Did he leave too early?

Dr A S Bhatia
I was a young boy of eight years, when my father used to take me to watch Ramleela in the Shri Geeta mandir, Bakshi nagar Jammu. Many local artists were contributing their best to make the event successful and among all of them, was a prominent figure known as, “Chaachu”. He was instrumental in making the Ramleela, a mega event of those days by his unopposed talent to manage the stage which even Kapil Sharma of today’s fame, will lack! My father, Sardar Surinder Singh Bhatia , an engineer by profession, who acquired his degree from Madras university in 1953s, when most of the people of that era had not even seen Pathankot, travelled all the way from Jammu to Madras in 1950s to accomplish his dream to become an engineer, that too after suffering the horrifying experience of partition of 1947, when most of the male of the family were brutally killed and females members sacrificed their lives while fleeing from Mirpur Pakistan, preferred to jump into a well to protect their dignity and honour, rather than to fall in the hands of tribal invaders, is simply unbelievable! My father was a mad follower of “Chachu” who never missed an opportunity to gift a pack of apples to him on the stage of Ramleela! That was the glory of that time when people from all walks of life would come to watch the stage show. Few days back I was sitting in the laboratory during a surprise check, when I saw an old and fragile man accompanied by a middle aged couple entering the laboratory to get some tests done. While they were busy in telling the prescription to the receptionist of lab, I was looking towards the old man, the face of whom looked somewhat familiar to me! “Is he Chachu?” I asked myself. Yes, this old man in eighties was the Chachu, who was the star attraction of Ramleela in 1970s. He is Om Prakash, first time in last forty years; I came to know about his real name after going through his prescription!
“Chachu ji Namaste”, on hearing my words, the lusterless cataractic eyes of Om Prakash sparkled! Might be he was hearing the word, ‘Chaachu’ after many long years! After disclosing that I am son of Surinder Singh Bhatia, tears appeared in the corners of ageing eyes of Chaachu. Going down the memory lane, he said, “That was the time when the whole community, irrespective of their religion came to watch Ramleela, Your father was a source of inspiration to all of us especially me! I cannot forget his love and belief in Shri Bhagwat Geeta , he never missed an opportunity to come to Bakshi Nagar during Raam leela days, irrespective, where ever he was posted may be in Kashmir or any far flung area of Jammu! But Bhatia sahib, left this world too early!” said Chaachu, while leaving the laboratory after giving his blood sample but pushed me in deep thoughts, “Whether my father left this world too early?”
Few days back I was sitting with my friend Dr Jitendera Mehta , nodal officer of many states and centrally sponsored health schemes that he discussed with me about the tool of time management especially sigma six certification. After a detailed discussion with Dr Mehta , I pondered that I spent near about fifty years of my life with my father, was that a too short period in the life of a human being that at the end of this life all we have to say, “He left too early!” Or is it otherwise? We are so busy in pursuing our materialistic goals that we do not spare enough time for our elders to have memorable time! He lived his life, and left the world as designed and desired by the Almighty, but we did not have sufficient time for him! Now I realized in what hurry we all are in, whenever leaving for our offices, someone, frail and aged, in the family will be standing there at the gate only to have a glimpse of you, being a retired and old person, these falling leaves, are left lonely, away from the hectic activities of the office but we often fail to understand their loneliness. Life keeps on moving, getting one promotion after another, and one charge after another, spending all the time in deciding official files, working at odd hours and coming late to home. After back at home only interaction which most of us have with our elders is, “How are you, have taken your medicine, now go and sleep!” Now I ponder, are these` the only words which our elders deserve? This is true for most of us.
Today, after reading this article, go home, sit in a sofa, close your eyes and simply be retrospective, how many days or even hours did we have been with our elders in our families? I am sure the answer with most of us will not be very encouraging! Let the elders in your family be once again the hub of your family. Make them feel important and it becomes more important after the death of their spouse and friends. Help them stay socially connected as social isolation and loneliness have serious impact on the quality of life.
What most us need is to learn the art of time management. If Dabbawala of Mumbai can be the source where the prominent personalities of world like Charles, Prince of Wales, Richard Bransonand, US secretary of commerce Gary lockes, visited to understand their experiment of time management. It is important to note that what Dr Mehta was discussing with me, the Six sigma certification, has been awarded to Dabbawalas. All of us should try to learn the art of time management, where we have enough time for all our nears and dears. Life is very unpredictable; we must spend sufficient time with our elders in the family. Let them repeat the glorious stories of their past as many times as they tell. Be a patient listener. Accompany them to a place of worship, make available the old songs and movies of their era, take them down the memory lane, don’t leave them alone! Spend sufficient time with your childhood friends, make it sure to make them a call once in a while, arrange a get together of your classmates, enjoy the nostalgic moments of your college days.
As of now, when I go for an evening walk in my locality, I could see big houses, but most of the people who constructed them have left this world! Their children are settled in other cities in search of job, and these big houses who had witnessed the glorious past, are standing all alone with one caretaker to look after the houses with only single bulb spreading the dim light and giving a very lonely, sorrow and deserted look! These houses had witnessed the glorious days when these were humming with the children who used to come there in summer vacations. But now the street wears a lonely look, the young generation is busy in the virtual digital world! Most of the new generation kids are unaware about their next door neighbour!
There is need to introspect for most of us! Let’s not live in a robotic world, let us get sufficient time to watch the flying birds in the morning and observe the rising sun! In the mid of night go to the roof top and enjoy the silver light of moon, sleep with the ageing elders of the home, make their old age as comfortable as possible. Spend good quality of time with all your nears and dears so that at the end of life we need not to say, “He left this world too early!” or otherwise as Mirza Ghalib said,
“Mehrban ho ke bula lo mujhe chaho
Jis waqt,
Main gaya waqt nahin hun ki
Phir aa bhi na sakun!!