Today I wish to share with you something that happened in 2006.
This is going to be a long account, so kindly be patient.
I used to stay in Thane, Mumbai, India. The building was a new construction and the flat we stayed in was the only one built yet. The market road was just a few paces away and could be seen right from my door on the first floor.
It was only my second job in an Travel Company and I had a shift starting at 5pm ending about 1.30AM after which I had company transport dropping me home by 2.30AM-3AM. One fateful night, I was on my way home when I received a call from my Mom, suggesting that somethings wrong with my father. I was petrified. I had almost reached and ran about 100 feet before arriving home since cars were not allowed on the market road.
I reached home and saw my father unconscious and my mom crying bitterly. For one moment, my future flashed in my mind and it was so horrible. We were not very well to do and had to quit my bachelors in engineering due to financial condition of the family after my father had had a heart attack a couple years ago which was when I started working back in 2004. I pulled myself out of that momentary trance and saw dad had difficulty breathing. I pumped his chest a few times and he suddenly coughed. I was glad. I pulled him in my arms. I thought that we will take him to a doctor and everything should be fine. I had already called my best friend who lived round the corner and he was on his way. Mom asked me to give my dad some water, which I did. He had a couple sips. He will still pretty much out of it. And then it happened, he collapsed in my arms, body went limp and I couldn't feel him breathing. In the next 15 minutes, we were in the hospital, as the doctor examined him. Mom and I were waiting outside along with my friend. I was still hopeful, that, may be it wasn't as serious as it looked. The doctor stepped out in a few moments and pronounced my Dad DEAD. Heart Attack. I can't possibly explain how I felt then or I didn't. It was as if I had went numb. Mom was inconsolable. I tried to put up a brave face in front of her, but, I was broken beyond repair in my mind.
All my uncles and aunt's arrived later and they decided to take the body to my paternal grandmother's place for the "Antima Sanskar".
After all the legal paperwork was done, we took his body back to grandma's place as I mentioned earlier. As people poured in by the afternoon to pay their respects, we prepared for his body to be taken to the cremation ground (SMASHAAN in MARATHI). Please know that I still couldn't believe that he has left us, I still somehow felt that maybe, all this just a prank he has pulled on us and he will wake up now. I still couldn't cry. Then finally, we reached the cremation grounds, the Pandit recited the Shlokas and placed his body on the pyre and I mounted logs of wood on him one after the other. Finally, I gave "Agni" (Fire) to the body and right then, I split into tears. It was as if my heart had exploded and tears wouldn't stop. My maternal uncle tried to console me but I was completely lost.
All these rites of passage in Hinduism are very specific and certain things need to be done for 13 days post death, with 7th, 10th and 13th day holding specific values wherein "PIND DAAN" is mandated as a ritual in Hinduism.
It is said that the soul is linked to the physical world and unless "PIND DAAN" is completed, it cannot complete the cycle and be released to the spirit world.
Anyway, I was supposed to go back to our place to get some stuff during one of these days, while we were at my grandmas. It was evening and I went to my home where dad had breathed his last. I stepped inside the house. It was late evening and it was getting dark. I did not switch the light on. I just stepped in the bedroom and sat at the same place I had held my dad when he was dying and just closed my eyes leaning my back against the wall. All the thoughts and the scenes that had transpired just a few days ago, washed through my mind and I found myself sobbing uncontrollably. I don't exactly know here if I fell asleep or not here, but, I found myself right next to dad in a white shirt. It was almost as if, dad was gleaming with light. I was not scared but I was confused and I felt uncomfortable even saying it but I asked, "Dad, how are you still alive?" He just smiled and said that it's ok, it will be fine. Said that he was falling into the light and he couldn't stop himself. Before I could ask him more, it was as if, I was kicked out into consciousness. It had gone completely dark now. I realized that the tears had dried on my face. And I felt cold inside. But not in a bad way. I fished for the switch in darkness turned on the light. Located the stuff I had to get back to my grandma's place and then left. When I checked the time, it was almost an hour that I had been there.
So, that's all I had to say about it. I still keep having these dreams with my father in them though almost every week (NOT EXAGGERATING). In each of these dreams, I ask the same question and my father says nothing, just smiles and I'm kept wanting for answers. Mostly the dreams wake me up and then, I'm into this subconscious stupor for the rest of the night. Asleep, but not really asleep sort of. Like I can sense everything, but can't move. Even the clock ticking away is audibly clear in that state. And the next day is spent in a depressing manner contemplating this. This is something that has caused me a lot of grief since 2006. I'm persistently in depression. Unable to concentrate on anything, career wise as well as in social/ personal life. And then my maternal grandparents passing during the last 11 years further added to the loss.
I don't know if the visit from my father back then, meant something. Or it was just a hallucination of some kind. But it felt as real as daylight.
Thank you for your patience.
Love - Ajay K.