It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this post. Last Wednesday, a dear cousin of mine, Shailesh Rao, died after suffering from lung cancer for the past 10 months. He was my dad’s sister’s son and was close to me right from my childhood. I was not able to see him for one last time since I was in Bangalore when he expired at his house in Mangalore. When I visited him almost 5 months back, his chemotherapy sessions were yet to begin. He was optimistic and full of advices. Yes, this was one thing that set my cousin ShailBhava*Bhava in kannada means brother-in-law* apart from others. He loved to advice people and to be frank, sometimes his advises used to illogical. But yet, he had everyone’s best interests at heart. I went to his house last weekend and it was kind of eerie to be in that house without his presence. He was always so active, be it in his professional or personal life, I just can’t imagine him lying lifeless on his death bed. In all our family functions, you would find our group of cousins at the end of the function hall, sharing a joke or having some inane discussion but cut off from the happenings in the function. But you would find ShailBhava going around busily, enquiring after guests and doing some work. This is the image that I have of him even today.
He had to undergo more than a dozen chemotherapy sessions and this had weakened his body and soul. But still he wanted to live, for his wife and his 8 year old daughter. The recent spate of mindless suicides makes me wonder if humans have indeed forgotten the value of life. Even though he was in excruciating pain, ShailBhava still wanted to survive, live life and be there for his family when they needed him.
Death is such stark reality of life. I realize that I’ll never be able to see ShailBhava again or hear his advices, never be able to have an argument with him. I remember when I was not getting any good marriage proposals at the age of 29, he suggested that I lie about my age in my horoscope. I had a huge argument with him over this and for several days I was not on speaking terms with him. But I understand now that all though his advice was definitely unreasonable, he was just concerned for me.
ShailBhava’s presence will be sorely missed in my life but I try to console myself by thinking that now he’s in a much better and peaceful state. I pray that God gives his wife and his daughter enough strength to bear the loss and enough courage to face the future that lay ahead of them.
|ShailBhava as always leading from the front during my marriage|