And the coffin was lifted…

(Harmain Sultan, )

The atmosphere echoed with heart wrenching screams and her world turned upside down.
She was looking at her grandfather’s belongings and two old worn out diaries caught her sight. She set aside the placards and letters that she held in her hands and sat on the hard mattress of the bed. She wasn’t sure whether she should open the diary, not because of the fact that you’re not supposed to look into someone else’s personal things. She was already familiar with all the numbers written in the diary because Baba would ask her, almost every day, to open his diary, look for a name and dial the number. She used to stand near his large, comfortable sofa and listen to the long conversations that he had with his friends. Often, a friend of his would call to talk about some publication related stuff and he would, very gladly, put aside his tasks, talk, laugh and, with a sigh, put the receiver back. She smiled as the nostalgic thoughts ran vividly like a film in her mind. As she looked down, she looked at the diary, each and every page of which she knew by heart, but which now appeared alien to her. Her thighs were getting numb under the weight of the old worn out leaves. She touched the top right corner of the hard cover and ran her fingers slowly through its sides. A lump was forming in her throat, adrenaline began to accumulate and she stood. With trembling hands, she held the diary to her heart as if the diary was not just a compilation of pages but a physical form of Baba. Walking to and fro she talked herself out of not opening the diary ever and mustering up all her courage, she sat on the couch and opened it. The brown paper was colored black with Baba’s slanting writing, a circled note here and a number there. She touched the tiny words and smelled the ink and she could actually see Baba smiling at her from behind the table where he used to sit and wrote all 15 of his books. Tears fell from her eyes as she turned the pages; page after page and with every leaf turned, the bitter truth dawned upon her. Even drenched in Baba’s smell, the diary was still a diary, a non-living manifestation of him but not him…
It’s been four years now but it feels like yesterday, when she was standing in the ICU, looking at the skeletal figure on the bed. He was there, alive and breathing but was he? Perhaps, he was gazing at something far more distant than you and I can imagine. They say the eyes are windows to the soul and maybe it was his soul looking out through the windows. I don’t know if anyone else saw the sheer sadness that she did, as if he was trying to say something very important but couldn’t find appropriate words for it. She turned her eyes away not because she could not bear to see the breathing skeleton, but because the intense glare ruptured her heart so much that adrenaline began to accumulate in her. Turning back, she tried to utter something but her speech articulators rebelled and so, with quick steps she, almost, ran out of the hospital wing. Sitting inside the car, she looked at numerous sick people and for the first time in her whole life she could actually feel their pain and agony. She felt awkward because, never before had she ever felt that way for the sick. She used to say that the world can’t stop for those who’re too weak to compete in the race of life. And yet, here she was staring at the poor patients, tears falling in her lap, wishing she could do something…something.
Her thoughts wandered and she remembered the day when Baba had expressed his desire for her to study medicine and be a doctor. She was feeling very energetic that day because, finally, somebody had given her a cause to live for, a dream to cherish. She had decided in her mind and pledged in her heart that she will burn midnight’s oil and be a doctor for him because this was the first time that he has asked something of her.
She was startled when the front door of the car opened and her father collapsed in, crying helplessly. There, in her heart she knew what had happened but could not dare to bring the words to her lips or even confront the thought face front. Everywhere was darkness, her mind turned numb, nothing was left… but the world didn’t stop neither did the race in which every human being is engaged.

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