16th September, 2005
Dad returned from his trip today. He brought sweets. A lot. Grandma just looks at them. Mom wants to give her one, but refrains from doing so. Grandma has diabetes. We all go to sleep.
17th September, 2005
I wake up. The maid’s cleaning the floor. The tube light is switched on in the front room. Bhalo (my favorite uncle who stays with us) is awake too. It is not quite usual for him to be awake so early. Grandma’s sitting. Her eyes bulge out. She says she has been feeling so since early morning. Mom scolds her for telling her so late. Grandma asks Mom to call up all her brothers. Mom does so. Dad goes out to call the doctor who lives in the next building. He opens the door, and after hearing what Dad has to say, he says he can’t help since he doesn’t have anything right now at home. Dad comes back. Grandma looks choked. My uncles arrive. They take her to the nearby hospital.
I sit back on my computer playing Dangerous Dave, not understanding quite much what just happened. Bhalo’s in the same room, watching television.
The phone rings. I am still at my computer, clearing level 6 of Dave. Bhalo picks up the call, talks, keeps the receiver down, comes back. “Dani” (the name by which I am called at home), he says. I turn around to look at him. He is quiet for a moment. Then he looks up at me and says, “Your grandma’s no more.” The words keep ringing in my ears over and over again. And again. And again. Just an hour ago I saw her and she smiled at me. “Oh”, the wryest answer possible, I couldn’t come up with anything else at the moment. I continue playing Dave for two minutes, after which I directly turn off the main switch of the computer without shutting it down.
29th September, 2005
My mom presents the same sweet in front of my Grandma’s photo.
7th June, 2011
My summer holidays after my second semester in college. Results out and I call up Bhalo. He is joyous at my result. “What do you want?”, the same same question which he asks every year whenever I score a good result, or come first in something. “Anything,” the same same answer I have been saying since I was seven. “Okay, I will come to meet you. I am a bit busy today, will call you up day after tomorrow possibly”. Phone down.
20th June, 2011
A phone call again. A cousin. Bhalo is very ill. My dad rushes to where he is staying. They take him to the hospital. The doctors admit him to the Intensive Care Unit.
I learn that Bhalo had a heart attack.
Second heart attack.
I learn that Bhalo had a heart attack on Sunday itself. He regarded it lightly, thinking it was a mere chest pain due to gas.
Bhalo is shifted to the Critical Care Unit.
22nd-23rd June 2011
My parents come regularly to visit Bhalo. I stay at a nearby uncle’s house, since I feel uncomfortable at the thought of going to the hospital. Bhalo’s condition weakens. They shift him to the ventilator.
24th June, 2011
I go to the hospital myself. Bhalo sees me, first looks strangely. I understand he can’t figure me out because of my long hair. I smile and say it’s me. He smiles. There are about five pipes fixed into his nose, mouth, chest… He opens his mouth and says something. No voice. I don’t understand. I try figuring it out, am unable. His face shows a sense of disappointment and he turns to the other side. I leave. I later figure out he just might have been saying “Ma”, asking whether or not my mother was around. She had taken care of him for the past seventeen years that I know of.
25th June, 2011
Someone from the hospital informs Bhalo’s condition is better than before. An air of happiness spreads through our house.
26th June, 2011
A phone call comes. This time it is from a different cousin. Dad picks up the call, listens, says “I’m coming”, keeps the phone down, and drops down on the sofa. Bhalo’s no more.
Dad’s broken. He says he is not in a condition to drive. He can’t speak. He just sits. I call up some of my relatives, inform them. Then I call up my brother-in-law, ask him to pick us up and reach us to the hospital.
We reach the hospital. Dad hasn’t spoken much till now. He holds my hand as we move through the hospital to the end where the Critical Care Unit is located. 500 meters before the room, he stops. Suddenly he clutches my hand tighter than before. I look at him. He is looking at me with a sense of helplessness. The last straw. He breaks down on my shoulder, crying loudly. I am still quiet. I can’t cry. I have to support my father first.
27th June, 2011
Bhalo’s brought to the house where everyone’s got together. As he is put down on the floor, his sisters, nieces and grand-daughters cover him wailing loudly. I leave, and stand afar. I know I will break down the moment I see his face. I still gather courage and move up to him. I touch his face. It is rough with beard, and it is cold. There’s a droplet of water in his nose which moves in and out, and I feel for a second he is breathing. I leave.
17th September, 2011
I have turned an insomniac. The moment I close my eyes, my grandmother comes in front of me, I remember the moment Bhalo says to me, “Dani, your grandma’s no more.” And then all of a sudden I realize Bhalo’s no more. The words “Okay, I will come to meet you” rings again and again. I don’t know what to do. I can’t call up my parents and share this, they will become sadder. I quietly bury it deep somewhere in my heart, so that even my mind doesn’t find it.