Continued from previous post……
The empty bed haunts me. His fragrance still lingers .He still smiles in the photographs. I wait for him to come back home. The little angel has started walking. But he is not around. Not anymore. This thought kills me. I feel as if he would come out of the blue and cry," Surprise ! " and chukle with his dimpled smile. I so wish he were here- supporting his Shweta on her feet. How he loved being with her !
I was in my second trimester. Tushar complained of constant headache and double vision. I initially brushed it off saying ,"Its time you take to glasses”. But things didn’t improve. The MRI scan report was a bolt from the blue. “Raj,what is the prognosis ?” I demanded. He made me sit and asked me to calm down. He began,"I think we must immediately start the treatment. In fact right now. Bhai, get ready for a surgery.” I interrupted him ,"Raj, give me the prognosis”. He replied, without mincing words, “ Boss, you need to be strong enough. Bhai, make her comfortable.” Raj said gravely," Its glioblastoma multiforme.” My mind refused to register the words and I was engulfed in darkness.
I woke up with a shriek. Tushar was diagnosed with brain tumour. It had no cure ; it was only a question of time. He underwent palliative surgery as soon as I regained consciousness. Raj contacted the best neurologists and they came to help immediately. Tushar had only four months time which could prolong to seventeen months. Shweta Foundation was well equipped to handle Tushar’s case. I consulted the busiest practitioners in the US but they repeated Raj's words . I cried a lot, fought against myself and finally, conceded defeat. Tushar was dumbstruck for a while. But I guess the cause of his anxiety was not his illness. He wanted to see his child. Caress and fondle the baby. He did not want to die before seeing his baby. I could sense all this. At that moment it dawned on me that I should live a lifetime in these four months with Tushar and my angel, growing within me.
So I became oblivious to the bitter truth of the moment. While Tushar was undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy sessions , I sat outside , cherishing the boon of motherhood. I’m still amazed by the courage I displayed. I wanted my angel to bring light into our lives. Somewhere deep down there was a feeling that all this is a nightmare and will end soon. I enjoyed these short periods of joy for my baby and of course Tushar. It seems he too, thought similarly. We spent all our day together, chatting happily, reading jokes, solving riddles and praying together. Never did he let me get the feel of the grief that lay ahead. It was the last stage of my pregnancy when Tushar’s condition began to detoriate. He was becoming forgetful, feeling weak and nauseated. I was mostly confined to bed. Anita was of great help in those troubled times. She stayed with us. Raj too did a lot to make both of us comfortable.
My angel finally arrived. On a cold night.She had a striking resemblance with my Di. I could see tears brimming in Tushar’s eyes. He named her Shweta. My Di was back. In my arms. The only perturbing fact was – I would lose Tushar soon. It was magical for the next five months. Tushar showed tremendous improvement. It seemed as if he was fit as a fiddle. He played, cuddled and spent a lot of time with our bundle of joy. I thought God had answered my prayers. A miracle was in sight ! I cannot describe how elated I was.
But that was not to be. One fine day, my Tushar forgot my name. He could utter only one word- Shweta. Convulsions and seizures rocked his body. I was shattered again. The alternate swings between hope and despair threatened my body and mind. Eventually Tushar was put under complete bedrest.
It was a rainy morning. Shweta was nine months old now. Everyday she played with her father in the hospital. Tushar looked thin and emancipated. He had lost that glow. What remained was his innocent dimpled smile. I came in drenched and placed Shweta on his lap. As I turned to go,he held my hand. I looked back. His eyes were fixed on me. He seemed to recognize me-an incredulous smile slipped from his lips. I sat near him. I saw a tinge of emotion on his face that I could never recognize. I felt his warm hug and an affectionate kiss on my forehead. He said incoherently, "I’m sorry. I love you.” I was speechless. All my reflexes came to a standstill.
His last words still echo in my mind,"Now she is your responsibility.” Then he went away. Far away. Never to return.
I miss him a lot. He has gone but his memories cling to my soul. I am yet to discover those unknown horizons where our spirits would mingle forever...........