Sadness is undiscriminating. Unlike Happiness, it doesn’t shy away from gatecrashing. What do you do? You simply smile and let it in.
Sanjeev Mama, one of the four brothers in my mother’s family, died ten days ago. The sad fact that his demise followed a cardiac procedure we thought was successful makes this going-away more shocking, leaving us all in a limbo of disbelief. But that doesn’t help, does it? He is gone.
Mama was one of my many go-to heroes, even though I am not much of a go-to person, and he wasn’t much of a conversationalist. All that I’d heard about him from my mother stuck with me, especially the way he broke moulds in a family where, and at a time when, breaking moulds was considered alarming. Refusing to take up a ‘decent’ job somewhere, he made it clear that he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He began with a cycle repair shop, since investing money in a bigger business was as alarming as wanting to get into one.
He eventually became a partner of a chain of bars with a friend. Business was obviously good. And he had had his way. Like many self-started ventures do, however, this venture of his gradually became his bondage. The pressures of a routine that belied normalcy, the challenges of witnessing unpleasant clients — all these must have been tough for a man, who liked fun, games and an easy time with close companions.
But then, this is all conjecture — he didn’t quite share his discomfort with anyone, least of all with me — his hidden admirer. He gardened. And what glory he created with his time and patience! Every single plant of his spoke of the care he handed in. Such love, there! Delighted as we were to visit their home and his garden, we also wished that he could somehow find a way to spend more time with these blissful creatures.
But it wasn’t to be.
Regardless of all that we feel, all that we wish for, for him and his wife and two daughters, things will never be the same, and our hearts break at the thought that life plays tricks when we are least prepared for them.
It is very sad.