My voice choked and my eyes welled up with tears. Papa said to me on the phone " beta, Moradabad wale mausaji aye hai" (Your uncle from Moradabad, has come).
It struck me somewhere. She had died. Yeah, she had died in the summers. But this was the first realization of her absence. My maternal aunt or so to say my dearest "Mausiji".
She had died of cancer. I was once talking to my mother on phone during the summers and when I asked about my mausiji's well being as I knew she was ill, my mother could not control herself and she bursted into tears. 2-3 days had passed by then. As always, due to the fear of emotional trauma it would cause me, my family had hiden the truth from me. My mother was devastated. As I kept the phone and assured my mother that I would be fine, I did not know how to react. I made myself cry.
I recalled how she had a talk with me in my brother's marriage, some few months back. That was the last time I saw her. No one knew by then. She was complaining to me how I never had time and I was too busy in the marriage to sit and talk to her. She never let me know that she was the one who was short of time.
I saw her photographs. It had come as a shock to all of us. Well what can I say? That was my first closest encounter with death. That was my closest encounter with the cold truths of life. All other pain and sorrows appeared small and crawling infront of this loss.
It made me realize that no one is for ever. I was afraid and cried many times just contemplating how life would turn like in the future. I could not stop myself from imagining that how would it feel to loose my mother and I hated myself for that. But fear had taken its grip on me. I feared loosing everything then.
This is a confession. It was only yesterday, when for the first time, I longed for her voice and her warm hug. Everytime my mom used to tell me "beta, mausiji ayi hui hai, hum masti kar rahe hai" (Your aunt has come and we are enjoying). But this time there was no excitement in her voice. How chirpy she used to become!!! I do not know how is she managing with such a terrible loss. They had spent the childhood together and then were seperated as both got married and went to live at different places. Due to family responsibilities and all other work they met very infrequently, mostly at family functions. I could feel the resentment in the voice of my mother, of not spending more time with her, while she was busy in her household.
Everything looked so damp and dark.
I realized how life keeps moving on and you continue loosing those you love the most. When they are alive, you never have time to listen to them or be closer to them. You are so busy that you do not even realize it. You take everyone just for granted.
But life is cruel. It makes you realize one more thing in the end, that you do not have the time to even mourn for them.
We all will keep loving you Rekha mausi and you will always remain close to our hearts.