Baba liked to get things done. He was an organizer. He liked to take care of banking, paying bills, buying the freshest fish, the best vegetable. Once he organized everything and made sure all under his care were comfortable, he looked around with a beaming, satisfied smile. He was a fixer of things. If something needed to get fixed, he would get it fixed. And he loved animals. He loved them with all his heart. He made sure the stray dogs in his neighborhood had food and vet care when they needed it. Going out with him was a challenge as he was the pied piper of Kolkata. His brood of four legged friends surrounded us trying to give hugs and kisses, while demanding biscuits of course. Baba would always go to the local pan shop, buy packets of biscuits, distribute them evenly before going on his way. The same protocol was followed when he came back home.
Baba died a few hours ago. He put up a valiant fight against Covid 19, but Covid won. After ma’s death 9 days ago, I dreaded breaking the news to baba. His own health was so fragile that I decided not to give him the news. I hoped he would recover from this disease and I will break the news gently when he could handle it.
Well I don’t have to any more. He went away to join her and continue the constant bickering that was left incomplete in this life. I heard that the day they were going to the hospital, ma was scared. He was sick himself, but he sat by her and stroked her arms saying not to be afraid, he will be there with her.
I wonder if she was afraid on her own, and he knew she needed him to be with her. I want to believe they are together, fighting, bickering but still comfortable in each other’s company.
And just like that, within a span of 9 days, I am an orphan who could not be there to hold their hands for the last time.