The plantation was dense, the weather was humid, I was running on the top of my speed on uneven terrains, beads of sweat rushed down the back of my neck, my legs ached, there was an overwhelming thirst blindfolding me, but still there was a lot to go, and all I could think about was, just running, running till I reached my uncle’s house. I was getting late and I knew this was my last chance to see him. It was that peak month of the year when the feculent smell of rubber pestered the layman’s nostrils. As I ran with full vigour, people who witnessed this great run along the path got worried, they thought that someone was nearing his or her end, but this was not just about death, this was something more important and if I missed this chance to see him, he would never be a part of my life again. As I ran through the alley of trees, I could see my uncle’s pepper cultivation. I paced down and breathed out all the frustration, because I knew I was almost there. I reached the ridge that overlooked my uncle’s plot, standing on its edge, high above, I had my first look at him.
I was overjoyed, content about the fact that my uncle was beside him doing the final preparations to send him away to a place unknown. From the bottom of my heart, there was grief rushing in, my mind had sudden imageries of all those good times that we spent right from my childhood, and how happy I was with him. All those rides, the Wednesday market outings, movies, church mass, airport, railway station, every single land mark on the map of my village was conquered by our duet. The whole village was proud of him, proud because he was always there beside the sick at the hospital. Proud because, he was the member of the church fraternity, leading the procession with utmost diligence and reverence during the yearly St. George’s feat. Proud because no matter what situation you were in, be it in the middle of a heavy rain, or under the hot noon sun, he would come running to you, just a call away.
Today, the saviour of the village was going, going somewhere far away, away from the noises of the village, away from the realms of this world, a world that I was a part of. I could hardly accept the situation that I was surprisingly into. As I approached the house gate, my mind sunk in despair, I told to myself that it was foolish to shed tears because this was the time I should be glad, rejoicing about all his deeds, and send him away with cheers and smiles so that he could savour them, and cherish them the rest of his life.
I was very clear about the fact from newspapers and people around me that, like him, many left the town to places unknown and never came back and as my sixth grade geography text stated, earth rotated about its inclined axis, nights became days, days became weeks, and weeks turned into years. And like him, many left, and the routine came back to normal. I knew that, all this was a part of my life and the part of the lives of the 1.34 billion people in India. Even the Raj path at Delhi called out to this great being in lamentation. When the world industrialised and modernised, after India was left downtrodden post-independence, the great beings of his clan ignited hopes of many workers and there were jobs, there was income and moreover prospects of a better future to come. Above all, the truth in front of me was, that he was going. And that day I ascertained — truth is actually bitter and when you face the true and harsh realities of life, it stings and kicks you down to the ground and it becomes very hard to get up.
Giving a sigh of relief and grabbing all the courage to face him for the last time, I assured myself that not a single drop of tear would cross the brim line of my eyes. I opened the gate, I looked at him with heavy eyes, he looked back at me, I made my way towards him, and there he stood, unanimated, white, shining and chivalrous. I placed my hand on his body, my fingers quivered with a growing pain in the heart, I just couldn’t let him go, I knew it was time, but I just didn’t want him to go. I secretly prayed that he would stay for one more day, but my uncle held me by my shoulder and consoled me because there was no other alternative to this departure. In no time, the second hand retailers would be near the gate.
For the last time I opened his door and kissed the steering a goodbye. My Hindustan Motors ambassador was gone.
Happiness, distress, good times, bad times and every single moment of my life, he was beside me, without fail. I acknowledged the fact that some things in life never stay, but when they leave, they leave their mark and he certainly did. I always thought that I would write about him one day and I know I am late, but I decide to write, because I believe that my words would reverberate and reach out to all those people who had this great being in their life and to all those great members of his family. Down the line, this is not the end of a clan, it’s the end of a great monarchy.