I have a heavy sense of sadness today. My neighbor’s husband passed away. The strange thing is – it is not like we are oh-so-friendly with them – they are not in town most of the time. Yet, when they are – and we happen to see them or meet them – we are very pleasant with each other. Nine years ago, when we moved into the condominum we live in, their kids were studying in college. The whole family accompanied us on the annual picnic organized by our building committee – and I remember what fun it was. They live on the floor below ours and whenever the lift wouldn’t work, and we’d come up the stairs, we would pass their door and the moment she – let me call her N – saw us, she would offer a sip of water and definitely cuddle Vidur (my ten year old son). Friendly lot.
Well – about 6 years ago – her son committed suicide in the US -he was in his early twenties. N was broken – I mean – they were such a close and loving family and this hit her pretty hard. Just as she was recovering from this – about a year or so later – her mom passed away. And how. She was doing the ‘aarti’ in the pooja room and did not realize that her saree caught fire. Just imagine the rest – there was no one else at home and when they did find her- it was too late. N seemed to visibly shrink before our eyes.
And now, yesterday, her husband passed away. He appeared pretty fit and fine – but that doesn’t mean a thing. I secretly admired his energy. The times they were in town – I would see him vigorously cleaning away – either washing the garage (we have large ones) or soap-watering his balcony or vaccuming the house – you know what I mean. I admired him because I wished I could clean as often as he did!
Yesterday – when I brought my son back from school, I saw their garage being washed and felt instantly jealous – what I thought was, hey these guys are in town and boo hoo, sniff sniff – CLEAN garage – which is more than I can say for mine. I even went home and cribbed to my mom about my fantasy of perhaps – somewhere in the distant future – actually achieving the same with my garage.
Well – late in the evening they put up a notice on the condo notice board announcing the death of Mr N. Sigh – and they had been cleaning the garage in prep for the body. This morning when I left for school, I saw the coffin. And for a moment -I felt a bit dizzy. I was overwhelmed with so many feelings.
The temporariness of life itself – this set me thinking. It all brings us back to how we must not find a ‘muhurat’ or an auspicious time to do something nice, or show some love. Sigh.