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“I believed in science since my year 11, therefore, I used to look at the practical side of everything over emotional aspects. For me, life and death were a part of the life cycle. I believed that babies are born due to the union of male and female and death meant the body stop working. But that my views changed when I lost my Mom. I agree I am a grown-up girl and I should take everything bravely, but the big question is how? When you lose a person so important to your existence.
In the early January 2004 I received an invitation to attend a workshop in Madurai. I have traveled for my research activities in the past, but I do not know why I was very unhappy to receive that invitation. I didn’t wish to go. I told my boss about it and he suggested that I should go. I was supposed to travel by train on 24th of January and reach Chennai on 28th. I had the entire day stay at Chennai railway platform to catch my night train to Madurai.
I do not why I was so very upset to go. One of my friends booked my train tickets and made all necessary arrangements for me to travel. I remember each day, I used to come up with an excuse not to travel. I kept saying that to my boss “I think I may not be able to visit” and I gave him millions of ridiculous reason I could think of. I do not know why I kept saying that. I was very frustrated and yelled at my colleagues’ many a times. Whenever, they said “Madurai is a nice place to travel’, I responded by saying I hope my train gets derailed so that I can come back home.
It felt like something odd is going to happen during my travel. Even I had several nightmares that I will be killed or raped by someone in the train. I had all those superstitious things as well in my mind, which I never had in the past. I still remember when my friends came to my room and started packing my bags because I was looking for another excuse not to travel. I remember my boss asked the peon to bring an auto-rickshaw to drop me at the bus stop because I went to him at the wee hours to say it again that I may not be able to attend the workshop. I felt like the world is against me this time.
I took the six-hour bus ride to the city. I stayed overnight in the city. After dinner, I called home and I talked to my Mom. My mom said do not worry nothing odd will happen and said “my prayers are always with you”. Next day, I boarded my train at 7 am, but I was feeling very upset. I didn’t know why? I was not interested in any conversation with my fellow travelers. Instead, I decide to stay in the upper berth and read books. During each and every stoppage, I got out of the train to take fresh air as if I was suffocating or anxious for no reason.
I couldn’t sleep at night and was wondering why this is happening to me? I always found it difficult to express with words what I felt at that moment. Definitely, I was behaving very strangely. I reached Chennai at early morning and I took a cab to travel from Chennai Central station to Egmore station.
At the Egmore, I decide to keep my luggage in the cloak room. I took a shower and shampooed my hairs. Then I decided to eat something, but I was not hungry. I took a glass of juice and just walked around the Egmore station. At night, I boarded my train to Maduria. I reach early morning and I was received by two of the organizing committee members. I was wondering why I got a VIP reception, then one member said to me “Madam, you have to go back home, today’’ I said, “What and why?” He did not say much, but he said my flight is at 10.30 AM.
I was very flabbergasted and I thought I should call my home. I rushed to the available phone counter in the guest house because during those days I didn’t have mobile phones to connect instantly. I called home and my elder sister picked-up. I said why you are visiting home, you have never told me about your plan to visit. She said, “I came for a short visit”. My next question was why I should go back home so urgently, is everything ok? She said politely “Yes, everything is ok, just come back home’ and then she hung up.
One of the organizers told me that my Mom expired due to heart attacked on 26th of January. So they arranged everything for me to reach home. He added that I have to stay overnight in Kolkata because there is no connecting flight.
The next moment, I was traveling the longest journey of my life, recognizing that the dynamics of my life have completely changed. I was numbed and I still find it very difficult to recall how I boarded the flight, who picked me up from the Kolkata airport, where I stayed in Kolkata and how I reached home. I have no memory of those few days.
I reached home after 5 days of her demise and there was a huge crowd at my home. My brothers and sisters were at home and my relatives were sitting around. I was unconscious for an hour and when I woke up, she was the only person not there in my room. I felt a void, emptiness, silence and a devastating feeling crept around. But for me it was a kind of unfamiliar status of being without Mom. At that moment, I did not feel her absence as if she was there somewhere, hiding may be.
I was pretty sure she will come back soon because she cannot just leave without saying goodbye and giving a tight hug. I still feel the same that she is around. I do not miss her and I do not feel her absence. Maybe my subconscious mind is still waiting for her to show up. I do not miss her rather I look forward to seeing her again, maybe someday. So I do not miss my Mom.”
Submitted By – Sumita Acharjee
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