It was a cold December morning in 2016 when my younger son, Ajeet Singh Minhas came to my room and said, "Mumma, I am leaving for my tuitions". I asked him why he was going for his sessions in the morning since he usually had his classes in the evening. He answered that since there was a party that he had to attend in the evening, he would go, attend his session and be back in an hour or so. My husband gave him the cheque for his tuition fees. Just 15 minutes later, our doorbell rang. A person, who was crossing a roundabout a few kilometers from our house spotted our car. The next 15-20 minutes passed in a jiffy.
By the time I reached the spot, my husband was already there. The police had put barricades and one of the cops told me not to go ahead because there has been an accident and a child had lost his life. I remember shouting at the policeman, "That child is mine!" By the time I reached the dismantled car, I saw my husband sitting in an ambulance. When I asked what happened to him, the people living nearby told me that he had passed out. By this time, my elder son came to me and said that Ajeet had left us and that I should go home. To be honest, I remember that day in bits and parts because my mind could not register what was happening around me. In the proceedings that followed Ajeet's death, I received calls from people spread across the world because the CCTV footage of the accident had gone viral on social media. The saddest part was that it was not even my son's fault. An overloaded tipper ruined our family forever. Moreover, the crane that had to come to remove the fallen tipper was hours late. We lost our son to the inefficient system.
My husband and I used to talk that it is so unfortunate for us as parents to shoulder the dead body of a son whom we have carried on our shoulders in his childhood. Our world had shattered and the feeling of emptiness feels never-ending. I would keep cursing myself for letting him go in the morning. Nothing in our family has remained like before. I don't know how it happened, but one day I felt a different kind of strength building up in me. I started wanting to be strong to take care of my husband and my elder son. I would appear to be normal even though I felt numb inside. I still have my lows and some days are too difficult to process, but then I know that Ajeet did not expect this from me.
It is almost five years since we lost our son. There has not been a single moment in these five years when I have not thought about him or have not missed him. The worst part was whenever I visited any social gathering after I lost my son, people would start looking at me with pity in their eyes. If I laughed or smiled after facing such a humongous loss, I would hear hush-hush talks about how 'normal' I was. They say, "Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches", so it's only me and my family who know what we went through. I have kept him alive in my heart. Till today, I always feel that he is with me. I look at his pictures and smile at him, I talk to him in my own ways.
I have accepted Ajeet was destined to be with us for only 18 years. No matter how much it breaks my heart to not have him with me physically, I want to celebrate him for who he was. When I talk to his friends, I feel so good. They all come to spend time with me and talk to me. On Ajeet's birthday, we all cut a cake for him. He would have been 23 years old today. It hurts but we have accepted the fact that we have to live without him. We cannot drown in the pool of misery for the rest of our lives. How long could I have not gone out and socialised? I had a responsibility towards my other son and my family. I always pray that no other parent undergoes what we have been through. Life is like a river which is constantly flowing and it is not going to come back. That's one thing I learnt after losing Ajeet.
In Ajeet's memory, we started an NGO so that no families have to lose their loved ones due to traffic violation and negligence. The endeavour of the organisation is to make public roads a safer place for all. Through this, we aim to provide immediate medical assistance to victims of road accidents. There is a helpline we have launched, so if there is an accident and you report on that helpline, you will be provided with immediate ambulance service. The ambulance would have a doctor assigned for first aid till it reaches the hospital and if there has been a lot of blood loss, the blood would be provided free of charge.
When I see my son's friends come home to meet me, I feel grateful to God for choosing me to mother a child as positive as my Ajeet. In such a less time of 18 years, my son lived a big life. I think I will carry the pain of losing him to the grave, but I will never forget the aura my Ajeet had. He was the youngest and the most loved member of the family and shall remain to be so.
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