13 December

Today is a special day for me.

Had my mom been alive, we all would be celebrating my parents’ 60th anniversary. Friends, fun and lots of food would be the main flavours. I can visualize my beautiful mom in silver hair , with bright red bindi and a bright coloured silk sari and handsome papa in black colour suit, with maroon tie. Hey, both looked stunning and smart. More so, they looked just made for each other!

But it was not to happen this way. Mom left all of us in 1993 to meet her creator. Ma, you have not done justice to papa. Why have you left him so early in life? You have promised to be his life partner. He has been alone since last 19 years. It is so painful to see him so alone in life. Though, me and Nunu tries to fill in, but of no use. No one can take your place in his life. There is no one, who can be an enjoyable company to him.

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Four of us, in good old days, when personal cameras were not so common. It was January winters, we all are wearing coats, why photographer has asked mom to remove her sweater?

Papa has managed his life very well after mummy. His  love for life is evident in the way, he  celebrates all occasions, however small, it may appear to any one of us. He keeps himself busy and follows a routine which keeps him going .

His morning starts early, around 4 am. After  meditation, papa goes down in our housing society for a slow walk of 20-25 minutes. After the walk, he sits down on the bench and enjoys the cool morning breeze  and does his paranayam for almost the same time. It’s an outing of almost an hour and a half, which he goes down in our housing society on his own. Back home around 6.45 AM, he spends almost an hour to scan 3 news papers in the terrace of my 7th floor apartment.

Around 8 AM, he goes back to his room and gets ready after taking bath and morning routine of mantra and aarti. Breakfast time is around 9.30 AM-9.45AM. This is his brunch. He is fond of pooris though takes just 1 poori with anything in gravy and curd. He goes to sleep after breakfast for an hour. After waking up around 11 AM, he reads any of the sacred books of Hindus – Ramayana, Mahabharta, Bhagwad Gita or any other. He spends at least 1.30 to 2 hours in the company of these sacred old resources of wisdom. 1PM is the time for  glass of juice and a  seasonal fruit ( 1 banana, guava, a grated apple/pear or custard apple etc) Since the teeth have also broken the promise of staying with him lifelong and he is reluctant to get a new denture , soft foods have become his preferred choices. This is one reason, he prefers poori over roti or prantha. He is fond of potatoes in any form and can survive 365 days on it, he tells me, whenever I worry about – aaj kya banayun? ( What to cook today?)

TV has been a constant companion to him. I am sure, it must be a dependable window to the world for senior and lonely people. One movie a day takes care of his 2-3 hours of the day. He takes another small nap and another round of reading his sacred book till it’s time of evening tea, which can be anytime between 5 to 5.30. His dinner time is 7PM. Another TV dose of 2.30 hrs of serials and news. He calls his day around 9.30 -10 PM. He is lucky to be bestowed with sound sleep within 10-15 minutes of lying down.

I always make it a point to serve and sit with him in both his meals to hear his thoughts. Though, he is not a very extrovert person and does not share much, but lately, he has been discussing so many anecdotes from his childhood, days of partition, his early days of job and much more.

I am wondering , how would have been his life, if mom has been alive? They had a beautiful home in Hisar, a small town in Haryana. I think, they both would have the similar daily routine but there would be ample social outings, which is missing today. They both will be discussing movies and serials together, going out for  shopping ( may have become an online shopper as it’s so crowded all around) or visiting old friends. He would have laughed lot more times with her.

We, I and my sister try to make his life as comfortable as we can, but I can see from his eyes , how much he misses my mom’s company. In-spite of being lonely, he loves to celeberate every occasion. be it Independence day, Republic day, Diwali, Holi, janamashtami, birthdays etc. He always dresses up for the occasion. A new dress on birthday and diwali is a must. He religiously watches full ceremonies of 26th Januray and 15th August.

Hats off to his spirit of living!

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