Chapter 1: A bolt from the blue

A mesmerizing story of Death, Love and Life.....of afterlife and profound love....

I could see the gloom on their faces. My relatives seemed to be mourning and they looked shocked. I had no idea why they had all assembled there. It looked very strange and I guessed something was wrong. My sister and cousins were crying. My uncles and aunts looked in deep agony too. I went looking for my parents. I then found my father at the front door. He seemed absolutely devastated. Something like that could happen only when everything had gone wrong. It was like a scene from a movie and it seemed as if someone had died. I sensed some disaster had struck my family and ran towards the room where I found my mother wailing in agony. A streak of fear gripped me. I dashed off to our maid, who was standing nearby, to enquire about the matter. I asked her why everyone was so sad and ended up getting a cruel shock. She did not hear me and so did not even react to me. Annoyed, I shouted in anger and realised that none of them could hear me. No one even seemed to realise my presence. Something had gone horribly wrong. Why was not anyone noticing me? As if I had no body, no existence and hence no relevance to the people! Restlessness and fear started overpowering me. What was that? Why was it so? I pushed my sister out of desperation but she did not feel anything either. Reality dawned upon me soon. And yeah, I could now understand why my parents were in a state of shock. They had just lost their only son. I had died and preparations were on to consign my earthly existence to flames.


I had no remembrance of what had happened. I wanted to ask them but was totally helpless. I was no longer there for them. No one could sense my touch as I had lost my body. There are times when you feel so helpless. Even the most powerful of the people have experienced their bouts of helplessness. One feels so comfortable when the surroundings are familiar but is totally at unease when circumstances become unfamiliar. And people are reminded of their Gods when they see their helplessness. As much as I wanted to communicate to them, it was now impossible. I could not see any means of conveying my feelings to them. I hated to see them sad but I could not even talk to them. After the bouts of helplessness and agony, I realised I would now never be able to talk to them. It was cruel, I felt. I needed just one chance. I wanted that one last moment with my parents when we could have a conversation. I had cuddled so often in my mother’s warm embrace and that had always been one of my genuine rights. But a moment of that was never going to come my way anymore. My grief-stricken Mom made my predicament even bigger. “Just once”, I prayed to the almighty. But life hardly gives you that one last opportunity. “Life is harsh”, I had heard people say when I was alive but I was now convinced, “Death is harsher”. I desperately wanted to know what had transpired and how I had died. I remembered nothing. And my very own people were so unaware of my presence. They were in no position to tell me what I had gone through. I was curious to know what had happened and was so overwhelmed that I was not even crying. I gave a desperate wail and was now not astonished at nobody acknowledging it. Was I a ghost? I had seen them on television and had witnessed some riveting stories of the dead but never had I fathomed that I would once be one amongst them. Exhausted at my repeated failures to communicate with them, I knew it was now time to submit to my fate. I was no longer a part of the world I had been for so long.


I could do nothing but stay there with them and be a part of their and my collective misery. I kept looking at each one of them and feeling sorry for all. I saw my sister. She was crestfallen. My cousins, including the little one, were crying. The five-year old was crying as if she could sense the pain of everyone around her. How I had always wished to see her smiling and would always come home with something for her. I was helpless now and could no more bring a smile to her adorable face. My father was distraught and mother inconsolable. I had always loved them more than anyone in my life and their pain was absolutely unbearable. I had always felt that, until my last breath, I would never allow them to be sad. The condition did not hold now as I was dead, my breath gone forever. And I could no longer prevent them from being sad. A dead man could do nothing to cheer up his relatives. I looked at my maternal uncle who sat beside my father, providing him a comforting hand. He had been a constant support to us. And he was as gloomy as were others. My big family had assembled in our old, ancestral house. I had come there after a long time, ironically after my death. My life would hardly give me the time to visit my village. It was a return to my humble beginnings and the star of the soil had returned to his roots in a helpless state. It was apt that I would lose my physical existence where it was created. I was unfortunate and so were my near and dear ones who had suddenly been subjected to an irreversible loss. Death of their beloved had brought misery to their lives.


A distant relative of mine was also there. We called her aunty because of the family values that we were brought up with and supposed to uphold. I saw her whispering to her husband in a corner. She seemed in deep pain when she said, “Look at those poor souls. They are crying so badly.” But those words were followed by a shocking remark. My pain was intolerable when she said, “Now we can stay there in peace for as long as we want. He could have asked us to vacate the house. The family is not going to grow anymore and we would stay in their house unperturbed.” I sighed in anguish as I felt betrayed. How could someone be so ungrateful? She belonged to our ancestral village and had left the village to stay in the town. It was expensive to get a rental accommodation there and my parents asked her to stay with her husband in our house. They occupied the partly constructed first floor of the house. My parents were always kind to everyone. They allowed someone who was not a part of the family to stay in our house. And that was something others in my family were opposed to. I had never seen my father refuse help to anyone. He would happily give money to those who needed it. He was very kind and innocent and I always wished I could imbibe his virtues. But these people were so selfish. How I now wished they were thrown out of my house. But my parents would not be aware of her ambitions. She would otherwise not have been there. But even if my parents came to know of their mala fide intentions, I thought, they would still forgive them. They were so compassionate. I felt sorry for them. They were being betrayed by someone right before my eyes. Her husband, whom I used to call uncle, gave a smirk and remarked, “Hope this drama ends fast and people leave for their places so that we can stay there in peace.” I felt like slapping him but my new found state did not permit that. I could only pray to God that he punished all those who were evil.


I also saw an old friend of mine there. I had not met him for a long time. My busy life had not permitted me to stay in touch with some of my closest friends. I was astonished to see him there. He was standing right behind my mother and looked desperate to comfort her. The oldest friends are often the closest ones, I felt. I wished I could have spent more time with them. The misery of death did not allow me a chance to correct my mistakes. I could not even hug him. I could only regret what I had not done before. There are times when you feel you could do something. That something though appears not substantial enough and you peg yourself back. Half steps often end in back steps and ultimately create nothing. The failure to initiate is often borne out of a feeling that this act is going to be like a bucket of water for an ocean. But small efforts are also valuable and nothing is a waste. No effort is actually a waste if done with good intentions. When everyone contributes his bit for the world, the outcome would be powerful enough to be felt. The need is to resolve to do our bit because little things do add up. Droplets maketh the ocean and first step may often lead to innumerable steps of absolute bliss!


When I would see people dancing in weddings, their happiness never failed to amaze me. Not that they should not enjoy. Dancing is a healthy act and it’s also good because you have so few moments that you can celebrate. You got to make the most of whatever you have. But I could not miss one thing. That is their being oblivious to the ultimate fact. They forget what finally lies in store for each one of them. You miss the point where everything’s going to end. There are jokes abound which ridicule the misery of married men. But weddings, on a more serious note, are just another part of this cycle of life. Small celebrations are just fillers, possibly only reinforcing the fact that they are after all shallow and bear no meaning. When you forget what you ultimately stand for, you rejoice in blinding ignorance. Missing the bigger picture for the near pleasure is what humans and all living beings stand for. I guess there is no alternate way either. Because it is after all a game that all are destined to play until they end up dead.


I could move around freely and see everywhere. There was nothing to restrain me. A sense of power that was, for me, after all the deprivations. You get a much better picture when you look at something from a distance. The comprehensive view allows you to see much more and a lot beyond the obvious. And it is always wonderful from the top. You can look so much further. Things appear so small when they are far but they are still what they are. The picture though is often better than the original. You lust for no obstruction but the buildings do block the view. Every luxury is limited at some point. I could see so much now and human relations appeared a lot different from what I had known of. There were still questions unanswered, things that I wanted to know and a veil preventing me from knowing all.

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