Thursday, November 10, 2011

chapter 4: The Dusk lamp- the final goodbye.

Read part 1 part 2 part 3 here

The Rishab who was once so full of life, was now lost somewhere. He hardly smiled, and looked like a pack of bones. He always had a faraway look in his eyes, and cheering him up was getting to be difficult each day. She had never seen him so depressed before. They had just come back from one of the satsangs, when Rishab asked Aaratrika to get him his files.

"Here Aaratrika, These are some documents of our house, keep them carefully. These are certificates for Fixed deposits, mutual funds and Life insurance. This is our locker document. These are my cheque books and bank account details. You are my nominee for all my accounts, so keep these papers safely."

 “Rishab, why are you telling me all this?"

 "I don’t want you to run around when I am not around, my love".

 " Stop talking like this Rishab",she cried,"you are not going away anywhere, we have a whole life ahead of us. You have to take me to Khandala  , remember? We have to raise our children, put them through college, get them married. How can you even talk of leaving me alone?''

 "I don’t want to ever leave you, but I know, my time has come." 

Aaratrika held on him in a tight embrace, like she would never let him go, and they both cried at the fate that await them.

Rishab was in bad shape and the pain was intolerable, he had to admitted again. The doctor confirmed their worst fears, when he told them,

" I am sorry to be saying this, but you have no longer than 6 weeks to live. The relapse is acute and no amount of chemotherapy will do any good. The body has also become too weak to tolerate this high amount of radiation." 

It was a heart wrenching moment when Rishab held on to Dr.Ravi`s hand and begged,

"Doctor, please do something, give me some strength and extend my life for another 6 months. I want to spend the time with my wife and family. All these years I have kept working myself without taking time out for them. I had always thought, there will time later for all this. I wanted to pay off my home loan, get a promotion, get a hike in salary, do everything but spend quality time with my family. I had the energy, but no time. Today I have neither the time nor the energy. And yet my heart craves to do all that I always wanted to do, but never did. I want to take my wife on a long holiday, I want to do some adventure sports together with her, I want to have my own children, I want to sleep on my mother’s lap and hear her sing, eat delicacies that she so fondly used to cook up for me....."he said chocking under his own tears.

Dr.Ravi was visibly moved and patted Rishab`s hand softly unable to say anything hopeful. Aaratrika was surprisingly calm, as if in a trance. She was making up her mind to give Rishab at least some happiness in his final days, so that he would not be so overburdened with guilt for a life lived less. When she went home that night, leaving Rishab in the hospital, she felt an overwhelming sense of loss, looking at her empty house, and cried till her eyes were so swollen and red, that they looked bit by a bug. 

She called her in-laws and Saurabh so that they could be near him in his last moments. They all arrived the next day, before she could leave for the hospital, and on her insistence, her mother-in-law prepared some almond kheer, some biryani and carrot halwa for Rishab. He was extremely happy to see his entire family, especially his mother.

"Rishab, beta, see what I have cooked for you, your favorite kheer, halwa and biryani. Come let me feed you some."

He tried to eat a little of everything, looking gratefully at Aaratrika. His dad read out few chapters of the Bhagwad Gita to him, while Saurabh updated him on worldly matters. They had all vowed to remain as cheerful as possible when with him, so that he did not feel additionally burdened by their grief. They stayed by his side all day long each day, taking turns to keep him cheerful, bringing him food cooked by his mother, Aaratrika wearing clothes of his choice, his father and brother spending quality time with him .The doctors time line of 6 weeks got cut short by 4 weeks, as Rishab passed away sleeping on his mother`s lap, just 2 weeks after being admitted.


This temple had brought back a lot of old memories, she remembered the dozens of times she had come here seeking divine intervention, every time Rishab had been admitted in the hospital.

'Why didn’t you ever listen to my prayers? Were my prayers not worth answering? Rishab passing away at such a young age, he was not even 30.And me being widowed at 25, how can you explain this god?'

Aaratrika sobbed softly as if it all this had happened just yesterday. But a whole lifetime had passed between that time when Rishab had left her and today when she was leading a normal life with Avinash. Life indeed goes on and tough times don't last forever. She wondered whether she should let go of those memories that continued to haunt her. But then, those times had made her stronger and more prepared to face the world. It had given her the courage to face life with a renewed determination. She was glad she had found Avinash who had been a pillar of support during her mourning. She was grateful that she could let go of Rishab and marry him.

"Aaru, why didn’t you pick up my call, I must have called you a dozen times, hey, what happened? Are you crying? Are you ok?''

 Aaratrika wiped away a tear, and looked at her husband not answering his questions. He was holding two packets of food and handed over one to her. He placed an understanding hand over her shoulder and they ate in silence.

 "Aaru, we’ll try to get back home at the earliest, we’ll go to Bandra some other day, ok?"

 " That’s fine by me ,Avinash, I am not in a mood to shop today anyway." 

They finally got a cab and went back home, she was silent for most part of their journey and Avinash presumed it had something to do with their shopping being cancelled for the day.

"Don’t be so upset, we’ll go tomorrow.” he said.

Aaratrika gave him a wry smile.



  1. This is the first time I am visiting your blog and I loved the story! You have a dedicated reader now! I don't get to read a lot of fiction on blogs - this was a good one. I did one in parts two - ran into 6 parts. I called the series Second Chances. Part 1 had me hooked because the opening scene had Avinash as her husband and the second one had Rishabh. Had to read more! Nicely done! Nice unique name for the female protagonist too! Some of your writings reminded me of my own writing style :) And being from Mumbai, I guess I could relate more!

    1. Welcome aboard deepa...will hop on to ur blog at the earliest and read ur series too....!!

  2. Mmm! Excellent moving tale! Loved the way you wove it!

    1. Thank you so very much!! this is one of my earliest posts...probably the first attempt at writing a series..and is indeed special..

  3. this is exceptional writing!! i was praying for Rishab while reading this even though i knew he is going to die.


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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