, after 2 months of long struggle, finally the
doctors, relatives and my 2 children, Gowri & Shankar have convinced Balu
that he should let me go. According to the doctors, in layman’s terms, I am in
a vegetative state; don’t know why the word makes me picture myself as a cow or
goatJ. Upper portion of the
brain is not working, however I am breathing only because of Balu and the 2nd
warrior beeping away by the bedside. They have tried hard to convince Balu that
I am not able to hear him that I won’t ever wake up from this coma to nag him
again. Gowri & Shankar have also left all their work and been around from
The ever cheerful nurse, Malini came in sharp at 6.30 am. Even she looks
a little solemn today, or am I seeking sympathy in her eyes? Balu woke up with
a start, he always had a sheepish look when he awoke first thing in the
morning, which only I was privy to J . He kissed me on
my forehead and nuzzled my nose whispering “Rise & Shine ….” which was a
customary tradition to wake me up for the last 30 years.
He quickly freshened up, I heard the voice of Gowri trying to explain
on a long distance call to her kids and hubby that she would be coming home
soon, but till then to manage to find things by themselves, not fight with each
other, listen to Daddy etc.; poor thing, she & Shankar have been a rock of support
to Balu throughout. I thank God for giving me such a family….
I can hear the ruffle of the white coats… the doctor is here…along with
Shankar, talking in their medical jargon. Balu and Gowri have also huddled up
to them. The nurse asks them to step out since she has to get me ready. Do I
still need that sponge shower today, I wonder? Is Yamraj particular that his
clients should have a shower before they meet Chitragupta to gain entry to the
other world? Will make it a point to ask him when I meet him today.
A small tear dropped on my face by Malini, when she finished dressing me,
brought me back from thoughts. She was a woman of few words and only duty, she
combed my hair and smiled and told me that I was looking pretty and left
without turning back.
Gowri & Shankar came in together, sat by my bedside, held my two
hands, and bid me silent goodbyes. They have done me proud by being such
dutiful children that any parent would die for (no pun intended)!!
Next came in Balu, I heard him tell the doctor that he needed some time
with me… Man, wasn’t 30 years enough for you, I wanted to scream J. He came and sat by my bedside, held
my hand… and said, “ Bhadra, these white coat idiots say, you can’t hear
anything, but I know you can. And again we never needed words to understand,
did we? Except for when you used scream
your head off when we had our fights… or my mother had an opinion on your
cooking or when I would sit playing cards with my friends or when ….. , he was rambling away all those beautiful
moments non-stop. “ I have loved you from the moment you dropped the hot coffee
all over me when I first came to see you before marriage at your parents’
house, the day we got married, the day Shanker was born, the day Gowri was
born, our home, their marriages, our retirement , grandkids everything was so beautiful and it still will
be… “Slowly he took a bit of kumkum from the bedside and placed a round bindi
on my forehead and the remaining in my sindoor. (quite a romantic he was in his
He continued , “ I cannot let you go as they say, but I promise to
follow you soon, because as you always said “One should get married, after all
happiness is not the only thing in life, is it?” So you may go and get settled
down and as soon as things settle down here, will meet you there….could feel
him holding back tears behind the old black specs… I still remember my heart
swooning for the serious looking Lecturer in his bell bottom pants and so does
it even today…
Once again, he kissed me on my forehead, held my hand tightly less it
pains me while they switch off the machine. I was happy to go, I was at peace
…. My eyes still closed the last sound I heard was Balu’s breathing, while mine
went silent eternally.