Some dreams remain unfinished. What saddens me more is baba wanted to visit a foreign country. He never said no and was so eager and curious to know more about the place we went to.
A similar thing happened with maa too. When she travelled by train for the first time in her life, she went back to her village to tell my grandma how exciting it was. She loved hearing all about trains and how the seats convert into a bed. It was her dream to take her mother by train someday. My grandma suddenly passed away when maa was expecting her first child. Neither she could see her grandchild nor did she see a train ever.
I came to know about this when I was very young and I was disheartened. Never knew my dream of taking my father on a foreign trip will get shattered similarly.
Baba had mixed emotions about us going abroad. He was sad that I was going so far, utterly concerned but he was happy to know about the new place. He would wait for my pictures and videos. He had so many questions and was very inquisitive about the new things. He was amazed to see snowfall and even more surprised to see that we were not required to wear warm clothes inside our home. The concept of a centralized heater was also new to them. He was curious to know about the food we get, the new climate, people, their language and would not miss the international news.
He happily applied for the passport and even enjoyed the entire process. These things were new to them and he was elated to receive his passport and visa. His excitement was at its peak because he was travelling to the US to meet his grandson. Everything was well planned and things were happening smoothly. Maa was a little apprehensive looking at the long travel time, but baba had convinced her too. The excitement of seeing their grandson for the first time was the only reason she happily agreed to travel. To make their travel hassle-free, my sister-in-law planned to accompany them. We were extremely happy and eagerly planned their welcome.
We were counting days and just a week before the date of travel, we received a call very early in the morning. Nothing was right, all of a sudden maa was in the hospital as she suffered a heart attack. I couldn’t even talk any further and cried inconsolably for days. All plans were cancelled and, in a rush, we applied for our newborn’s passport instead so we could visit them as quick as possible.
A year later, we planned again, booked the tickets and we were all happy. This time they even consulted their doctor to check if their health was all fine to travel and they were given a green signal. We started preparing too, but to everybody’s surprise and dismay, this time baba had to be rushed to the hospital. He underwent a bypass surgery urgently. It came as a shock to all of us because he was doing all fine and did not complain of any health issues. This time again all tickets had to be cancelled and we booked our tickets to travel to India.
Baba was sad that he could not travel this time either and already started planning for the coming year. We were all wondering how come every time we book their tickets it gets cancelled in such a horrific manner. He took a lot of time to recover from the surgery and by then, we moved to another country. This time we were closer to India and our time zones were just two hours apart. We could talk the whole day and as usual, we started planning again. I planned a month-long vacation with kids and reached home within ten hours of travel. It was a huge moment for my family because I was on an international journey all by myself for the first time. I also had my kids with me and my family kept praying that we all reach home safely. We received a grand welcome at the airport as my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and cousin all travelled nearly five hours by car from my hometown to receive us at the airport. We drove back home and reached early in the morning only to see maa and baba both wide awake and standing at the gate. Maa hugged me and said how worried she was and baba immediately interrupted saying she was unnecessarily worrying because he was confident that I’ll manage everything well. That was the best family get together we had in a long time and spent beautiful days together.
Baba sat with me and asked about the travel, the time it took and what all I did on the way. He was very hopeful he can make it and wanted to apply for the tourist visa for next year. We all assured him he can travel soon after he recovers completely. I left home after a month and promised him that next year when I come, I’ll take them both with me and he was already excited and happy about it.
Little did I know, that was the last time I saw him alive.
Coming up next-
W – Whitewash and Weddings
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