Am back in office after a gap of 11 days. No, I was not on any vacation, although my leaves will be shown under the category of 'annual leaves" that people usually take for a vacation or a quick visit home. the reason for my absence was a catastrophe at home. When I review the events that took place in the past few days of my life, there is a sense of disbelief, even though I had actually lived through each moment myself. It all started on a Thursday morning, 5 :15 am to be precise.
My friend Ayesha and I were fast asleep on the morning of 20th March 2008, trying to grab the last few hours of beauty sleep before the alarm woke us up for office. At around 5:15 am, I had a frantic knocking at my door. In my sleep infused state, I realized it was my housekeeper's wife, banging at the door, mumbling something about her husband Amrit. That woke me up completely. Amrit had been suffering from fever since the last 2-3 days and had taken normal medication and I assumed he had also gone to a doctor, since I had absolutely insisted on it.
When I opened the door, Kamla was standing there, looking very worried. She informed us that Amrit's fever had escalated during the night and she was scared. One look at Amrit told me, she had good reason to be scared. The normal young guy I had seen just last night seemed to have disappeared behind a facade of red eyes and an obviously sick person who is suffering from high fever. As my husband was out of town, I found myself desperately trying to arrange for some mode of transportation to the nearest hospital. The cab driver whose number I had was not responding to my frantic calls. Next i tried even an auto driver's number which i had stored for emergencies (Thank God).
Finally the auto driver responded and arrived at our place at 6:15 am. Ayesha, Amrit, his wife and their 2 n 1/2 year old kid all left for the hospital, while i had to wait helplessly at home, because I had to watch over my 4 dogs. At that time, while I was just sitting at home, waiting for regular update from the hospital every 15 mins to 1/2 n hour, I did not realize that this was just the beginning of a nightmare.
Amrit was immediately admitted to the emergency ward, where doctors gave him some injections, medicines and saline drip. he was then shifted to the general ward. Ayesha assured me, everything was under control for the time being as doctors were looking after him. She left for office directly from the hospital while Kamla stayed back to cater to her husband's needs. I was stuck at home and still in suspense about his condition. Soon, some of his cousins arrived and by the next day some other people from his village too, who were all working in various parts of Delhi. I took turns to visit the hospital with my brother and tried to decipher what exactly had happened after speaking to the various doctors.
Things just started getting complicated from then onwards. He was shifted to a different hospital by his relatives and friends and for a strange reason they would not inform us of his whereabouts. Frantic calls to various hospitals, relatives of Amrit and his firneds finally allowed us to relocate him. It was total mayhem. Kamla and the kid were in the thick of things with me watching helplessly from the sidelines. My husband took a break from his work and came back in the middle of a project, as he and Amrit had always shared a special bond.
Well, to cut a long, long story short - Amrit died on Tuesday, the 25th March 2008. Yes, he died, of a severe attack of meningitis, which the doctors had taken a long time to diagnose and hence treat. We were in a complete state of disbelief although we had got the warning that it might happen since Sunday night, as his condition kept deteriorating each day.
Now, its been 6 days since Amrit is no more with us. His wife and kid have returned to their native village for the Hindu rituals to be followed after a death. She was absolutely sure that she will return to us, to that home where she and her kid will find comfort and security, the home where her husband was last seen in the form in which she wanted to remember him always.
We have found a replacement for the time being. My husband has gone back to work. And life goes on. But it is not the same. In theory, we have just lost a housekeeper, but the vacuum that has been created - that I cannot put down in words. Everything and everyone in our house has been touched and tinged forever with his memory. even now we have not completely accepted that Amrit will not respond when we call out his name. I find it strange not to see his cycle standing in our backyard. I find it strange that there is no Nepali song being sung in his toneless voice as he goes about his work. I find it strange that he is simply not there!!!
Strange are the many shades of life in which every person leaves their prints behind in a riot of colors. maybe we can cope better with the loss of this human being that we had cherished, scolded and loved in our own ways. only when Kamla returns to us with their son. Eagerly waiting for her return, if nothing less then just to see a little bit of Amrit kept alive through his little boy!!!