Baabu, for that is what I call Him, saw His watch. It was 5 in the evening and still no sign of me coming home after I left home early morning. He kept seeing His watch, as it moved from an hour to another and His worries and concern now made Him tensed. He sighed when eventually I entered the house, seeing the time on His watch again to take note of my doing. This continued for days and seldom did i reciprocate His worries for me in any little way. Post overnight when He used to get up to use the washroom, He saw me awake, working, so many times and looked at His watch again. But again He did not say a word but made me understand the importance of sleep and coming home early the next morning itself. He never disturbed me while I was working. His way of making me understand and the willingness for putting me before Himself are gestures I am no match to. In the meantime, I was away for college leaving His watch to tick all the while and make Him worry again.
Why do we take grandparents for granted? Why can’t we spare any little time for them? Why can’t we visit them if they stay far? Why do we live with them in a way that they live far? Why do they still care after all the treatment you give them?
One day, when His watch continued ticking, He stopped worrying for me. He stopped getting tensed. He was sans emotions. He was sans His own being. He was no more. Time did not wait. All it left us with were a number of WHYs, few of them asked above. Time did not wait. His watch was the only thing running on his body and he slept there lifeless.
Prayer services and funeral arrangements begun. Pundits came. With every ritual, my desperation for His touch or His sight increased when suddenly His watch was unbuckled from His wrist and the pundit instantly buried it among other plundered assets in his pocket. The next eleven days when the pundit kept coming, I kept finding Baabu’s watch on his wrist in vain. It was never there. It must now be hanging at some shop for second-hand products waiting to be sold cheaply. It’s pure economics how one good can be priceless for a person (read: me) and cheap for any other. Another perfect case of economics is of the pundits whose marginal revenues depend on how pious the grieving family is and all the demand-supply is dealt with in dakshina. Pundits who preach praying for the deceased and tell us good about the heaven, have made a hell on the planet via our piousness. While Baabu must be in heaven, (thus, all the pronouns used for ‘Him’ are in title case.) His watch will make a tour in their Hell.
He always hoped I come back on time, all I hope now is to come back in time.
Two things raced on His wrist; the pulse and the watch. The result, people say, is rigged. When the pulse stopped in its track, the watch did not wait. Time did not wait.