When I was studying in 12th standard, I only thing that was expected of me was to study hard and get good marks, so that I could get into a good institute and have a better future.
In those days, my daadi ( paternal grandmother ) used to live with me and my parents. Earlier I slept with her, but later I was shifted to a different room, lest I should not be disturbed while I was studying. I can't say that I was close to my daadi, but I still liked her a lot. It was interesting to talk to her, and play "rummy" with her and listen to the stories she told me. Due to extra coaching classes and attending school, I was out of my house most of the day, so I hardly interacted with my daadi.
It was during the second month of the session of my 12th standard and one morning, I was riding on my bicycle to school, when I met my classmate on my way and she told me that the principal of our school had expired. It was a shocking news. I could not believe what I had heard. My mind was disturbed the whole day, and was filled with those thoughts about the principle, the day he gave me a 'cup' for my good academic performance, the day me and my friend came late to school and he let us in, his jolly smile, his firm attitude... and lot more things. The whole school mourned. This was a new experience for me. The cause of the death of my Principal, that was told to me, was Heart Attack. I genuinely sympathised the family members of my late principal sir. But I never knew that this sympathy was going to turn into empathy in a few months time.
A few months later, one morning my mother got a call that her brother, my maternal uncle (maama) had expired. At that time, I was getting ready for going to school. I didn't know what had happened until later that day, when my father was preparing to leave for my maama's house (we lived in Jalandhar and maama lived in Ujjain (M.P.)) to help with the preparation and managing of death ceremony because only my naani ( maternal grandmother ) was there with my maama when he died. I didn't see any traces of grief or tears on my mother's face, but I realised that she was sad because she loved him a lot. And i'd agree that he was a extremely good person at heart. He didn't have good financial conditions but when me and my parents visited him, he always welcomed us and happily took us around Ujjain.
My maama had been bitten by a mosquito and got malaria. Situation got complicated and he got extremely sick. He was on complete bedrest. Doctors said that either he'd die(which he did) or remain paralysed for the rest of his life. Perhaps God helped him escape that miserable life! He was only 40 and have two small daughters.
A few months later, while I was having my lunch during recess time, with my friend Arjun, my old English teacher (a good family friend) came to me and broke the sad news of my daadi's death to me. I was again not able to believe what she had said. She said she was sorry.
My daadi was sick since the last 2 months and was partially in coma. She was permanently on bedrest and couldn't even speak. She was 86 years and nearing her death. Everyone knew that she'd die any day now. My father, during those days, had gone to my maama's house in Ujjain to help in death ceremony of my maama. We feared her dying before my father comes back from Ujjain. We wanted her to die in my father's presence. Then a miracle happened. My daadi expired the morning following the evening my father returned from Ujjain. And that morning my old English teacher told me about the death of my daadi.
As if this was not enough, after two months, I came to know about the death of my naana (maternal grandfather). He was well above 80 years and lived alone in a small flat in New Delhi.
Though he was close to me and the news came as a shock, the first thought that came in my mind was that of my mother, and later my naani. It was a great loss for them, more than anyone else. And I was the one who lost 4 people I knew, I loved, I admired and it was totally unexpected thing to happen.
Well, death has its own ways... and is the ultimate truth of life! Never before had I witnessed death so close. With this series of heartbreaking incidents, I have started believing that "death is the ultimate truth and final destination of life".