Thursday, April 29, 2021

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् | उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्|

Like the year 2019, 2021 is turning out to be another year filled with grief. Last night my father passed away, another victim to this epidemic called SARS-COV-19. Two days before Ram Navami, when he complained of cough and cold,  I asked him to get tested and admitted to the hospital if required, he told me that he has to celebrate the birthday of Ram and then he will worry about it. He got tested and was COVID positive, but he took his day and celebrated Ram Navami before he got admitted to a COVID facility in Ayodhya Nagar on 22-April-2021.

When he got admitted, his SPO2 was in high 80s and the COVID facility kept him on standard COVID drug regimen. But his oxygen levels refused to improve. Even when on oxygen, it will never go above 80-81. So we thought we need to go to a slightly more specialised facility. Bed were difficult to come by in the city because of raging epidemic, we moved him to Hamidia Hospital which is the largest government hospital.

He got admitted on Tuesday let night, complained of low oxygen on Wed morning. Then they put him on non invasive ventilator. But by the end of day, we received a call that he has to be put on invasive ventilator.  I was in Bangalore, my brothers rushed to the hospital but before they could reach, he had passed away.

My dad was going to be 80 years old this October.

My dad was a remarkable man, he was the first person to get out of his village (Imilia distt. Sitapur), complete graduation and post graduation and then work with Indian Audit Department for whole of his life before retiring in the year 2000. He had a fulfilling life, travelled most of India, did things mostly on his own terms.

I remember growing up, during 70s and 80s, he was a pragmatic man. The right mix of idealism, religiousness and looking forward to a new day. During the days of 70s and 80s when we did not have television, I still remember, him and all of us brothers tuning into BBC World Service and listening to stuff happening across the world. The 83 cricket world cup, even though he was not a cricket person, but because India was winning, we stayed up listening to commentary on short wave radio.

 I remember his having deep discussions with my tuition teacher when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was about to be hanged. We discussed what we will do if Skylab were to fall in our city. Those were really cherished times.

Sometime around 90s, he turned deeply religious. He had experiences that he could only explain by presence of all powerful, all mighty god. He had pretty much read all the scriptures and he was living his live according to what he believed his religion expects him to live as. With him around, festivals used to be elaborate affairs.

After my mother's passing away in 2019, he kind of became reserved. He was in a hurry to finish things in life. There were things that he wanted to do and he had a feeling that time was running out. He tried to finish as many things as possible. 

The recent image that I have in my mind of him was the trip that we made recently to Sanchi and Udaygiri caves. He was deeply curious about Sanchi Stupa and why it was built where it was built. One of his unfulfilled wish was to visit Amarkantak. He had visited most of the country but had not been to many places in MP. He wanted to correct that mistake. Alas, that was not to be.

Papa, Thank you for everything.

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् | 
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात्|