Today was Ugadi – a new year celebration for G’s community and an important festival. Every year on this day his mom would give us a bite of Neem leaves and jaggery signifying the bittersweet aspect of life. In observance of mourning, we didn’t do any of the traditional rituals and it was just another day in passing. I guess we don’t need Neem to tell us how bitter life can be! We just sat and scrolled through some of his pics and tried to laugh with teary eyes.
And that’s when things got bad. We were just sitting down for lunch when G’s brother called. His business partner and friend had met with an accident and he wanted my sis-in-law to come over with some money. As she was leaving, she asked me to come too, and without thinking I just went along. I knew these people too, and was concerned. But I didn’t anticipate the effect it will have on me.
At the mention of the word ‘accident’ my heart had already started thumping a different way – heavier, harder, and irregular. When we reached the hospital, we were asked to bring over his wife. He was okay, just a fracture in his right arm and no other major injuries. That was some relief, so we went to pick her up. She didn’t know till then, and my sis-in-law called her to pick up some stuff and be ready. She was so chirpy when she picked the phone, she thought we were coming to pick her up for some plans as it was a holiday today. The minute the word ‘accident’ was mentioned her tone changed. And I heard it!
We reached her place, and she was disoriented, she just wanted to reach the hospital, not caring what she packed, what she didn’t and as we left the house she started crying. I could see myself in her place just a few months ago. I could feel everything I felt that day again – the terror, the uncertainty, the ghastly images that the word ‘accident’ conjures up, the desperate desire to be at the side of your loved one, the shaking hands and quivering voice, the tears that are ready to spill at a moments notice… I was back in August again, in my room at the dead of the night, trying to pack up stuff we’ll need when we reached G.
It was all so real again that unwillingly some tears spilled over – I hope I hid them well; I didn’t want to add to her panic. Thankfully for her, all was well. He’s getting a plate put in his hand and will be out of commission for a few months, but he is there and he is okay. They are okay and they have a second chance.
Things happen everyday that remind us how frail we really are – how mortal. Everyday a reminder that this might be the last moment we have… make the most of it.