Facebook takes almost all my evenings. Somehow I can’t get over this addiction. I believe facebook boosts our morale and self esteem and quenches our Narcissistic thirst. Don’t you feel really important and happy to see the trident of red lights showing friend requests, messages and notifications? How much do we wish to see the LIKEs on our fotos and posts! A friend request from a long lost school mate!! I am pampered by facebook. Every time I am online, I feel I am surrounded by a cheering crowd.
It was for my winter vacation I reached Bangalore. Lots of plans charted out. Hardly had I met the first few priorities for the vacation, I got a call from my father that my nephew is not well and is hospitalized at Kochi. As I was sensing a chill pass through my bones, my father increased the gravity of the news. It seems he had met with an accident and is in critical condition. A few minutes later came a call from my uncle that my nephew is no more!! He burst into a wail.
My nephew was just 29 years old!! I felt giddy!! That reticent boy with his inhibited smile! Though he has grown thin last time I saw him a year ago, I can’t erase the chubby child he was when he used to be our angelic doll to play with. My nieces and brothers used to find him cute and charming. Over the years he had become more withdrawn and his mysterious taciturnity would inflate at many a family gatherings. I used to wonder what made that bubbly child so quiet though he enjoyed the jokes we cracked.
“Last evening we spoke and he said he would be home next week and then we can decide upon the girl he saw last”, his father recollected as he sat pale in front of me.
Except for a few blood stains left by the postmortem, his face was calm. The journey from the front yard to the cremation ground seemed like eternity. When the moonlight shone on the river, we were waiting for him to turn into ash. With the towels on our shoulders, we sat scattered wondering at this incredibility. As I sat brooding, I was hit by incessant questions. This is the place where we had cremated our maternal grandma, an abiding presence in my life. She is my childhood, her voice chanting the evening prayers and her patting me for my devotion. We came home after leaving him on the river bank. Where else can we go? We can’t follow him. Even if we could, where would we go? Who bids farewell to whom? The dead to the living or the living to the dead?
Days after his mother’s face became blank and his father moved about in atheistic indignation, I returned to Bangalore. His post mortem report said it was a cardiac arrest in sleep!!! In the morning his roommates found their usually punctual friend still in bed. The postmortem revealed that his beats stopped within a couple of hours after he went to bed. It was true but it sounded like a cruel medical joke!
He became a sigh in our conversations and I was drawn to chores in Bangalore. I had to return to Kathmandu within a couple of weeks.
One evening, after having read all the notifications and messages on my facebook page, I was greedy for more. Among the many “to be confirmed” friend requests, I found an old request from one Mr. Rohit. I sat paralysed as I was looking at the familiar face of my nephew we/who bade farewell on the river bank!!!
....by Santhosh Kumar Kana