Last year, on Feb 7th, I got a call in the middle of the morning, that went on to change my life forever over the course of the next 7 days or so.
Munidi called me to ask me to come to Agartala, as Tinidi was admitted in the hospital, and was in a comatose state. I didn’t know what to do, and booked travel tickets for 9th Feb. I had to go. After all, she was my sister.
Munidi and Tinidi are my elder sisters, and cousins as they may be, they are closest siblings I have. I have very fond memories of times spent together during my growing up years, planning our next day, next week, next year, and our far-in-the-future life. We were inseparable. Also, Munidi and me, the elder ones in our respective families, shared common traits – heavier builds, bookworms, etc etc, and Tinidi and Kutu, the younger ones, had similar features. We were a great gang. 🙂
On the fateful morning of February the 8th, 2011, Munidi, in a broken voice, called me and told me it was all over, that I can cancel my tickets, and there was no need to travel.
The moment froze. I can’t exactly remember what happened. But I found myself standing next to Durgamcheruvu, a lake near office, with a colleague, trying to make some sense of what was happening. In a matter of maybe 30 seconds, I had experienced death, loss of a loved one. But I don’t think I cried. I was shocked, sad, but somehow that wasn’t equal to tears streaming down my cheeks.
Only after a couple of days, when I reached Agartala, my Agartala, that the truth slowly started dawning on me. Uncle and Aunt, shocked, sobbing, like little children, trying to cling on to memories for support. Munidi was suddenly all grown up, handling the house. It was a mad house. People dropped in at any time, sit, try to talk to uncle and aunt, who broke down each time someone walked in. After some time, I felt like locking the gate and not let anyone enter the house. I sometimes went around town, met friends of Tinidi and Munidi, who were helping with all arrangements. There was so much to do. Death didn’t bring peace. It brought struggle, grief, and a pile of work. In the valentine season, in the season of love, we were out completing tasks deemed necessary by death.
There is one person on this planet who, I think, can tell me the exact numbers of seconds passed from THAT fateful moment. I am damn sure he kept count, at least for the first few months. Maybe even now. He is living his life, not the way he expected to, but he’s going along. That’s whats expected out of him, isn’t it.
The last time I met Tinidi was in 2009, I was on a short trip to Agartala, and she introduced me to him. She was shy when she told me about him, and she wanted my approval. My approval. I was younger than her, by years. She had known the guy for about a decade, if not more. They had been ‘going-out’ for years. Everyone in the family knew about them. But still, she wanted me to approve. It was sweet, and tender. That’s how much I meant to her, I guess. Well, I had her talk to my girlfriend when I was in a relationship. I guess we meant that much to each other.
We didn’t talk often. There would be a phone call in months, an email, a greetings card sometimes. That’s all. I wish I knew her better. I wish.