And He Did Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night…!

“It`s good that he is no more. Death is better than so much of suffering.” As much as I would love to agree with this, it seems nothing more than a self defense mechanism to me. How on earth (literally) would I know if he is still not suffering, in some other world maybe. The human race has not yet emerged with a conclusive research on life after death. And those who have given it a shot, have not returned so far.

So I would refuse to console myself on the basis of baseless statements like these. Just because I am not a witness to the suffering does not put a ‘dead end’ to the suffering. What I do know for a fact is that death is inevitable. To embrace it is wisdom. But to defy it is courage. And that is what he was – a fine blend of both. And that is where I draw my strength from.

“I want to go for my morning walk. I want to attend my office daily. I want to take your nani out for a drive.” That`s what he told me on his 85th birthday two months ago as I massaged his feet – a skill that I had excelled to such an extent that he wouldn`t let anyone else even touch his toes. Six long months of severe illness could not shake his optimism. Neither it could tamper with his will to live. Even his sense of humor was intact as he used to make fun of my annoyed expression whenever he used to instruct me to massage his feet.

Little did he realize that the reason why I used to get annoyed was because I used to get de-motivated every time I used to see him in that state. To observe a figure of authority, an inspiration for fighting tireless battles against the tides of time – confined to bed was extremely painful. But then to massage his feet and hear him out, to see him paint a rosy future for himself was what diluted the despair.

But that annoyed expression was what he genuinely regretted. To cause inconvenience to his loved ones by depending on them for his daily chores was something that he was not prepared to accept. A self-made man, he refused medication in order to halt the vicious cycle of side effects, so that he could liberate all of us from delaying the inevitable.

I don`t think that it was the physical pain that got the better of him. He was a fighter. But he was wise too. He foresaw the end and that is why he coaxed all of us to complete all the crucial tasks that we had ranked low in our priority lists – a full family portrait being one of them.

“Take good care of your nani – she loves you a lot.” His wisdom had spoken his last words to me. I smiled at him, massaging his toes. He smiled back while his heart continued the struggle- trying not to go gentle into that good night.

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9 thoughts on “And He Did Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night…!

  1. How do we offer condolences for someone we do not know? I suppose we dig into our own past and search for moments which mirror parallel truths….then reconfigure that feeling of loss, the sense of void and the claustrophobia of certainty…that yes..this has happened and it can’t be undone.
    I lost my grandfather when I was 13. We were worlds apart, I lived in Lucknow..in school…working out the braids of studies, theatre and first love. He, on the other hand, was a kaleidoscope…a brilliant lawyer who drank a lot, a phenomenally wealthy ‘yogi’, the father of 13 children who had two wives… a ‘rai sahab’ who funded the INA…he was the quintessential enigma. I was always in awe of him….standing erect…all his six feet under his command..he had that impact on people…or so it appeared to my adolescent eyes.
    When he died…it didn’t feel like a human being has died..it felt like the death of an institution. With his death…we mourned the beginning of the end…the family fell apart…the familial roof collapsed, it seemed.

    It seemed but wasn’t so. He lives on in my father…the wisest man on the planet..he lives on in my cousin..the wild adventurer…he lives on in me…the lover of poetry! People die but it is life which is inevitable. Peer into the mirror…and you will find your nana….in some part of yourself. His hands will live on in your mother…His expression of annoyance in some nephew…His indomitable spirit..I hope..will live on in you!

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  2. This is as good a eulogy as there can be, not only does it honour his memory well but it also connects with my own personal life in more way than one.
    And well I believe that he has left for a much better place because I hope there’s one! 😀

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  3. Very Moving! I too lost my grandmother in February. The memories just came back. Devansh, your writing reflects your personality. Sincere, genuine and so natural. Continue…

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  4. There are times when you are dumbfounded after experiencing something that words cannot express. Such is the feeling that occurs on reading this. Saying anything would be demeaning that profound feeling. My own grandpa left for heavenly abode in my lap. I can completely relate wid you.!

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