Life sometimes gives you a test even before you have had the time to study the lesson. That is what happened to me. -
It was the 15th of Nov 1973 that I had got married and my wife stepped into my life.
She was a calm and composed person and full of laughter. She smiled even during adverse conditions and was able to make this world a better place for me. It was mainly due to her positive attitude that we actually lived life with lots of Love, Care and Share.
Affectionately, I used to call her Rani and believe me that she was indeed taken care of like a Queen.
And like any other married couple, we too used to quarrel a lot.
She was a simple down-to-earth girl whose ‘wants’ were very few. She never demanded anything from me and never complained about anything. She was God-fearing, educated, a double-Post-Graduate and she had had the knack of taking every situation in her stride.
Those initial days after the marriage were perhaps the best in our lives, and soon we were blessed with a baby-girl. To celebrate the arrival of our daughter, we threw a lavish party that was, then, far beyond our means.
We tried our best to fulfill our responsibility towards the newly-born regarding her upbringing and her education. Rani used to do everything for the kid but time and again would come to me for counsel and advice. I don’t know why but sometimes we would quarrel over trivial issues?
By the time our daughter was four-and-a-half years, God Almighty blessed us with a son.
The main priority was the health and education of both our children. My daughter was going to St. Joseph’s Academy and after four years we enrolled our son also in the same school.
My wife used to prepare their breakfast, lunch, get their school dresses ready and helped complete their home-work even though sometimes I used to assist. Additionally, she would do the laundry, cook and serve meals and do other household chores.
After her graduation my daughter took up a professional course and within a couple of years she got had got a job in US and flew away leaving me with my wife and son. Three years later we married off our daughter to a suitable boy who was also working in States.
I now wonder how my wife then managed all of this by herself. She gave me two wonderful and intelligent kids and she gave them the best education and her teaching of [sanskars] was exemplary. In addition to all the above she found time to clean the house as well as attend to the relatives and friends who dropped in. And this is not all; she found time to take care of me when I was at home. She, indeed, was a very devoted wife.
Life was very beautiful which in retrospect I feel that I should have realized earlier, and then …..
Three years ago she was afflicted with Arthritis and was prescribed many medicines including pain-killers; and because of the side effects, she became very weak and found it difficult in doing her household jobs.
Finally she was diagnosed Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease of the skin. After consulting many doctors, we finally found a doctor at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, Delhi, who was able to give her a second life. With the right medicines, she became healthy again. She had finally improved and started doing all the chores. The doctor from Fortis Hospital was a godsend.
On 26th Aug 2013, my daughter, her husband and their two kids had come home from the US for their annual vacation after a lapse of two years. Rani was overjoyed and kept playing with the grand-kids like a kid herself.
On the 1st of Sept she developed some breathing problem. I took her to the Hospital, got her check-up done by a cardiologist. The doctors opined that her heart was normal, prescribed some medicines and declared that she would be OK in a couple of days.
Next day I took her to another physician and the third day to a chest specialist but they all held the same opinion that she will be OK with medication and did not require hospitalization. The following morning she had difficulty in breathing again, and I decided to get her admitted to a hospital. I went out and got the car to the front door to take her to the hospital. On the way, her breathing became difficult.
On reaching there, the doctor tells me that she is no more. Indescribably, my small world had sunk like the Titanic.
She breathed her last on the morning of 5th Sept 2013 leaving a void which is impossible to fill. She left me and my son bewildered and we don’t know what to do now? We are devastated. Luckily our daughter was also by her side when she passed away. At least, Rani must have died happy for she had met her daughter before she left this world.
Everything has now come to a standstill. She was the driving force in the family and without her concurrence nothing ever moved. After four decades of toil and hard work, we had managed to buy a house just three years ago and now she has left us. What do we do with all these worldly things that I have built over these four decades!!! Life without her would indeed be lifeless.
There were so many things I wanted to talk to her but God didn’t give me those minutes and she left us in tears.. As has been rightly said – “Tears shed on a grave are for the words left unspoken and for the deeds left undone”.
On hind-sight I wondered, why did we quarrel at all? I still don’t know. When will I get the time to see her and apologise for things I might have unintentionally uttered? My goddess Rani has gone and I still stand here seeking forgiveness for the wrongs that I did and some duties towards her that I may have failed to do.
May you Rest in Peace, Rani. You had been the most precious possession that I have ever had and all that I have now, is of no use without you. Thank you, Rani for all what you did in this short spell of time and for giving me two intelligent kids.