My father died yesterday around 2:30 PM on the way to the hospital in New Delhi. It was 14th of July 2006 and I had packed my suitcase to leave for St. Petersburg to facilitate the G-8 summit. My brother called me up and said-“abhay come home soon, come home soon, papa is in emergency.” I said- “bhaiya, if papa is in emergency then take him to the Escorts, I am going to St. Petersburg ”. He said-“abhay come home, come home, papa is no more.” This struck me like a thunder. I had just spoken to him in the morning around 10 AM and he was absolutely fine. What happened I simply could not understand? He had a minor heart attack on 26th of June while he was at home in the village. The local paramedical practitioner measured his blood pressure and found it to be high. He accompanied him to the district headquarter in Biharshariff to see a doctor. The doctor declared that he had suffered heart attack twice and would be in critical situation for the next two days. He put him on oxygen and stabilized him injecting medicines. He was referred to the Jeevak Hospital, Patna. There he stayed for a few days. All tests were again carried out to ascertain cardiac arrest. The tests showed that he had heart attack in the past few days as his one artery was blocked. The doctors recommended him to go to Delhi and get checked at the Escorts. My brother, who works in Chennai, flied to Patna to accompany my father to Delhi along with my mother. My father was admitted in Escorts and a date for his bypass heart surgery was fixed. It was on 6th July 2006. The surgery was conducted by Naresh Trehan and was successful. I arrived in New Delhi in the morning of the 7th July from Moscow. I went to see my father in the recovery ward at the Escorts. He was recovering fast. He looked very happy to see me. The next day too I went to see him and he was improving fast. The third day he was shifted to the Intensive Care Unit. He found the place noisy and irritating. He was angry at the doctors about the issue of removal of the urine pipe. He wanted it to be removed as early as possible while doctors wanted to keep it one more day. Somehow we worked that thing out and he agreed to keep it one more day. I spoke to the sisters serving him to be kind and gentle with him and listen to him carefully whatever he says. The next day when I went to see my father he was happy about the services of the sisters and he praised them for their patience. He said- “however angry one gets these sisters never lose their temper. They always listen to us carefully and smile.” I was happy seeing the change in his mood. The urine pipe had already been removed and my father had started walking with the help of the sisters. That day I sat with him for more than 45 minutes because the security guard was not around otherwise he starts sending marching orders in 15 minutes. We talked about the oncoming G-8 summit, the political situation in Bihar, the careers of two prominent politicians from Bihar, about the marriage of my elder brother, about the sisters from Kerala and how education helps them to work and live independently. That was the last time I saw my father. He looked full of life and ideas even in the Intensive Care Unit. I told him that I would wait for his coming to Moscow after two months when he recovers fully. Earlier he was supposed to come to Moscow on 23rd July along with my mother and brother.
I left the hospital learning from him as always since I was a little boy. I returned to Moscow thinking of my father’s visit after two months. He was shifted to the ward the next day and on the 12th July he was discharged from the hospital. He had recovered fast and everything was normal with him. I spoke to him twice on 13th and once in the morning of the 14th July. He was recovering fast and asked me about the cutting of the stitches. I told him that after a week they would be removed. That was the last phone conversation I had with my father.
I went to my office in the Embassy as usual and had my lunch. Afterwards I posted a poem “For my great father” that I had written a few days back while he was in the hospital. Soon my brother called up and said-“abhay, come home, come home soon”.
My father was the best friend, philosopher and guide I ever had. Losing him is like losing part of my self. I know my anchor is gone but his ideals remain with me. He is immortal in my memories. I know papa I’ll miss walking with you so much.