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Death of my beloved raji

The state of affairs at the home front was discomforting. Raji was ill and her health was causing concern. She was practically confined to bed and a doctor was in constant attention. As there was no improvement in her health it was decided to admit her to a hospital. While she was still at home we had consulted an orthopedist as Raji was having extreme back ache problems around the hip area. The doctor attending thus far had no clue how to cure the problem. She prescribed a course of 100 injections to be taken daily but by the time 50 injections were administered Raji’s condition was turning very bad. Hence we called one of the city’s well known orthopedists to see her. The doctor was a much sought after man and a consultant in different hospitals. He had also been visiting once a week an orthopedistic centre near Ulsoor where we were staying. We decided to consult him there and request him to visit our home to see Raji who was confined to bed. But he found no time to visit us but instead asked us to bring the patient to his clinic at Malleswaram which was a tall order considering Raji’s condition. Alternately he suggested that we admit her to a hospital where he was a consulting physician. We had no alternative except to do his bidding. When we took Raji to the concerned hospital there was no bed to admit her and they had to temporarily accommodate her in the labour ward. This was on the 15th July. There was hardly any improvement in her condition and we could only pray for her early recovery. The hospital could only take as good care as possible. The doctor visited the hospital once or twice in a week and after examining her condition later advised to put her under traction. Raji could hardly move and spoke very little. I conveyed to her the news that I was promoted and now I was the Branch Manager of the prestigious Sadashivanagar Branch, news that would have made her very happy in the normal times but she registered very little emotion. By the first week of August her condition was getting worse. She asked for Radha Mama from Calicut and I immediately sent message to Calicut for Radha Mama to come down as soon as possible. He arrived the next morning with Mami which made Raji very happy. On the 15th August her condition deteriorated and caused us anxiety. I requested the duty doctor to call the orthopedist who was attending on her to make a special visit to see her condition but he refused to come saying it was a Sunday and he did not take any call on Sundays. I could only pray God Almighty to save her life. I prayed non stop and as if God had heard my prayers there was a slight improvement in her condition and our spirits soared but it was a short lived hope. My beloved Raji passed away peacefully two days later. When news of her death was conveyed to the doctor he could only say sorry as if it mattered little whether she survived or not. I was by the side of my beloved most of the time praying non stop but her life flickered for a moment and two days later she was no more. I was shell shocked. Exigensies of service not only deprived us of being together what turned out to be the last five years of our precious lives. I lost a part of my being forever. The following days and months drowned me in total grief. Life without Raji was empty. There was no way to prepare for that darkness of despair, the gaping hole that remains empty and gnaws constantly like an open nerve.

My return to the family was not joyful as I was hoping it would be as it came about much later than when it should have been. Like Seetha in the Ramayana, Raji had resigned herself to a lonely life with what mental sufferings she had gone through I could hardly imagine. The similarity extended further in that instead of leading a happy life after being reunited with their beloveds fate took over the destinies of the two ladies. While one was banished from her husband to the forests after fourteen years of vana vasa due to a flimsy aspersion on her character the other left for the heavenly abode after falling sick leaving behind her loving husband and the children in a matter of just two months after five years of separation. A precious flower was plucked in the prime of life.

As my children were still too young and needed parental care and guidance now more than ever I was determined to spend my time fully devoted to their well-being. Some close relatives offered to take care of my children but having lived through such an arrangement earlier in my own life I politely refused. I was determined to give my children a happy and good life. At the ripe old age of 75 my father remained the backbone of our life.

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