April 21st was the ninth day of the Navratri and I was excited to do the last day hawan of my first Nav Durga Sadhana. I was kind of happy-excited.

We all tauji chachaji (uncles) and cousins whole family are very close to each other…. like we live within 5 mins from each other, even a small birthday party or keertan results in about 40 members affair. During these Covid times most members of our family got Covid. While some were in home isolation three of them (my tauji, chachaji and bhaiya) were in hospital though not so serious (or that’s what we thought). So, it had become a routine to call each other and check whether all are fine.

As I was about to start preparing for the evening Pooja I heard my mom speaking to someone and suddenly cried out “what” in disbelief. I ran to her and got to know that my Tauji (Uncle) has passed away. He was an active man, he started his law practice after his retirement from a govt. job! Before leaving for the hospital also he was doing little household chores like watering plants, changing bedsheets etc. He did have fever for few days and his report came out Covid positive after which my brother got him admitted but no one could think this will take his life… Whole family was in shock. We couldn’t believe what happened. Many things left unsaid many emotions remained unshared. Many were thinking like if we could have told him this or that or could have cleared few things with him. It was the first death of any brother in our preceeding generation. All were deeply shocked and saddened.

As my parents told me that now we cannot do anything auspicious can’t even light a diya for 13 days I could not do last day hawan. I just repeated the morning process. Though I was sad but in front of this family loss and knowing my cousins have lost their father, this was nothing.

A day passed and my another tauji who was in home isolation started feeling uneasiness. Knowing what happened to my other Tauji when he went to hospital my taiji did not let her husband getting admitted in the hospital and insisted that oxygen should be arranged at home. They tried to cure him at home but to of no use. Just in a gap of one day he also passed away. And guess what we could not tell this to his son because he was already in hospital and if he would have been informed of his father demise it could have affected him badly. My two taujis were like strong pillars of the family.

Our family started thinking that though this was sudden but at least they had seen a life both were above 60 and seen their grandchildren. It was my Chachaji (Uncle) and Bhaiya (elder brother) who needed blessings big time. They both in their 40s-50s and their family needs them. Our family started praying. My father and my eldest brother started doing everything that could save them. My father had gone to Uttarakhand for few months (at our village) for some work in January and the situation in Delhi started getting bad so we requested him to stay there only. Though he was far away from Delhi but he did everything that he could to save his younger brother and his elder brother’s son who was like his own son to him. The bond they both shared was well known in the family. From talking and requesting the doctors to arranging oxygens cylinders, doing Pooja and Tula Daan for both, he did everything he could think of.

Some 4-5 days later we got the news that Chachaji and Bhaiya are recovering and Chachaji is out of danger now. We all were so happy that finally it seems both will come home.

The next day we got to know that Chachaji had a cardiac arrest and he left us. He was one of the most jovial persons in our family. I could not figure out what shall I say to my cousin who is younger than me. Children are never big enough to lose a parent.

And then after three days my cousin bhaiya also left us. He must have tried his best. He would have never left his 9-year-old daughter, his wife for whom he fought with whole family (theirs’s was the first love marriage in our family)  and his mother who did not got the time to grieve for her husband. He was a very strong man…strength of his family.

Within 14 days we lost four of our close family members…so close…in fact we just had celebrate holi together. And my father and eldest brother who were earlier making arrangements for hospital beds and oxygen cylinders were now making arrangements for the proper cremation.

After the cremation most of us started thinking that despite Corona at least they were cremated properly by their loved ones. This habit of the mind is weird. We are always trying to somehow convince our mind, trying to give justification to ourselves for the things that went against our will. First when both tauji died we started thinking it’s sad but they did see life so we can’t complain much. When Chachaji passed away we were sad but after the demise of bhaiya, we felt at least Chachji’s children were mature enough, why did bhaiya passed away. And when all were cremated, we were like at least they were cremated properly. Why do we always need victory over our circumstances? Can’t we just at times accept that something has happened which we did not wanted to happen, and not try to find something positive in it. I think it’s our coping mechanism, for coming to terms with reality. However not always we can find something positive. We must not lose sight of truth.

One more painful (almost worst) thing was, the family members can’t even meet one another in the time they needed the family most. Because if the healthy ones got infected it could result in another death. They can only console the other one over phone. And the feeling of guilt that just doesn’t leave you. You start to feel if you have become selfish or you already were or is it a practical approach… I don’t know.

It is true that however hard we may try we can only feel the pain of other when we go through the same situation. Although I did try to understand the situation of my taiji, bhabi, my cousins who lost their son/husband/father, I was far away what they were feeling. I was thinking of consoling my cousin who is really like a friend to me (an amazing brother he is ) and making him understand things. But I am glad that I didn’t.

After 4-5 days I got to know that my father was also infected but he did not tell us for we will be super panic especially after seeing what was happening in the family. Someone else called us and asked if he was okay and then we got to know. Now it all started making sense that why he was citing internet connection problem and avoided the video calls. The fear of losing him and the intensity in my prayer changed drastically when I heard that my father was infected.

My father told us that he is taking medicines and following the instructions of a senior doctor and its already been 8-9 days and he is recovering now. By Bhagwanji’s and Guruji’s grace he is fine now.

Now I could slightly understand what my cousin went through when his father was in hospital. The fear of losing a loved one is so intense and bad. And I cannot really think of the pain he must be having now. But now I was clear what I have to say to him. As we talked, I said:

“I got to know that my father was also infected. And the fear I felt after knowing this, now I can understand what you must have gone through. What you have lost can never be replaced, so is the place of a parent. Your father was a very nice man. I could not think of even a single bitter memory with him. All the memories with him are so happy moments. And for such a good person wherever he goes the place is good. Sometimes there are no answers. There are only two things that are there, Acceptance and Hope. We can’t change what has happened and may be that was the best time, but we can hope for a better tomorrow, better than the present.”

To which he replied that yes that’s what I am hoping for and looking forward to. To my surprise he had these amazing plans of how he will be managing things and will try to make things better again.

My bhabi and taiji also were looking forward to how to deal with things moving forward. It really amazed me that how God has made a man so courageous and forward looking. Even after facing such tragic losses all are putting their best efforts in hope of a better tomorrow.

I underestimated the power of hope. It’s the hope that keeps a person alive in lowest of the low phases. And now I got to know that why the first message we received from Guruji in 2020 after the corona spread was a message of HOPE. Guruji said in that video that his life purpose is to put hope in hearts.

One more thing that I noticed was, earlier when  we used to listen to the numbers that so many people have died of Covid, although we did feel bad but those numbers were just numbers for us. But when our loved ones were included in those numbers, we understood what each number meant for a family. And those are not just numbers those are people and their family. I did feel why is so that we feel so less pain for others and so much more when our people are involved. Like the gap atleast should be less but its so very much. I do understand its the attachment we develop over the time with the people we live with or connect to in our day to day life. But due to those attachments we do become biased or partial many times.
Also, when the first news of Death came of my tauji, we were shocked. A little less shocked with another one. After that although we were trying so very hard and praying for other two lives, we did not get shock for the death. The pain was much more but not the shock. I realized that we become used to the things we kept hearing or watching or somehow feeling.

So many times we do hear about death but never really think over it. We never think that since death is uncertain we or our known ones can die when least expected. And its beyond my understanding why we keep ignoring it. From the moment one is born this is the only certain thing that is bound to happen one day, we still ignore it. May be if we will start contemplating on death we will not fear it much, and it will not come as a shock for us. Also, it will help us getting less attached to people.

And when I tried to contemplate on it I found that its the surrender to your Ishta that can help you big time in overcoming the fear of death. If you have this strong faith that wherever you will end up your Bhagwan will be there, you will find this immense peace and freedom…freedom from fear…

Putting an end to this long post, I will just summarize what I learned:

  1. Hope is powerful and positive thing that can keep one moving in most difficult times.  If in any phase of life, you start to feel low or start to think that your life cannot change for better now, please know that it is in your hands to make a better tomorrow. Our mind is very powerful. When we start to believe something, slowly we start to act according to it and later that becomes our reality. Just don’t lose hope ever. Also, its equally important if we may try to put hopes in other people’s heart. If we may try to lovingly and gently give hope to someone in need. It has the power to change one’s life.
  2. Life is not long enough to hold grudges. If we may clear things time to time with our loved ones we will have at least one less regret in case of sudden demise.
  3. Love and Surrender to your Ishta gives tremendous strength. Hold on to them.