4th Nov ’97, twenty years back, outside the Safadarjang Hospital in Delhi, a matador was standing as still as a dead body lying inside, the body wrapped in grey and white blanket. Outside there was a rush of relatives, that was sorrounding a woman who was sobbing and crying uncontrollabely. He arrived there later, and was unknown of the fact that he has lost his father. Two hours back on that day, he was asked to get ready to go to the hospital. He searched his black school shoes in his relative’s home in Malviya Nagar and sat in the car. Along the way, he thought “Why they are going back to their native?”. “Is his father’s health recovered?”. The worst case scenario never passed his mind until he reached there. The matador started its 7 hours long journey. He recollected, the ambassador car that drove his sick father, and them to the dreadful hospital on Diwali day of 30th Oct ’97. His father went in coma right after he was operated in the godforsaken OPD. His father was alcoholic and the liver grew weaker over the time and gave up eventually.
After reaching home, the hue and cries started. He went inside his grandpa’s room and slept. Never came out of it, but was listening to the turmoil inside and outside. He never cried and didn’t bid last farewell to his father. He remembered the sick lady lying on the opposite bed in the OPD, whose son use to pray to Goddess Laxmi’s photo attached on the hospital’s wall. The whole scene of that OPD recreated itself in front of his eyes. He remembered the rude nurses who treated patients as animals. The following days remained sorrowful and upsetting with occassional cries on the arrival of the relatives from the far flung Rajasthan, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh towns. He remained absent from school, to which, his teachers led by Principal Mrs Dashmana came one day to visit and offered condolences. When he went back to the school after a long time, his close friend Parvesh Joshi, in his utter innocense, suggested that might be his father was not dead but just lying down. He listened, as he didn’t have words. The quietness prevailed thereafter. The careless nature turned into careful personality. The calm and composure withstood carrying the evergreen volcano inside that erupted every single day.