The Darkest Dawn (8 Mar 2015)


“Death is not extinguishing the light, it is only putting out the lamp because dawn has come”

So said our bard Rabindranath Tagore.

But does the end of a life bring a bright dawn to the one that is left behind?- end of a life that was pulsating full of verve and vigour, end of the  life of a personality known for his wit and humour, the end of  a life led by the corporeal body that had come through two deadly diseases and exulted in its fitness?

Ramu had left  at 4 .15 am sharp  after the  much appreciated sizzling cup of morning coffee made from pure peaberry seeds by his wife aka me. He was smartly dressed in his usual grey round necked T- shirt, grey track suit pant, blue wind cheater and white walking shoes. Still mulling over the previous day’s  fabulous lunch given by Deckers at ‘Sattvam’, cracking a joke or two, he left jauntily for his early morning  walk, saying as usual ‘Lights off’ (knowing full well that the expression irritated the superstitious me) as he switched off the drawing room light.

I was quite surprised when he had heeded my words and had agreed to walk up and down our road instead of taking his pre-bypass-surgery route around the Nanda Road, of course with his usual morbid witticism, “She wants to be the first to collect my body”. Recently he had increased his trips from 6 to 7 laps in the same time duration and was immensely proud of it.  Sometimes he would naughtily cheat me by jogging a lap or two. Quite a feat for an 86 year old!

That morning when he did not return at his usual 5 am- on- the- dot, I wrongly surmised that he must have ventured on the 8th lap. With the least suspicion of what was in store, I stepped out of the gate expecting to see him coming down the road. But there was no trace of him anywhere on the road. I got worried and muttered to myself,”Where could he have gone?” The maid next door who comes early in the morning silently pointed to a bush a couple of yards from my house. Hoping against hope I approached the bush in the light and dark patch of the street light as it was still dark, to find my Ramu fallen prostrate on the sidewalk unconscious. Little did I know that he had gone into a terminal coma and would never open his eyes to tease me.

Not able to wake him up, I stood in the middle of the road like a lost soul and shouted desperately for help. The good Samaritans that our neighbours were, they came and helped me to transport Ramu to a nearby hospital. From there, our dearest daughter who had come by then with her husband took him to the Air Force hospital by an ambulance followed by Ramu’s brother and me with the medical records. There he breathed his last after a week without ever regaining consciousness. The doctors had appreciated the tough fight he had put up like a true soldier.

Ironically enough, an emergency cataract operation on both my eyes done a couple of weeks later introduced me to a bright, very bright dawn.


24 thoughts on “The Darkest Dawn (8 Mar 2015)

  1. Sneha says:

    There is much darkness in humour and perhaps it is a way to combat the innermost linings of one’s own heart, which truly belongs to the person one loves. I could not be more sorrowful than to read this, but hope tells me that death, indeed, must not be proud — for it ends a life, not a relationship. Ramu Uncle is remembered every single day by me and he will. I am sending you much love. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Linda Decker

    How I remember that day! And how helpless and extraneous we felt – not knowing what might be helpful to you, beyond holding you and Ramu in our hearts. How glad I am that we were part of that last happy day. And how we admire you for living now with the strength and wit Ramu so enjoyed!

    With our live and continuing prayers,

  3. Vimala Maami, proud of the way you have handled an irreperable loss, the cherished memories of meaningful togetherness will give you the strength to continue writing and doing your stuff…take care.-Kalpana Prasanna.

    Thanks Kalpana- Vimala Ramu

  4. Ashvin says:

    Would love to say something touching or witty here … but I do not seem to have inherited your way with words. Having gotten used to being so far away for so long, I am not sure his passing has hit me yet … I still feel his presence.

  5. Dear Vimmu,
    Just now I read your article.was wondering who ur next hero will be and also was wondering why you did not write abt your one and the only greatest hero. Here it is and really touched by it. A real tribute to him by way of your 100th article.
    Cannot believe it is one full year since he passed away as each and every scene of all his 7 days in the hospital is still fresh in my memory.Are you planning anything on his anniversary?
    More later. Love, Komal.
    Thanks Komal.Yes, I have a get together for Ramu’s people on 20th, a Sunday_ Vimala Ramu

  6. Vimala,
    Thank you very much for sharing this. I know how hard it must be to write about it – but a shared grief is somehow more bearable, I find. We, too, miss Ramu and treasure the memory of our last visits with you two.

    Dr. John A. Decker, Jr.
    Thank you John_ Vimala Ramu

  7. Satyapriyan T V- I am a poor fan of English. But I can understand the pain. You deserve the best. Respects.

    Vimala Ramu- Thank you Sir.
    Sangeeta Venkatesh- Vimala Ramu maami. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I am sure the memories will give you strength and fortitude.
    Vimala Ramu-Thank you Sangeeta.

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