It had been almost 2 years since he was lying on his couch. Day and Night. The laziness was doing every possible experiment on this guy. Being a doctor, it was pretty unusual routine for him. After all which doctor spends 12 hours of the day sleeping and watching tv and gossiping about everything around. He was not like this when he was young. In fact he was very enthusiastic and lively in his early days.
His wife, just like anybody else’s wanted her husband to change his routine. It was an arranged marriage and the first time they saw each other was when they were getting married. That’s how Indian culture had always been. Parents used to decide about marriage of their children. With whom, when, where, everything. Only those lucky odd offsprings got to choose their spouse. So for obvious reasons it took sometime for these two to get along. But then love doesn’t care about that. It has its own way of wooing people. Overtime it plays different games. The cupids move all around to do their jobs. They played well on these two as well and now they loved each other like anything.
The couple had a son who was very kind and generous. Though he lived in USA for his job and had his own family, he would get in touch with his parents at least once a week over phone. After all international calls are not that cheap and old generation doesn’t know about skype or even internet for that matter. The son would visit his home once a year with his wife and son. After all which parents don’t want to be with their children?
This year too, he came to meet his parents. Only for a week though. But that was enough to bring a smile on the proud parents. Their son was happy and successful.The son however didn’t want to come this year. For whenever he came in last few years, he would hate to see his father always lying on the couch. He would want to tell his father to get up, ask him to behave like he used to. But then he would pull himself back.
He knew his father was not doing this deliberately. He knew he was not lazy either. The reason for this couch effect was something serious. He knew that his dad’s body had lost it’s immunity. Cancer germs were swimming like fishes of a sea inside his blood. Every now and then his father would feel a thick fire burning inside. A pain that only the one suffering it could feel. A pain that a normal person can’t even imagine. But then, he won’t say anything for it may frighten his son, his daughter-in-law, his grandson and most importantly his love, his wife.
He wanted to live badly. 55 is not an age to die after all. Being a doctor, he had always helped people. Had very good sense of humor as well. His regular patients would occassionaly visit him not to consult but to see if their patient doctor did improve in his health. And they knew that he was fighting with an enemy damaging every bit of him inside.
“He will get cured as he himself is a doctor. He knows about his body and knows how to take care of that” – many people argued – but the germs inside didn’t know that. They had their own family to feed.
One day he was extremely critical and was taken to the hospital. Doctors and Specialists from every big hospital of the country were contacted. Some who were available also diagonsed this patient doctor. But they knew it’s out of their control now. Only if some miracle happens, would he be able to survive.
However, he had his will-power. He didn’t want to die. He didn’t deserve to die. Not at this age.
“My son will go back to USA after I die. Who will take care of my wife? Should I ask her to go with our son? Should I ask our son to take his mother with him? What if she doesn’t like the food in USA? What if she couldn’t live happy after me? What if she couldn’t adjust herself in a new environment? How will she live without me?”
Later that night with his eyes closed, he started feeling extreme pain inside, though it didn’t hurt him as much as these questions did. The love for his wife was somehow keeping his breath going. He was tensed. He was angry. For the first time in his life, he started hating God because he was not getting answers to these questions.
And then he sensed somebody holding his hand. Slowly he opened his eyes. With tears in her eyes, she came closer to him.
“Was I a good husband?” he asked with as much power as he could gather. She could not say a word. Her heart felt a thousand watt. Seeing your better half dying in front is not going to be easy for anybody. But she knew he was indeed the best. She nodded in affirmation and more tears in her eyes.
“Was I a good husband?” he asked again. He wanted to hear, her say that. He won’t be able to die without listening to her. She knew he was in huge pain. Even she had started feeling his pain.
With all the courage she could possibly gather, she said “You are the best. With you I lived my life to the fullest. I saw the ups and I saw the downs. You cared for me more than my parents did. You loved me more than I love myself. You are my life. I know it won’t be same without you, but you’ll always be there with me.” she said sobbing harder.
With he lying on his bed, she bent down to put her head on his chest…probably hugging her life for one last time. She felt like a life dying out of her own body And then she said “I’ll live happy without you. You can go”
These were the words he wanted to hear. His hands started feeling cold. His feet started feeling chilled. He started shaking as if eletric current was flowing through his entire body. She started rubbing his hands, his feet but probably it wasn’t necessary. After a few seconds, time stopped ticking. The body had stopped shaking. Her husband had died and she was a widow now.
No matter if she lives with her son or plays with her grandson, no matter if she cries or smiles or laughs, no matter how happy her son keeps her, deep inside her heart, she will always be alone.
No money can ever buy you time. It’s important to earn money, but it’s essential to give time to the ones you love. No matter how far you are or how busy your life is, do talk to your parents at least once a day. They are the ones who don’t deserve to be alone. After all which parents don’t want to be with their children?