Staring at the ceiling
Wishing she was somewhere else instead
One of us is lonely
One of us is only
Waiting for a call. ~ Abba, One of Us
I was lying in bed when the call came: I have imagined how death will come too many times now. This time, it was Bambam. Gone in an instant, gone hours after he was discharged from hospital with all his tests clear, gone in a tangled web of relationships, gone without warning. Gone before we could keep our Monday night plan, gone in the middle of all of his life’s plans. Bambam, who my father’s known most of his life, and I have known all of mine. Bambam, who’s house we’ve celebrated all of our New Years in. Bambam, who stood by us like a rock, in our tough times. He waited at the hospital, cheered at the operation table, gave us hope when we had none. Now, he’s gone.
His 82-year-old mother’s only lament: Why couldn’t it be me instead?
We rushed ourselves to his house post midnight: as if running could bring him back. We spoke pragmatically of funeral arrangements, as if deciding who to call was ordinary. Somebody even described the morgue, nice.
When we came back home, we even consoled ourselves: Life.
Is this life then?
Only hours earlier I was on my Sunday run, sweating away the day’s fret when it began to pour. Bombay’s first downpour of the season with all the characteristic rain and thunder of the bombay baarish. Incredibly, nobody at the park stopped to run. Everybody intuitively just spread their arms out, turned their head up and ran as the rain fell. Bombay united in its exhilaration, Bombay united in its first rain.
I had come home, turned up the music, and felt incredibly happy, incredibly grateful.
Hours later, Bambam was gone.
I can remember vividly the sound of the bell at the Willingdon Club.
The chicken sandwiches we ordered.
The faith he instilled us with. And his magical demeanor, happy eyes.
And oddly, how the faith has stayed, but he has not.
So long Bambam.
So long an era, really.
Our faith is shaken,
Our lives still.