Some people enter our lives and we feel like we have known them forever. My brother-in-law (husband’s cousin) was one of them. I met him at my wedding, which happened three years ago.
I cannot believe I have known him for only three years.
I grew up watching movies like Hum Aapke Hain Kaun so of course, I was very happy to have a devar and someone calling me Bhabhi. He was the most affectionate devar I could ask for.
In this time and age, everybody is busy. Even people who are not busy pretend to be busy. But he called and messaged me regularly. He sent voice messages. He even stayed in touch with my parents, my sister, my Jeejaji and my aunts and uncles. He remembered everybody’s birthdays not just in his family but my family too, and was one of the first people to call. He had created a group called, ‘Tannu di family’ which had my side of the family. He called me Didi sometimes.
Maybe he also felt that I was more like a Didi, like his cousins who he grew up with.
One time, he randomly dialled a WhatsApp call on the group he had created with my family members. A video call that too! We were all caught off guard. Some were finishing dinner. Some were in the kitchen. Some were watching TV wearing a nightie. But everybody picked up. He was excited to see us all. The call went on for quite some time. A pleasant surprise. He loved bringing people together. It was some time last year, when zoom calls had become so popular, and everybody would send an invite to log in. Everybody would look for a weekend ‘slot’ when people would be free, sometimes coordinating people from different time zones. He simply picked up the phone and called on the group!
It is that easy to talk to people!
He made his presence felt. He was not like most people we meet today – full of ego. People who hesitate to call because they feel why should I. Or worse – people who keep track of who called the last time, who said what, who did what etc. He was innocent and child-like! He introduced himself to new people. He was just happy talking to people. He loved posting pictures of himself. He named all his albums ‘fun times’.
He was that simple. Or that special!
He was about to get vaccinated the day he ended up going for the covid test. He wanted to post his picture taking the vaccine the way he had seen others. I was texting him throughout the time he was in the hospital. He replied he was weak but he kept asking about everyone in my family. I kept saying:
Come Home Soon.
He had been in the hospital before. He has had surgeries before. I did not know him then, but I had seen his photos and heard stories. I was hoping this would be like that too. He would be back and post pictures and tell stories. I did not call him while he was in the hospital, although I texted regularly. I thought he would be weak so its better not to make him talk. I thought I would call him once he comes home.
Everything becomes a story. It doesn’t matter how bad things are, as long as you are alive to tell your story. You have survived! The difference between a story and a tragedy is just that, one breath.
Few days ago before he had got covid, he had shared a status of how we should not hold grudges against anyone, we should be kind to everyone. Who knows when it would be the last time when we speak to someone? My husband read that message and said, ‘Why is he getting all senti?’
This is what cousins are supposed to do. They are supposed to make fun of each other. Laugh together. Tease each other. Fight. Make up. Have fun.
Nobody is supposed to give an obituary of a cousin so young!
Even as I write this, I feel he was too good for this world. I had heard that God takes the best. I saw it happen. But I cannot help but think, and I know it is not a nice thing to say, but there are many bad people in the world who God could have taken.
When my husband wished him on his birthday last year, he said Bhabhi already wished me! She already called in the morning! I was telling my husband, I can imagine him saying Bhabhi wrote an article about me! He would have been proud.
How I wish that I was posting something else. He got married. He got a car. Doesn’t matter. Anything. But this.
There are stories of tragedy everywhere. In 2020 we had thought that we have almost dealt with covid. March 2021, the horror began. I dread to think there could be a third wave.
Is this the beginning of the end?
I want to say stay home. Stay safe. But people have been staying home and yet the virus has gone inside the homes, pulled them out of their homes into the hospitals and they have not got a chance to go back home, even one last time. The isolation and loneliness of this illness in addition to its suddenness makes it truly horrific.
I don’t want to say rest in peace, or he is in a better place. He wanted to be right here! He was a happy guy! He had a lot of time left before he needed to rest! I don’t know how to end this article. This is an unspeakable tragedy. There is nothing right about this.
Why should I find the right words?