It was a weird morning. I had a sleepless night as I came back home from the cyber cafe after a great Call of Duty session with the gang and i slept at 4.30 in the morning.
I missed Suprabatham and it was Bala’s call that woke me up in the morning.
He couldn’t make it for the Lakshmi Narayan temple as his leg was swelled up badly (thanks to the futsal games). So i got ready and was about to bath when he messaged and said he will come.
The doctor he was supposed to go and see today was on leave.
Awesome! I messaged Geeta that the both of us are coming.
30 minutes later we were in the car on the way to KL to meet the gang at the temple.
That’s when life took an unpredictable twist. Bala receives a call from one of his aunts, his grandma’s lungs had collapsed and her condition was getting worst (she’s warded at the Seremban GH) and so we had to cancel our plans.
We diverted and cut through Nilai to get back to Seremban. Throughout the whole journey the both of us were silent.
I didn’t know what to say, so i kept silent most of the time. I guess that was the best method as there were lots of things running in Bala’s mind at that time. And plus, i guess he needed the quiet time.
Two days ago, on Friday, she was warded as her heart swelled up. After a 4 hour surgery, his grandma’s condition was stable again.
I told him she’s a fighter.
Zakir Hussain plays the tabla on a fast paced in the background as Bala accelerated even more.
“Bro you okay?” I asked. I looked at him. He had this serious look on his face.
“Yeah” he said.
I had messaged Geeta by then. Thank God they understood our situation.
In a matter of minutes we were at the hospital. Bala parked his car, and i looked at him. He was staring at the steering wheel.
“You ready bro?”
“Yeah man.” He took a deep breath in, and then said, “Let’s go”
And we went in.
At the third floor, i met relatives of Bala that I’ve never met before and one thing that struck me about them was, that, for them, this is yet another trip to the hospital. Save for his aunts, his mum, sisters and uncle, the rest weren’t worried at all.
Maybe they were an optimistic bunch of people. Or maybe they didn’t care. I don’t know.
All i know was, i wished to pay my last respect to a lady whom i look up to as a grandmother and be along side a friend whom i considered a brother.
I met her in 2007. When i was working with Bala at InterTouch. Those days, we used to work in the night shifts and sometimes, when we finished work in the nights, we were too tired to drive back to Seremban, so we used to sleep at her place.
And she was more than happy to let me in.
In the mornings, she would make sure we had our tea and biscuits before leaving and she kissed us on our foreheads. She was a lovable sweet lady.
She can quite dramatic, but i guess that is what makes her special.
Abi (Bala’s sister) walks to me and whispers, “Anney, I hope you don’t mind, but is it okay if all my other relatives pay their respects and then you pay yours?”
I said, “Yeah sure ahead. Let the family go first. I’ll go in last.”
Bala went in with into the ward with his aunt first, and then two of his uncles, then a few aunties and cousins. All the time, i waited and observed the lot.
Bala had come out by then, and he suddenly had this idea. He said to me, he remembers Chiu Sen singing a Tamil patriotic song to his grandma. No one else knew the song except for her as it was a very rare song, and she was really taken aback by it.
We contacted Chiu Sen and Bala requested that Chiu Sen does this favor to him.
Soon, it was my turn to go in, and Bala followed me in to the ward.
It was a nerve wrecking moment, I was afraid but yet i wished to see her. To pay my respects.
We walked into the ward, and walked into the doorway, and there she was lying on the bed infront of us.
She looked different. Looked extremely tiny and frail. Her hair was tied in a bun and her eyes closed.
Bala slowly walked up to her, held her hands and says, “Ammayi?”
She opens her eyes slowly and looks at him. She says something but i couldn’t really make it as it was in Tamil and also because partly, the words were gibberish (she had the respirator in her mouth).
I held her left hand and caressed them. She turns and looks at me.
“Paati. Ada baik?” I don’t know why i said that, but i felt like saying that.
She says something and she smiles. She was happy to see the both of us.
Bala then tells her in Tamil, “Ammayi, remember I had this friend who came to our house last time? The Chinese boy who could sing well? He wants to sing a song to you. You want to listen to him singing?”
She said, “Yes”
And Chiu Sen calls at that moment. Bala answers it, “Bro, thanks for helping. Just give about 5 seconds, and then start singing.”
He places the phone onto his grandmother’s ears and Chiu Sen sings a beautiful Tamil song.
Paati closes her eyes, she was enjoying the music and throughout the whole time, she was breathing heavily.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned away with my hands still holding tight on hers and I cried my heart out.
It was one of the most heart breaking moments in my life.
I just couldn’t take it. I’ve never cried for a long time, and somehow today, i just melted.
Shit… life is so fucking unpredictable. To see someone dying before your eyes. You know that person’s going to go soon and yet the person stays strong and pretends everything’s okay.
Bala then kisses Paati’s forehead and hands. I do the same too. Infact, I’e never cried this much in my life that i covered my face with a handkerchief and pretended i was having flu.
I’ll never forget this moment. That’s when i realised, that in life, it’s pointless to have anger and revenge and hatred. We can never know when and where life will take us away.
An hour later, were in the car again.
Life is too precious to have anger and grudges. I advised Bala to make up with his sister (they’re not in speaking terms for 5 months). There’s more to life than quarrelling and fighting.
To see someone on the death bed with the angels of death hovering above you, it’s a sight that brings enlightenment to one that understands and tries to understands life.
And i understood it today. Thank you Paati.