Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Winds of change - 21


(This is the twenty first part of a short story which is entirely a work of fiction.)

The cremation was to take place at Swami Madhavanand Ashram, by the banks of the River Godavari. Swami Keshavanand was going to supervise the cremation. Both, Vasudha’s and Dr. Som’s parents had already arrived. Several other close relatives had arrived. Everyone was in complete shock. Vasudha had not yet come to terms with Sheshadri’s death. She was going through the motions of the cremation and accepting condolences of various relatives and friends who had gathered. For a moment, she would wonder where Sheshu was? And then the next moment, her eyes would fall on his body and her heart would become heavy and she would realise what had just happened.

The cremation was performed by Dr. Som’s father who was completely broken. They say, the biggest burden a father can ever carry is that of his son’s dead body. The elder Dr. Som could barely believe that his son, whom he was so proud of was no more. Vasudha was standing beside her parents. With no tears in her eyes, her face was almost lifeless. It was as if she had no clue about what was happening.

When the cremation was completed, the family was wished by the hundreds of visitors. At the end of it all, the family sat around Sami Keshavanand. Swamiji explained the ethos of the Bhagavad Gita and the concept of death according to the Hindu scriptures. He stressed that though Sheshadri’s soul had left his body, it was by no means dead. By remembering that, they all had to keep in mind what he stood for and what he believed in. He advised them to continue the good work that he had done in his lifetime.

“Think about what he wanted to do. Think about what he wanted to accomplish. Was there anything he left undone which he wanted to do? Work towards achieving that. That would be the best way of remembering him.”

The rest of the family bowed to Swamiji and walked towards the car. Vasudha stayed back for a few more moments. She addressed Swamiji and said, “I know what you mean Swamiji. It was I who had stopped him from achieving his dreams. I was the one responsible for his death. The catheter that broke - I, I was the one that fought with him to use that catheter in our hospital. Who knew that this would happen? Who knew that my decision would be the one that would kill poor Sheshu?” Tears started gushing down her cheeks as she said these words.

Swamiji calmed Vasudha. “Don’t blame yourself Vasudha. When someone’s ayushya is completed, only excuses are needed for death. So, if it wouldn’t have happened because of the catheter, it would have happened in some other manner. What is important is for us to realise what is right and what is wrong and then act accordingly. There really is no point in putting the blame on anything or anyone.”

Vasudha nodded and wiped her tears. She stood up and bowed to Swamiji and headed towards the car.

Once they reached home, the family rested for some time. Sheshadri’s parents would leave the next morning while Vasudha’s parents decided to stay for a few weeks to support her in recovering from the trauma and coming to terms with her loss.

Vasudha could barely sleep that night. She kept tossing and turning in her bed. Swamiji’s words kept ringing in her ears.

“Think about what he wanted to do. Think about what he wanted to accomplish. Was there anything he left undone which he wanted to do? Work towards achieving that. That would be the best way of remembering him.”

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