Remembering biji

4th December, 1988 was the day when my grandma “biji” passed away in her sleep. Eighteen years since, each moment of that day is crystal clear in memory as if it happened yesterday. I remember Anu (my brother) coming to the room that Radha (sister) and I shared. It was around 7 AM. He shook my leg vigorously to wake me up. He spoke so fast, I could hardly understand what he said. I heard him say the word “death” and immediately knew biji had died. I ran upstairs to the room which my grand-parents shared and saw bauji sitting on his chair with his forearms rested on the arm rests. He looked terribly shaken and sad. But there weren’t any tears. I went up to bauji and hugged him and started crying (I was 12 years old then.) That was the first time I had seen a dead body.

What saddened me even more was that this body belonged to my biji, and that I could no longer continue to believe that death happens to other people only. Since then, the loss of bauji in 1991, Usha aunty, my nani, babboo mama and earlier this year, my own mother, has confirmed what I have always refused to accept, death is real and inevitable, either we can be sad and wait for our turn, or we can; or we can do what mom did; not think about it and enjoy ourselves in every sense of the word.

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