From my childhood days, I have been always fascinated by magicians. Their tricks always puzzle me, and make me wonder how things get vanished or replaced from my naked eyes. At the unfolding of any new trick or game in a magic show, I always try to keep myself as much alert as possible to catch the magician in wrong foot, but consistently failed in all my past endeavors, which left me perplexed and overwhelmed in a confused state of mind. The earliest show that possibly I attended when I was as little as to comprehend my age or days around. Only image that still haunts me is that it was an evening show in an open ground. There was a large gathering. I was possibly held on the shoulder of my father watching from a great distance the acts of the greatest magician of the world (that’s what my father told me), senior P.C. Sorkar (that time he was simply the great Jadukar P.C. Sorkar) in a well-lit make-shift stage. He was having the famed turban over his head. I have no memory of the games or tricks he played in that show. Possibly, I was frightened on his intention to cut a girl through and through by his magical sword or to vanish her from a wooden enclosure by the touch of his magical wand.
My first school was situated about a kilometer and a half from my home. For first few days I was accompanied by my father, and possibly by the maid working then in our house. But it was becoming very difficult for my father to bring me back from the school, as it clashed with his office time. The service of our maid also became very irregular. My mother was very busy in her domestic work. She had to attend my little brother also. It was not always possible for her to make herself free to receive me from the school gate. So, after a few months I was habituated to return on my own. In my second year of schooling, I gained the complete freedom of my movement from home to the school and returning back.
There were two different routes for walking to my school. One was along a railway track, occasionally used for shunting goods-train in this long track. Sometime a lone coal engine would visit us along the track to fill water in its boiler from an overhead tank. Many a time we used to visit that place after hearing their shrill whistles. Years back passenger trains used to ply, as the railway station was close to my home. This place was also near the river side. But now the station is shifted away from this place, and it is quite near to my first school I attended then. In those days, no passenger train used to run along that track. Following this railway track we could reach my school by a shorter path. The longer route was along the main metal road through the town. My parents preferred the latter for my self-commuting. They considered that the metal road was safer as there were more commuters in the day time, and advised me to always use the sidewalk beside the road. While returning I used to pass by my father’s place of work. He worked then in the Criminal court. His office was in the first floor of the building, and the window behind his seat was at the side of the road. So, while returning I always shouted at the top of my voice calling him and waited with excitement to see his face through the window. He would wave his hand to acknowledge my call. It was almost a daily ritual that I used to enjoy.
There were other added attractions too. The court premise was a large area throbbed by a multitude of petty shopkeepers, tea-sellers, cheap book sellers, food vendors, hawkers, typists, copyists, astrologers, and many other colorful characters apart from black-hooded lawyers, their clients, clerks and other staffs of different trades connected to our justice dispensing system. My school was in the morning hours. So, on my return; I used to find the whole arena jostling with murmurs, excitements and occasional shouting of all these people. The astrologers, showcasing a framed photograph of Goddess Kali anointed by red vermilions, would plead passing travelers for seeking their advice, and sometimes they would sit with their preys in a trance and with an occasional look at their palms. The random rhythmic sound of type-writers would continuously hum in your ears. But the most exciting part was the trick-shows freely offered by various hawkers. Some of them used to sell tooth powders, medicinal ointments, herbs or extracts, etc. Even if you were fortunate you would get a snake-charmer selling a type of herb-roots for driving away snakes with a live demonstration of various snakes and their movements around them. They would play the flute and speak intermittently with the snakes and also with the audience. Sometime I could also watch tricks with monkeys and bears in this open show. But these were rare events. Mostly I passed the gathering without any interruption in my journey. My mother also instructed me not to interact with any stranger on my way or make any stop or delay. However, only on those rare treats, I used to join the crowd around it, and take the liberty of enjoying a break not lasting more that a quarter of an hour.
On one occasion, I was put into an embarrassing situation. That day I was attracted by the sound of dugdugi (an instrument of making fast beating sound) played by a lean, thin and dark person raining incessant stream of words in a high pitch modulated rhythmic voice. He was promising to show many tricks with full of fun to the people around. Not only that, he vouched to teach those tricks to the open gathering. Within a moment, a good number of people encircled the place centering the show-master. I also joined them and placed myself at the front of the encircling crowd. The man was accompanied by a boy a few years older than me. For quite sometimes the senior person continued playing dugdugi shouting his words of promises to the viewers, till he got satisfied with the numbers around the show. Then he brought out a pair of iron rings, attached with each other, from his jhola (a bag made of clothes usually carried by hanging on the shoulder). He announced, “If any of you can make this couple separated, I will give you a reward of five rupees.” His much younger partner approached the spectators for trials. A few tried, but of no success. I also made an attempt, though he was not eager to oblige me. The trick-star separated them without an effort. Again, he passed the separated rings and asked whether we could chain them again. No! No one could do it. He restored the bonding of the two rings. Next, he with much eloquence demonstrated how to pull them out, and how to attach them together. Things were getting interesting for me. I lost track of time, that I should spend there. This was more due to the fact that he promised to show us a very interesting trick, which none in this world can do. Only his late guru taught him this amazing trick. Saying this he brought out an apple from his jhola and a bottle, made of glass, with a very narrow opening. He placed the apple on top of the opening. It was pretty big enough compared to tiny opening of the bottle. But he declared he would make the apple go inside the bottle through this opening before our naked eyes. He would also teach each of us this wonderful trick at the end of this show. By saying this he started canvassing for a tooth powder. Intermittently he kept on reminding us about the trick that he would be performing. I was patiently waiting for this wonderful fit to be performed before me, and did not keep any account of the ticking clocks at that noon hours. I did not know how long it went. The trick star went on selling bottles of powder, and after each successful endeavor he would return to the topic of the apple going inside the bottle. At last, there was none but me waiting to see his wonderful trick. So, I went to him and asked to show the magic. He gave a big smile and rewarded my patience by presenting the apple to me. I was too disappointed to accept his token of appreciation and hurried towards my home, as I realized I spent more than an hour in that show. On my way, I met my mother. I could see her from a distance. She was walking back from my school along the railway track. From her appearance, I could see the trauma she went through that hour. She came out from our home without changing her dress. With untidy hairs, she was walking without any purpose, and with an empty look. When I called her, she was unmindful to make any response. But moment she saw me, she came almost running, and asked why I was so late. I told her the truth. Surprisingly my mother did not utter a single harsh word to me. She only told me not to make any such stop and delay for any reason whatsoever while returning back. I had a good lesson from my mother and the street-charmer as well on that day.
I was attracted to science as it has that magical touch in my childish imagination. The earliest encounter with such wonder was a radio set. I should be around the age of three then, as I was always at my home and did not start attending any school. One day, my father bought a radio set. I could distinctly remember the model ‘Bahadur’ made by Phillips. This set was small, and not a big valve set of its previous generation. I was amazed by the talking, singing and playing machine with the rotation of its dials. At its back, there were tiny rectangular grills. Often, I wanted to see through it whether really there was someone speaking from such a small place! Of course, my father explained me that it was a machine and invented by scientists. In particular, I came across of fame and name of Jagadish Chandra Bose connected with its invention from my very early childhood. So, when the opportunity came to make a radio set with only a blade, safety-pin, variable condenser, a long wire and an ear-phone, I got very much excited! I was then in my sixth grade and a friend of mine brought a torn page from ‘Kishore Bharati’ (a magazine for the kids), where this wonderfully simple circuit was sketched. My friend was very proficient in model making. He was also of my age, but was very good at making paper toys, cars with card-boards, in short, he had a pair of skillful and artistic hands. So, both of us decided to get started with our project radio from safety-pin and blade. We had almost everything. My father took us to one of his acquaintances, who was knowledgeable in repairing radios. From him we could collect a resistance and a variable condenser. But we faced an uphill task to get the earphone. It did not exist in our town. Once again, our parents came to our rescue. We went to Kolkata with my father, and walked a few miles in Esplanade east to get a piece of ear phones in various shops in the New Market. Finally, we could manage to get it in one of these shops – a little white piece, a real treasure to us. We returned with a lot of excitement. To our utter dismay, the circuit failed. We could not get a single sound from it. We read that page over and over again, but could not make it. So, we went to my father’s friend again, who gave a broad smile and told us that he knew that circuit would not work. He gave us a relatively simple circuit with a piece of transistor and diode. Even with that circuit we struggled a lot. One evening my friend got an idea. We hanged a long stretch of wire in our roof and made it the aerial of the set. It worked! We could listen to the magical sound of Vividh Bharati by tuning with the variable condenser and played across the ear phone. A magical moment indeed!
My fascination and imagination with scientific experiments and inventions have been growing steadily. I could sense that science is the key to my magical world! In the first year of my middle school (in my fifth grade) I came across of a list of inventions and their inventors. I was eager to know magic behind them! Those inventors were my heroes then! Once I asked my father who was the greatest scientist in our recent times. He readily named Einstein. But I did not quite agree with him. His name was not included in my list. I thought he should have named Thomas Alva Edison, the greatest hero to me in those days.
I was hungry to get a feel of those inventions! I was mostly an outsider in this world. It was partly due to my age, partly due to my socio-economic constraints and underdevelopment of my country. We had no electricity at our home. There was no television set around us. Hardly could we find a telephone receiver in our neighborhood! My hungry eyes would keep looking at flying aero-plane over the sky. I longed to see working of X-Rays, television tubes, cameras, microscopes, periscopes, telescopes, like so many different gadgets. So, in their absence, I let my imagination fly and dreamt about a magician who would see even the tiniest object or watch an event from a farthest corner of this world, could travel at the speed of lightning, or make himself invisible among the multitude of people.
My interest was further nurtured by my school. In the beginning of the session in my eighth grade, one day our Head Sir called me and asked me to join a few of my seniors to participate in a science quiz competition, which was to be organized by Birla Science Museum at Kolkata. The exciting part of this participation was that we made several trips to the Museum accompanied by one of our teachers. In my very first visit, I was enchanted looking at large portraits of famous scientists including Galileo and Newton. We were asked to note every bit of facts from the galleries for preparing ourselves for the competition. It was exciting to see working models and their live demonstrations through active participation on pressing a button or switch and observe its working and effects. I was very much thrilled by watching a model of Geiger counter and listening to the beeping sound as it was making during the movement of the sensor and getting exposed to radioactive particles. The most exciting part of our visit was a live demonstration of a Television studio and the live video transmission that we could see over the screen of a TV. That was the first time when I could watch a TV. In the later part of the year, first TV transmission took place through Dooradarshan in Kolkata and adjoining areas in our state. Incidentally quiz competitions were held in this studio and visitors could watch on a TV outside. Though we were eliminated in the second round, it gave me exposure to various facets of modern science, and gave me the taste of several gadgets I was eager to know about and watch their workings.
In the same year, I was encouraged by our Head Sir to participate in a competition where a seminar to be presented with charts and models on a topic on the quest of new energy sources. He told me to go to library and search for relevant books and magazines to get ideas. There were a few popular science books in our library, though they were in English, which was not my medium of instruction. There was also a Bengali science monthly. From them, the closest realizable model that came to my mind was of a windmill. No sooner I spelt my idea to my Head Sir, he called Kalipadada, our teacher of work education, and requested to help me in making the model. My school had excellent facilities of workshops. It housed three sections, smithy, carpentry and lathe machinery. Kalipadada was in charge of the lathe workshop. He designed the whole model. I was almost a spectator, while he did the machining and built the model of four bladed windmill, which drove a small rotating magnet using pulley and shaft mechanism. A voltmeter was connected to a coil of copper wires, encircling the magnet. One afternoon I was put on a van-rickshaw (a human driven tricycle with a wooden platform to carry load) with my model for participating the event, which was held in my home town, about 8 km away from my school. My excitement knew no bounds, when with the speeding rickshaw, the blades of the model were also rotating fast and the rotating magnet was making cracking sound (as we find in the generators) shooting the needle of the galvanometer to its extreme right positions.
Now we are living in such a magical world, that I lost my sense of surprise at knowing or hearing any sort of human accomplishment, which were thought to be impossible even in early nineties of the past century. The boundary of science fiction of our childhood days and the real-world happenings is getting blurred day by day. I bear with great fortitude my passive submission to this magical world. But I never imagined the greatest trick that was waiting for me in one sunny morning, which left me stunned and dumbfounded.
The morning was bright and full of sunshine. The festive mood was prevailing everywhere. Durga puja, the greatest annual festival in our state, was knocking at the door. In my morning shower, I was humming a popular Bengali tune, “Ek jhank pakhider moto kichhu roddur … (A beam of Sun-rays spreading their wings like a flock of birds ..)”. I would be visiting my mother who was recovering from her broken ribs. She had to be admitted to the hospital in our campus. The doctors advised her complete rest. She had to wear a specially molded guard made of a synthetic fiber wrapped around her chest to keep the broken ribs fixed. Initial hurdle was to get the wrapper done. As during the measurement for making the cast of wax, my mother was so restless, breathless, and writhing with pain, that she had to be admitted to our hospital. Even in that condition she was objecting vehemently by waiving her hands, and was reluctant to lie on the stretcher. That was about ten days ago. Later she got stabilized and the chest guard was finally made. She had been using it, and feeling more comfortable in her movement. In that Morning, she had to go through an USG test of abdomen. She was having breathing problem and the doctors were not able to find any diagnosis of that condition. She had a chest X-Ray the day after admission. But the X-Ray was not very clear due to some movement during imaging. It was planned also before taking her to the diagnostic clinic, which was around 2 Km. from our hospital, there would be another chest X-Ray for her. As she was having occasional breathing problem, an ambulance fitted with oxygen cylinder had been arranged for her. Usually I would visit her early Morning as I was used to carry her breakfast and tea from my residence. In that Morning, she needed to be with an empty stomach. So, I went to visit her after getting ready for my office. I planned to go to my office directly from the hospital. My young friends, Chhotu and Shashaank, would be meeting us in her cabin. They would accompany my mother to the diagnostic clinic. My wife is a doctor. She works in a hospital close to the clinic. She would be joining them from her hospital. Everything looked to me in order and under control. I was in peace, and enjoying the freshness of morning air and sunshine.
For past three weeks, my mother went through terrific experience due to a fall from her bed while sleeping. She told me, she had a sweet dream, and went to her younger days playing with two of her friends. One of them pushed her, and she found herself on the ground wrapped with the mosquito net. Initially she was reluctant to tell anything to anybody. My parents lived in their own house at our home town. My sister with her family also lived quite nearby, and they would regularly visit my parents. For three days, my mother did not mention anything about the fall. She was hoping for a natural remedy. She was always reluctant to visit a doctor and run through a series of tests. Even my father did not know for a whole day. He came to know a day afterward when he noticed my mother was having difficulty in movement. She admitted that she fell from her bed, but asked my father not to tell anyone. She had a dominating personality, specially over my father. So, my father kept quiet. Only when the pain became unbearable, she disclosed it to my sister. My sister immediately called me, “Where is Boudi (sister-in-law)?”
Jhuma was in Kolkata for puja marketing that whole week. I was alone in my residence. It was a Saturday. Next day, I would be going to Delhi for taking a PhD viva examination. I told, “She is in Kolkata. Why?”
“Mother fell down from her bed. She is moving with a lot of difficulties. I am telling her to take rest and engage a cook. She is not listening. She is not able to sleep. Not able to lie down. Yet reluctant to visit a doctor, to get the X-Ray done.”
I told her to give the phone to my mother. My mother responded meekly with a sound of hello. I told her, “Oh! You fell down! Are you feeling pain? Is there any fracture?”
She tried to assure me, “It should be okay. When I move, or stand, I do not feel any pain. Only when I lie down, it is paining too much. I am not able to sleep.”
“Please go to a doctor and get X-Rays done.”
“I do not think, I have anything to do with a fracture. My problem is that for last three days my bowel is not getting cleared. It is so uncomfortable. Only if it gets cleared, I should be completely fit. I tried all kinds of totkas (traditional remedial measures), Isabgol’s husk, Nature Care, Cremafin, nothing worked! I need a good laxative. That is why I asked Mana (my sister) to call Jhuma.”
“Go to a doctor. Get his advice.”
“I will. Today Laltu (my brother-in-law) would be bringing glycerin tube. If it does not work, I will go to a doctor.”
“You need to take rest. Keep a cook. Do not cook by yourselves.”
“I cannot. I feel better working.”
“Do not be stubborn. When you will not be able to move at all, what will happen? Keep a cook immediately and take as much rest as possible. You might have a fracture. Get the X-Ray done.” I insisted.
I asked my Sister, whether I should cancel my Delhi trip. She told me, “I do not think that would make much difference. We will be taking her to a doctor. The only problem is that she is not willing. I hope now she will cooperate.”
I asked my Sister, whether I should cancel my Delhi trip. She told me, “I do not think that would make much difference. We will be taking her to a doctor. The only problem is that she is not willing. I hope now she will cooperate.”
I also called Jhuma and apprized her about the situation. She told me that she had talked with my sister and asked them to get her admitted in a nursing home. She would be visiting my home town before returning back to Kharagpur. I also called my brother. He was quite upset to know about it.
He said, “None told me so.”
“I got it just now. Mother did not want to bother us.”
My brother told me he would be going home next day to visit my mother and take care of her treatment.
We had planned to visit Andaman that year during Puja break with our parents. My parents were very much excited about this trip and were collecting information from all sorts of magazines about those beautiful islands. Occasionally I would get some of those tips from my mother. So, when I heard from my sister about her fall, immediately it struck to me that our trip to Andaman was under a big question mark. It was not that we were apprehensive about such a scenario. But we never thought it would be due to my mother. We were always worried about our Father, as he had his occasional complaints of dizziness and unstable movement. We noticed, before any such trip, his complaints would take a serious turn and he would be pleading to cancel his tickets. However, with some encouragement he would agree to join. But, we had no worry about our mother, as she kept herself fit by doing regular Yoga and Pranayama in the Morning, which usually ran for a session of more than an hour. My mother ardently followed Baba Ramdev’s programs in TV channels, and had complete faith in Pranayama’s preventive and even curative effect in keeping her fit. She had been practicing them for more than ten years, since when she had to go through different tests and was put into several nursing homes about a month. I was abroad in that full year. When I came back, she told me that it was a terrible experience for her. She was almost suffocating in those cylindrical drums of CT and MRI machines. All those tests were unnecessary, as they could not diagnose any disease in her. They were all money-making ploys. By resorting to Yoga and Pranayama, she could lead a normal life. I advised her still to go for regular checkup with the doctors, specially the cardiologist she was consulting then. She did it for a few years, and then declared even the cardiologist acknowledged the fact that she became more than fit, and did not require that many frequent visits. Later she switched to one of our local specialists, who was also a friend of my sister, though her visits were infrequent. As she did not complain any other ailment and carried on with her usual energy in daily activities, we were also less worried about her health. Our worries were mostly centered around our father as he had a major complaint of vertigo, and at times he had to be admitted to nursing homes for a day or two in past few years. Moment I got the news of my mother’s fall, I apprehended that our trip to Andaman might have to be cancelled.
The day after my mother agreed to go through the checkups. She was admitted to a nursing home, and consulted by an orthopedics. They did X-Ray on her back, but apparently could not find any fracture. In the nursing home, they took care of clearing her bowel and she was feeling okay. So, they released her. I came to know the details from Jhuma, after she returned to Kharagpur. Eventually the orthopedician advised rest, and suggested a belt around her waist, which my mother should put on for a few weeks while making any movement. Over the phone, my mother sounded relieved, and even asked whether it was possible for her to join the Andaman trip. I assured her, given the doctor’s advice we would take all necessary measures in the trip.
In the following weekend, I went home to visit my mother. I found her seated on her bed wearing the belt and gossiping with my sister in a lighter mood. Seeing me the first thing she asked, “Will I be able to go to Andaman?” I told her, “Sure. Why not? As there is no fracture, you should be recovering pretty soon. You need to take complete rest.”
She laughed, “The person who came here to deliver the belt, told me “Didimoni! ( An address to a female teacher. My mother was a teacher.) Do not listen to anyone’s junk advice. I checked your X-Ray. Nothing to worry. No fracture. Even you may not require this belt.”
I warned her, “Still you need to take rest and wear the belt.”
She told me, “Only problem is that I am not able to lie down. It is so painful.”
I asked, “Still now!”
She nodded. I was quite bewildered. I had already planned to take her to Kharagpur, where she could be put in proper rest, and if needed, we could easily admit her to our hospital. I told her so. But she was reluctant. My father looked very much worried. He told me, “She is not listening. But she requires a thorough checkup. Get her admitted to a good hospital.”
I told him, “I am planning to take her to Kharagpur. One of Jhuma’s colleagues is a reputed orthopedician. He should be able to treat her. Jhuma also can supervise her treatment. We would carry out all the checkups there, and if needed, get her admitted to a hospital in Kolkata. It appears, she only requires to be rested for a considerable period.”
That night I could see how my mother was writhing with pain and did not sleep at all. Many a time she had to go to the toilet with great effort. Next Morning, she herself told me that she needed to be admitted to a hospital. She would not be able to manage on her own. I asked her, whether it would be possible to travel by a car to Kharagpur. In that case, we would be able to look after her better. She readily agreed. So, I called the travel agency, from whom I used to hire cars. They sent a car in the afternoon. I also asked my father, whether he would be coming with us. He told, “I have some pending works in the bank and post office. I will join later.”
Before leaving, my mother told my father not to worry, and asked him to come to Kharagpur when his pending works were over.
Finally, the orthopedician in Kharagpur informed us that there were two fractures in her ribs. He consulted the same X-Ray plate taken a week ago in our home town. For some reason, previously the diagnosis was not proper. Even the belt suggested by the orthopedician at my home town was of no use, as it was not protecting the ribs fractured. So, she was advised to wear a guard, to be molded specially after taking measurements on her body, that I already mentioned before. I wanted to get my mother admitted to our hospital directly for providing her complete rest. But the superintendent doctor told that without any concrete reason, it would not be possible to get her admitted. Providence must have been listening to our conversation then. Within a day, we had to admit my mother as she was becoming breathless and restless, when the team, assigned for making the mold, came to our residence and tried to take measurements of her chest and ribs. Since then, my mother was in the hospital. My daily routine was to visit her thrice and carry her food prepared at our home. She got quite friendly with two Aiahs (female assistants to a patient), who were looking after her round the clock. First few days, she was put under an oxygen cylinder. My mother told me, “What I require is this cylinder. I feel so better with it. I should have a few in our house. Then I need not come here.”
Her pain got reduced, and was having good sleep in most of the nights. In the meantime, the team again visited her cabin and could take all the necessary measurements and prepared the cast of wax. Three days later, we could get her chest guard. I asked her whether she was feeling better with it. She told me, “I am having good time here.”
She looked quite happy. She loved to talk with my sister, her brother, who lived in our hometown with his daughter and son-in-law, and a few of her close relatives and friends. She talked with her cousin sister, who lived in the place where she spent her childhood. But her communication with my father was very cryptic and rare. In fact, my sister advised me initially not to inform my father about her admission as he would be very much worried and nervous, which I obliged for a few days. Then I told her to apprise him about the situation and ask him not to worry. I also called my father to assure that everything was under control.
That day I was about an hour and a half late from my usual visit to my mother in the Morning. As I was climbing the stair case of the hospital to visit her cabin, I could find my phone was ringing and my mother was calling me. She was quite eager to see me, “Why so late?”
I said, “As you are not taking breakfast today, I came here after getting ready to go to my office.”
She told me, “There is a good news. Tania (my cousin sister) has a baby son.”
My cousin sister in my hometown was expected. My mother was quite worried and enquiring every day to her brother about the progress. Last evening also she was talking to him and told him, however late at night it may be, he should inform her. She was feeling very happy. I asked her, “Did you have a good sleep?”
“Very much. Actually, I had a happy dream. I dreamt my mother last night. She was caressing my hair.”
Then she became quiet. After a while she hesitantly told me, “Probably I will not be able to go to Andaman. You should cancel my ticket.”
I replied, “I have already cancelled our tickets.”
She got very upset, “Why so? All of you could have made the trip. I thought of asking Mana to come here, and stay with me.”
“We do not want that. Rather all of us will spend here Puja together. All of them will be visiting us here during puja. That is the plan.”
Still I could see, she was feeling very sad and guilty for the cancellation of the trip.
I told her, “Chhotu and Shashaank would come now to take you to the diagnostic clinic for USG. Before going to the clinic, there will be another chest X-Ray here. Are you ready? Do not forget to wear your chest guard.”
She laughed, “It looked like an armor, as if I will be going to fight a war.”
Then she said again, “Is it necessary to go? I am feeling quite okay. I should be able to go back to your quarter soon.”
“Your trouble with breathing is worrying the doctors. They could not diagnose the cause. They advised this investigation. We should follow their advice.”
My mother smiled at me, and accepted the verdict. Chhotu and Shashaank came a few minutes later. I gave them the money and bade good bye to my mother, “I will come during the lunch time again.”
I got absorbed in day’s proceedings. I had a meeting with one of my students and a colleague. About an hour later, I called Chhotu, “Is the USG done?”
“Not yet. Jethima’s (aunt) bladder is not full. They gave her water to drink, and we are now waiting for the turn.”
After half an hour Jhuma called me, “Her USG is done. It appears there is a problem in her chest X-Ray done today. So, the doctor is suggesting for a CT. But mother is not willing to go through.”
I told her, “If she does not want, do not pressurize her.”
A few minutes later, she told me, “We are bringing back to her hospital. Will you come?”
I told, “Now? Okay I will be there.”
After a while, Shashaank called me, “Sir, I am with the car. Please come downstairs.”
I apologized to my student and colleague with whom I was discussing, “I have to leave. My mother is in the hospital.”
They were quite surprised to know, as I never mentioned it before. I told them, “She is doing fine. She had broken her ribs, and now she is recovering.”
Shashaank was driving me quite fast to the hospital. I asked him to slow down, “You should not drive with this speed in the campus.”
I found the ambulance was at the step of the hospital, and the doctors were waiting there. No sooner my mother was carried into the emergency room, they rushed there. A green curtain was drawn, and the doctors were treating my mother inside. I was sitting in the bench outside. I knew this procedure. Ten days before my mother came for admission. She was taken to the room, and was performed preliminary investigations then. I was waiting for the curtain to be drawn open, and my mother would be taken to her cabin. Jhuma was inside. A few minutes later, she came outside looking very troubled. She told me, “I do not know what will happen? Her condition becomes very critical.”
I was dumb founded. I rushed to the room, and found a doctor was frantically giving message to my mother’s chest. There was a machine where a red dot was jumping here and there. I was looking at that dot and hoping that it would show all the energy of resurgence. But it did not. It became flat and dead.
When everybody left the room, I went to see my mother, still warm sleeping in peace without any sign of pain in her face. Probably my mother had no idea that she was leaving this world without a word of good bye to anyone. Within a few minutes without giving any notice, the great magician vanished my mother, and left me mesmerized. He turned my world upside down – a world without my mother.