One year back, the last Sunday in October, my dad complained of not feeling well. His words “I feel uncomfortable.” I was standing in a phone booth an overnight train journey away with a sinking feeling in my stomach. I walked back home my mind in a whirl of thoughts.
I see Saathi in the elevator and break down. I go inside the house and he tells his dad that father in law is not well. I wanted to go home asap. I expected FIL to argue. Tell me he will be alright. I wish he had. Instead he said “Its imperative you be with your parents now. Saathi better go with you too. These are occasions when he has to be there.” There was a finality in his voice. A premonition of things to come?
I anguished all evening debating if I should take the flight home. Saathi was practical as ever. Train it was. Reached home and rushed to the hospital. Appa was in the ICU. Struggling to breathe but reassuring me all was well. Even with the oxygen mask on, his humor was intact. He wanted coffee from home. He said hospital food sucked big time.
I conned myself into believing all will be well. I did not want to think of the “what ifs?”.
One year later, memories are as strong as ever. I think what if I had taken the flight instead of the train. What if I had been able to get him to Apollo instead of Harvey? What if he has walked out of that hospital instead of being carried out.
Life goes on… with or without the answers.