12th August 2015
I had called my mother that morning. They had told her about the accident and said he was ‘critical’. She was on her way to me. I was distraught, I wasn’t thinking, the only thing I wanted was to tell my mother. So I called her. She was already at the airport and I was crying in the phone. She tried to console me:
(rough translation as our conversation was in Hindi)
Mom: (anxious) Don’t cry baby, it’s going to be ok
Me: (crying) No, no, nothing will ever be ok again
Mom: (crying too) I’m coming beta, i’ll be there and we’ll make everything ok. He’ll be fine
Me: (screaming) Nooo maa, he won’t be fine. They put him in the cold storage.
Mom: (wailing) I’m coming, I’m coming.
Because of the distances everyone was traveling from, we had asked them to directly reach H, and not come to the hospital. We don’t keep the dead, they are cremated the same day. So mom was also on her way to H, and due to procedural delays when I got there with G (9:30pm), she was already there.
As I stepped out of the ambulance, I could hear her wails. I had thought I’d get there and sob away in my mother’s arms, but she was crying more than me. After the whole day of crying, my tears had dried away. And the crowd and the cries were unnerving me. I just wanted to be with him and shut everyone out.
The preparations had already been done and they laid him out on the floor – just where his grandma lay 2 years ago. They covered him in garlands and poured holy water in his mouth. I just kept looking at him – not crying – and my mom kept trying to cover my eyes. I fought back and kept looking – just a few more minutes left now.
I poured water in his mouth too and watched as they carried him away to be burned. Women in our culture don’t go to the cremation grounds, and I didn’t push this point. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to see him burn or smell his charred flesh. So I bid my final goodbye on the steps of his grandfather’s house that he loved so much.
They came back after they set fire to the pyre, and just after that the skies opened and it rained.