Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saying au revoir

I spent all of today visiting relatives in Calcutta, with more to be met tomorrow, all to say adieu before I head off for my MBA in a month's time. Of all the people I met, no one else made me as emotional as Doctor Dadu and Didu.

I'm not related to them. They were my Mam's neighbours all my life, in her old home that she moved out of some years back. Dadu was a homeopathic doctor, so if any of us ever fell ill while visiting Calcutta, he'd be the one we went to. There is also some story of him saving my life when I fell seriously ill as a kid I think, but those details are too hazy for me to be clear on.

Every visit to Cal, no matter who else we met or didn't meet, Doctor Dadu and Didu had to be met. No matter how rushed or hectic the trip, that half hour to walk next door and sit with them had to be taken out. And it was never a duty; theirs was a house we unanimously all wanted to visit. And very few people make me feel as loved as they do.

Maybe it's because we're not related. Maybe it's because there's no baggage, you know. With everyone else, there's a history. What he said about us, what we said about her, what he shouldn't get to know, how they behaved with them, and so on and so forth.

With Doctor Dadu-Didu, there's no such history, just a very genuine affection. Every time I go, they exclaim over how I've grown up and become such a lady. They start about how they hear such good things about me from the grandmother. They feed me mishti and give me a chocolate to carry back with me. And they tell me how good it is to see me again.

They're childless, Dadu and Didu. Both in their 80s at least, they live alone, and a niece comes to see them once in a while. They're both very well read, and their memory is still amazingly sharp. Dadu can't hear, so every time I answer a question Didu asked me, she'll scream and repeat what I said to him, and he'll nod and pretend he understood, then turn and ask me the same question again. Didu fell and hurt herself a couple of years back, and is almost completely bed ridden now. But the two of them are chugging along, living and laughing together.

Ever since it's been known that I'm going off for two years, all my great aunts and other elderly relatives have been telling me wistfully, "who knows if we'll still be here when you come back." Mam said it today, and I lost my temper with her and stormed off.

But then Doctor Dadu said it too this evening. And I broke down and started bawling. And it struck me that after the grandmother and the princess, if there's anyone else I'm going to be praying to keep alive for me to come back and see, it'll be Doctor Dadu and Didu.

But then Didu saw me crying, and laughed. She patted my hand, and told me, "don't be silly. You come back in two years, and you'll see I'll be walking again."

God I hope so. How I hope so.


Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

I understand how that feels and it's worse when someones leaves your world when you didn't get a chance to say good bye. But the joy of finding your world, right as you left it is amazing, and that's what I hope for every time for myself, and now for you!

Pretty soon, "Cal" is going to become an abbreviation for California, not Calcutta ;)

Can't wait to welcome you here!

Zeba said...

Aw. *hugs* And fingers crossed.


R said...

awle :(