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What it was like to lose your son in a plane crash

December 29, 2014, 5:23 am | This story has an Influence Score of 716

By riazhussain

Delhi has been the seat of emperors and rules for centuries. The city remained financial and political center of India for centuries in Mughal rulers’ times. Then, in colonial days, the British founded Modern Delhi or New Delhi.

Today, it is a giant sprawling metropolis. The city is home to diverse cultures, magnificent monuments and architectural wonders.  This imperial center of the past is now a densely populated focal point where millions of people live in slums and dilapidated houses. There are others who are homeless and sleep on pavements or in parking lots. Our current story is about a poor tailor who lived in the crowded part of this capital of India.      

Mahesh was a thirty-year-old tailor who lived in Delhi downtown . He had three children, two sons and a daughter. He was one of the well-known tailors of his area but his monthly income was too meager to help him meet all his family expenses as he was the only earning hand of his family. He would return late in the evening from his shop.  Helping his children become educated professionals was his greatest dream but he did not have sufficient resources to realize his ambition. In addition to this aspiration, this workaholic had disturbing dreams at night. In the nightmares, he would see himself speechlessly surrounded with dangers. He would become terrified, only to wake up and discover that it had only been a dream. In the morning, he would forget what bizarre nighmare he had experienced the previous night.  

His elder son, Rahul, was preparing for his matriculation. He used to help his father by doing tailoring chores at the shop. He was a young genius.  

He passed his admission exam with excellent grades. It was the wish of his father that he should serve his nation as a doctor. Although it was a tough task for the young man, he nonetheless followed the wishes of his father and joined a nearby college for pre-medical studies.

Rahul used to go to college in the morning, and in the afternoon  he used to lend a hand to his hard working father. In the evening  he used to burn the midnight oil to enhance his academic knowledge. He performed well at the college and got a position in his pre-medical exam in his city. Then, he won a higher education scholarship funded by the Indian government . His father was overjoyed at the success of his son. The day of his departure came and his family gave him a warm see off.

He was the first boy of Mahesh’s family who would become a doctor. Rahul left for Australia and enthusiastically pursued his higher studies. He also started teaching there and in no time he was earning enough to support his family. Home-remittances sent by him, helped his father educate his other kids. Years went by. Rahul passed MBBS with laurels.

Back in India, his father and family were dying to see him. He wanted to fly home but due to certain legal terms and conditions in Australia, he was not permitted to fly back at that particular time. So, he started his practice in Sydney. He also started his specialization in cardiology. 

His sister also applied for admission at a medical college in India. She got admitted and started her studies in Bachelor of Dental surgery. His younger brother was becoming an astronomical engineer. Rahul’s income increased from several thousands to 8 'lacs' (Indian numbering system) per month. The family was now prospering. Mahesh seemed to be the luckiest man of his family who was now enjoying every luxury of life he could.

After a couple of years, Rahul completed his FCPS and created a niche for himself among the well-known cardiologists of that time. Now, he could go home and meet his family.  

In eastern countries, people give considerable weight to their parents’ say in choosing their life partners. Most of the marriages are arranged. Therefore, Mahesh wished that his son, Rahul, should marry his niece upon his return. He asked Rahul for his decision. Rahul agreed and they decided to have an extravagant marriage ceremony on his arrival. 

 Rahul informed them about the date of his flight. The family was eager to see him at the airport on the day of his arrival. They made several preparations for his welcome and his on-coming marriage.

On the day of his return, while all were very busy in arrangements, they vacuously listened to a piece of news of a plane crash on All India Radio. They went to the airport to welcome the beloved member of the family.

When they reached the airport they came to know that it was actually the plane from Australia that had crashed and eventually learned that all the unfortunate passengers, including Dr Rahul Mahesh, had died. 

When Mr. Mahesh heard the news of the sudden death of his son, he thought he was, perhaps, having another vivid nightmare and would soon wake up from a deep slumber. He looked around at his surroundings. His children and relatives were crying at the airport but took all that as being part of  the nightmare. Days, months and years passed by but his nightmare did not end. This long dream continued to gnaw at his health for several years. The intensity of his grief abated when the wife of his younger son, who had become an astronomical engineer by that time, gave birth to a beautiful baby.

Despite all our advancement in science and technology, we are helpless in front of death. It remains an enigma for us. It shatters our dreams and disrupts our plans. Compared with the whole history of life on Earth since its inception, we seem to have very insignificant spans of life. The transience and fragility of life shock us. But, we are helpless and cannot do away with the ephemerality of it all. Therefore, the only option left for us is patience.

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