Nobody knows Prince Thomas. Or the fact that he em-bibs brilliance and a growth path only vertical.
Or maybe nobody cares.
Well, except the Thomas family.
You see, somewhere in this country, a young man from a small village in Kerela, used to help his father and study at the same time.
Not too great one would say but when the father is a vegetable vendor and yet you manage to study, and top your class 12th exams, it really is great.
On 24 May, a few days after the board results and a few days before the competitive exam results he had written, Prince Thomas hanged himself to death.
To save his family the (economic) burden of his further studies. And it took 5 days for the media to report THAT.
Prince Thomas, gave up without trying. And gave away a life, full of promise, in exchange of hope.
A few morsels more at dinner for everyone at home.
You will be remembered Prince Thomas, for swiftness of your exit. And your hasty decision.
For you were on the Rank list of every entrance exam you wrote.
You had everything going, and you just let it go.
And there are some who had and have nothing going...
My maternal grandmother is a spectacular woman.
Besides being a fabulous cook that all grandmothers usually are, she is a person who I have myself seen - go through a lot.
The fact that she went through the socio-economic turmoil of the the partition of Punjab, and spent her entire life struggling to make ends meet, she always has a tweak of a smile and a shiny glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Her existential ambition was to make sure all her children are well settled, and that she fulfilled. And how.
She faced hell, including a family crisis of the kinds that usually happen when the man of the house passes away. Less things to do. The house is sold.
Not having any worldly assets so to speak, she travels between the houses of her children, living out of the guest room of one house to the corner couch of another.
But always with a smile :)
I share a special relationship with her.
I was a problem child, and she was my voice of support.
And I have lived with my maternal uncle for a few years (why is another post) and as she spent a majority of time at his house, we did bond exclusively.
One of the many things I tease her about is her passion for walking.
Citing the frail heart condition of all the widowers around the neighborhood, she has often blushed (and she looks gorgeous [even more] when she does) at me urging her not to go walking in the interest of senior citizens. But I cannot do that anymore. Because she refuses to walk anymore.
Or talk. Or blush. Or eat. Or drink.
She lies there I am told with various things attached to her refusing to acknowledge or react.
Making it like a silent film, where we know the climax, yet are waiting to actually see it before we shed our tears.
Everyday, as many times I call the various family folk who are currently around her, I get to hear the same answer.
'No change in position'.
From a car to a food court. From the temple and from work.
Life keeps moving ahead while the answer remains the same. Stalemate.
'No change in position'.
And the stalemate comes after the doctors say you have already reached a point of no return.
So what are we playing for?
Change position now BeeJi. You are 92. And that is too old to be throwing a starving tantrum.
Not eating your food. Not talking to us.
I do not have the courage to come and see you. I am scared. For what I might ask for you.
Because you are not the same for me anymore.
Not unless you make me my breakfast paranthas.
Not unless you sit me down for an evening prayer.
Not unless we have a mango eating and pickle pelting contest.
Not unless I grill you on the cutest looking geriatric around.
Not unless.... you are you.
All your life I heard you say that you want to go peacefully without embracing the bed.
All my life I heard you pray for it.
But I am sorry BeeJi, for I too cannot fathom the one who answers or can answer those prayers.
I am sorry for teasing you about your 'romaaance'.
I am sorry for not spending more time with you.
I am sorry for not calling often.
I am sorry to have made you make me all that food when you were tired.
I am sorry for keeping you up at night, with cold bandages when I was ill.
I am sorry for deliberately scandalizing you- just to see you blush.
I am sorry for stealing money from your purse.
And I am sorry for not having ever said that how much I love you for having always forgiven me for all of the above.
But I love you. And I cannot see you go through this.
While everyone around goes on with life, as if nothing has happened and the visit to the hospital just becomes a formality with a mandatory shake of the head and repeating into the phone, day in and day out- the practiced 'No change in position'.
Change positions now BeeJi. On your own. It is enough already.
Don't let logic rule over the bonds of the heart. Don't let practicality steal the memories of joy.
Please, don't make me make a prayer that will put me through the grinders of guilt and regret for the rest of my life.
Post Script : Beeji passed away on the morning of 07/06/07. A few hours before I was to reach Amritsar to see her. After I had finally managed to muster the courage to do so.
I was there for the funeral. But did not have to see her in the state of pain.
She did indeed love me a lot.
\Thank you all for your wishes and prayers. They meant lots. God Bless.