With a 2 year old son in my lap ,i was frantically searching each nursing home near my parents place to search my 60 year old lost Father.It was 5 hours by now that he had left home without his purse or mobile.
My mom had gone to buy neurobene injections for my dad in a cycle rickshaw and when she came back home the house door was wide open with no trace of my dad.
My father was not too fond of carrying the mobile phone with him and usually stepped out of the house without locking it too,so this was not very shocking.
After waiting for around 1 hour( that’s the time he took to come back from a barber shop after getting his shave made), my poor Mother all disoriented searched each shop of the colony market within the boundaries of our housing society to search for my father who was complaining weakness since some days.My Father had no disease as blood pressure, diabetes or heart ailments,but he often used to complain about ache in legs and general weakness.Vitamin B/ d deficiency maybe.
My father was basically a very jolly,kind , centimental and loving man with a very happy go lucky attitude but he could never come in terms with loosing my Grandmother to cancer when he was 30. Now he was 60 but we know how each day he remembered, missed and dint grow detached from memories of his sooper dotting mother ( to whom he was the only son).
Since i got married and they had a house to themselves with no responsibilities and no extravagant spending habbits my dad took an early retirement at 50 to spend some golden moments with his Beloved my Mom.
My mom on the other hand has been a very practical, hardworking, planned and sincere aswell as ambitious lady .She completed her double M.a and b.ed and was not allowed a traditional job so that i was not raised my a house help,so she pursued a free lancing career as a tour guide.When her legs gave up due to over usage she did a training as an insurance agent aswell still practices Buddhism.
My mom called me after 2 hours of searching my dad herself and taking help of the owner of Mother dairy booth from where they used to take milk. The shop keeper also searched terrace of each multistoreied 15 floor flats to see if some fatal step had been taken by my Father who from last 2 days says my mom had been falling from the bed.
I could not reach my mom immideately as my son had his play school chhutti at 12 noon and my daughter s bus would have come at 2.30 pm.My husband was out of country and being an only child aswell having 4 first cousins abroad,who would but help us in tracing my father?
Till the time i reached my parents place,it was 6 hours since my father was missing.All their block s flat mates were in the square of their flat looking at their house and talking of further action to be taken.
2 ,3 families were cooperative enough to search the lanes of colony for my father s where abouts with no success, someone had put his picture on society Gate and written with hand,to tell if someone could tell if he had seen this gentleman and where at what time?And mentioned our flat number.
With a 2 year old in my lap,and my father s pass port size picture in my hand,i asked each fruit vendor,each tea stall owner,each cobler outside our society boundary if they had seen him in these few hours.
My heart beat was fast when I headed towards the metro station to check if he might not have jumped in front of the metro , he used to miss me a lot and i was busy with my kids, husband,house,inlaws and my own emotional management.Some where he had lost the will to live.He use to tell me often he is quite satisfied and now wants to not live anymore.
After we searched all nursing home near by some neighbour suggested we register a missing complaint in the Police station.
It was the first time I had to enter a police station with a maroon body hugging pull over and a baby in the lap! There were 5 police officers ( men) who’s eyes checked by body contours while asking what my father looked like, weather he was a drunkard,or he had a fight with my mother or was he under some Debt.
After this grilling of half an hour and discribing my father’s height,the clothes he wore,his facial features,they asked me to sign an F i r…this was the first time i experienced how anyone s hands could shake and shiver!
Inbetween this chaos my father s 2 first cousins came to the police station.One of them was a Major in Indian army and suggested we check emergency of each government hospital in the city.
I had in all this time called astrologers ,faith healer,lit jyot at Peepal tree and prayed to Hanuman ji to find my father.
My mom was crying constantly that he must be hungry and cold as he was feeling week already.
Nothing seemed to be working,we called all his old colleagues too or some distant relatives and old freinds but every thing seemed dark.
10 neighbour women sat with me in my parents drawing room assuming what all could have happened to my Dad.
Some said did he become a sadhu? Some one else said they had seen him sitting on terrace boundary and some other neighbour claimed he often took my dad to cremation ground just as my father remembered his mother.
Suddenly at 8.30 pm our land line rang and my father s cousins said we should warm some water for my Dad s bath,he had been found in a government hospital.But we should ask him nothing.
It was an ordeal of 10 hours when he came back home with soiled Kurta pajama and some one else s slippers.
His cousins later told me that he was found floating in a canal near by and was rescued by a police van When he came to senses he told a wrong name and wrong address,may be fear of getting bad name.
How he reached the canal? Did he jump in it or was it a case of assault we still don’t know.
Before we could ask him next day ,he had severe de hyderation next morning and we had to rush him to a hospital,from where he crossed to the other world after 6 days on 29. 2.12.
My father loved me more than his life and dint want me to cry so may be chose a leap year date for his death too that i remember the dreadful day only once in 4 years.
His hospital doctors said his body had blue black marks, there was a blade i found under his bed in the house he had slept the last night, the washing detergent brand new bottle was half empty and one police man who came the next morning to close the f.ir said he had fished my father from canal after some one had called him that he has seen a body float.
How and why my father went away? How he lost his life are still a mystery which me and my mom never discuss.
Yes Escapist…that we are.