TODAY -

A visit too late

Dr Keisang Mekhulsim Maring *



Anytime you may be called for eternity. And that day may close on you unexpectedly; great would be the remorse, had you lived out only for yourself. You need a break amid busy schedule - Oh, modern man.

I will never forget those days of December 2003 through first week of June 2004, till my dying day, because they were the last days of my classmate John (name changed).

One fine morning, I woke up little late to find my body and mind not so invigorated as usual; and late night studies could be blamed for, since our final Cl-XII selection exam was in progress. My mind was encumbered with too much reading. Wash up did pep me up to some extent. The day was 6th Dec 2003.

After I put on the school uniform, I hurried out of the room into a chilly morning for school. When I reached school, I found my classmates - all looked staid and dreary - significantly didn't put on the usual robe of boisterous life that day; maybe either they didn't get much sleep the previous night or some divine hunch tranquilized them.

In the middle bench was my seat. Our physics teacher, whose humor filled-lectures always drive away the tedium of everyday life, appeared along with some others. The bell rang; they began distributing question papers and answer sheets. One seat remained unoccupied. Then, John's absence was picked out by the entire class before too long.

Inquisitiveness crept into his mind, the teacher enquired curiously, "Where is John? What happened to him?" Someone at the back replied grimly, "Sir, he's down with blood cancer and is hospitalized currently". He shrieked shockingly, "Blood cancer! Oh, he's waiting then for death!" I was left awestruck profoundly on hearing that. This boy, I tell you, was brilliant, jovial, daring and full of life, but abhorred everything of the spiritual aspect.

And he wouldn't welcome readily any sort of spiritual counseling. I came out of the exam feeling completely dismal that day. Something within insisted me to gear up to witness his last days, whereupon I decided to visit him possibly after the exam. However, he was referred to a cancer hospital in Bangalore - so I couldn't visit him then.

Two months later I was told that John had been sent back home and no blood cancer was found, and was improving. No blood cancer? And improving? How? Isn't that weird? I sure was thoroughly deluded, and so was driven to deferring my visit. I thought to myself, "So good to hear he's no cancer. I'll visit him some other time." Perhaps, the devil beguiled me into thinking that way. Yet deep in the core of my heart; a prompting continued to riddle me.

One day my friend Samuel broke the news of his death to me. I cursed the day in dismay blaming the devil for everything bad. It was heart-wrenching to hear that.

Unfortunately, after a long illness John couldn't pull through. He died young. I felt guilty and full of remorse for not being there alongside him during his bitter last days at least for a day. On the same day Samuel and I made time to visit the bereaved family in the evening. On reaching the locality, from the main road we followed a small route serpentine in its course amongst the houses. At its end, a wooden gate lay half open hedged with bamboo stuffs on either side encompassing the house.

As we moved in, I saw a woman with a mournful look standing apathetically in the corridor, few benches and chairs jumbled up in the compound with a casing of tent above. The whole picture portrayed was hushed and unwelcoming. A minute later, she walked up towards us. We offered a handshake and introduced ourselves as John's classmates.

Our word was no consoling to her grief-stricken heart; conversely it did afflict her. And she turned, and slunk away towards the back wall of the neighbor's house. There facing the wall - seemingly to make her cries out of earshot - she stooped down, and broke out into tremendous tears and sobbing, crying, "My son, my son, your friends are here. Come back." She cried and cried until her voice died down. Vainly her cries diffused into the air.

The heavens looked brass, hard enough to bar the prayers from reaching the miracle-working Almighty. Everything seemed deaf and unmoved to her cry. No miracle ever happened. We were just silent spectators, not a single word we uttered. Besides her weeping cries, I heard some voices, presumably of the comforters, coming from inside the house.

After about 5 minutes long mourning, she came back slowly and sat down in front of me, and spoke up with weak muffled voice, her swollen eyes red, and streaks of tears on the face. I did my utmost in whatever way I possibly could to console her. She recounted John's last days saying, "My son, on his deathbed, was always referring to one of his classmates, who would speak about God; and he wished to see him".

I interrupted her and said, "That's me, Aunty" She was taken aback. "Oh, dear, why didn't you come and talk with him?" She sobbed. "He would be very happy to hear you." I replied empathetically, "I tried to visit him and share God's word, but something kept me from doing it." "He did repent of his sins before he breathed last." she recalled rather calmly.

Meanwhile, John's sister came, tall and thin, and served us tea.. Her gloomy look provided me with a perception of deep seated sorrow within her, and even more because she remained unspoken for few minutes long. On hearing about his repentance, peace dropped into my heart, because it was his salvation that I was concerned about largely. We learnt that his dead body had been buried the previous day. "Aunty, I am happy to hear that he repented. Stop mourning."

I consoled, "Someday we are going to see him in heaven. It's for the sake of the greater good that he's called home". Quoting some comforting scriptures, I could bring her to the realization that we are just a passerby in this world and physical death is just a transit to heaven.

The father showed up, walking around the corridor, and came towards us. He presented himself like a man whose condescen- sion won't let him put across the grief outwardly. But his countenance betrayed him. By now the sun was nearing the horizon, and we left.

One day, a month later, I happened to be at the shop of my friend Santos. I saw a couple coming towards the shop. They were John's parents, I recognized. I greeted them and said to John's mother, "Aunty, how are you? You remember me?" She looked up and paused for a moment. Once she recognized me, her right hand, skinny and slender, reached down to grab the fringe of her cloth, and wiped off with it the tears that flowed down her cheeks. And then they walked away.


* Dr Keisang Mekhulsim Maring wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be reached at kmekhulsim(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was posted on September 21, 2012.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Chilli Chicken: Film Spotlighting NE in B'lore
  • Committee of Narcotics Anonymous - Imphal
  • The Power of Meditation
  • Oceans as a career choice
  • Getting more and more audacious
  • A test of leadership
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Gifting two seats to Cong
  • Voters empowered democracy
  • Postcards from Meghalaya premieres
  • Milk : Essential nutrient for a healthy body
  • Failing in competitive exam not end of world
  • Delhi : A mere spectator
  • Abandoning Jiribam
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #5
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Mainstream in Shoes of Alternative
  • Protect the medicines that protect us
  • Lets take action for our land & our future
  • Democracy and independent media
  • Agenda at work to shut Western Gate
  • Keeping Manipur on the boil
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #34: Download
  • The Enigmatic Journey of 'Laikhutshangbi'
  • Individual and the Social
  • An Ardent Appeal to All Concerns
  • Condemnation of Attack & Govt Inaction
  • The Power of Poppy - 34 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Alien fishes spotted in Manipur's rivers
  • Training on mushroom at Langthabal
  • Digital avatars or deepfakes ?
  • 7th June is the World Food Safety Day
  • How to prepare for UPSC after 10th ?
  • The Jiri violence
  • Beginning of a new vote culture ?
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • BJP, NPF & other NDA pay heavy price
  • Nature is one of greatest blessings of God
  • Plantation drive in Tripura, Assam & Manipur
  • Summer beauty
  • Environment conservation & over-exploitation
  • Is Modi cut out for leading a coalition ?
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Scholarship for Johnstone Hr Sec students
  • 1st foundation day of Interfaith Forum
  • World Environment Day: Our land, our future
  • Indonesia stronger anti-tobacco measures
  • Navigating a fragile Myanmar: India's policy
  • New breed entering electoral politics
  • The road to formation of new govt
  • International Dance Day #1 : Gallery
  • Matchbox marketing mantra
  • Stop harming nature :: Poem
  • Saving for oneself & the Nation
  • Model United Nations (MUN) conducted
  • Tobacco: Threat to health & environment
  • Candidate from ruling party biting the dust
  • The verdict
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #4
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Navigating Remal amidst Manipur conflict
  • We are #GenerationRestoration
  • Intl Day of Innocent Children Victims
  • Apparel Industry Skills & Innovation CoE
  • What's in a cyclone's name ?
  • Ongoing clash, the floods, the losses
  • Exit poll predictions
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #33: Download
  • Evading flood & rethinking urbanization
  • Manipur Flood: Health Advisory
  • Onus on civil bodies to ensure NNPG unity
  • Rats also cause flood
  • Benefits of JEE Main mock tests
  • People have spoken, now the results
  • The fury of Remal
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • The flood in our Stars
  • The Power of Poppy - 33 :: Poem
  • 'Group of people misrepresented themselves'
  • EV industry and career options
  • Scientist of Manipur: Chandrakant Aribam
  • Candy flavoured traps to hook next Gen
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #2
  • Tobacco affects health & environment too
  • Jio extend validity for Customer in Manipur
  • Students must learn about AI irrespective
  • As vote count day approaches : Floods
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Flooded : Sacrifice of Yairipok's Maiden
  • World No Tobacco Day 2024
  • Chandam Rishikanta wins NPC Nat'l C'ship
  • Flood: Helpline numbers for emergency
  • Battling body odour ?
  • Floods : Not entirely natural phenomena
  • PM Modi's purpose
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Flood: Control Rooms & Helpline numbers
  • Economic impact of ongoing conflict
  • Army Recruitment Rally for Manipur
  • Cut deficit, boom likely
  • Are Gods angry ? Wake up call for Manipur
  • Beating of the Retreat #2 : Gallery
  • We did Overcome: Mayhem of Month of May
  • Training on mushroom at Potshagbam
  • Famous female Mathematicians in India
  • Disinformation campaign thengnare
  • Human trafficking puts humanity to shame
  • Sky opens up in all its fury
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Combined Defence Services Exam 2024
  • Good show in Class X exams
  • Downplaying the crisis
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #3
  • Reviving Lamphelpat : Conservation : Gallery
  • Commemorate Naga Plesbicite Day 1951 #1
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hojai
  • The Power of Poppy - 32 :: Poem
  • Insights from CUET-UG Counselling
  • International Day for Biological Diversity
  • Unseen force at work: Time to unravel it
  • Sheikh Hasina's revelation
  • The Vanishing Meitei Tribe
  • Building career in defence & strategic study
  • Why example of model code of conduct ?
  • Ownership of responsibility
  • Will pressure mount on key players in NE
  • How to save your foot after an accident
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #3 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Project Associate @ CSE, Assam Univ
  • Understanding schizophrenia
  • Advancement in Multi Objective Optimization
  • When will women in voter list increase ?
  • Making 2 plus 2 is equal to 5
  • Changing face of drug menace
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • 25 yrs since Atal Vajpayee visit to RIMS
  • 4 Lakhs donated to support (L) Maipak Family
  • Clarification: Guwahati Meet on Humanitarian
  • Start UPSC prep after 12th for success
  • Tips to avoid melting makeup in summer
  • Giving a big solid push to ST demand
  • Time to come clean
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #3
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • A year of hostilities
  • Licypriya Kangujam to travel to Italy
  • Declining moral standards in public life
  • Healthy democracy with independent media
  • Why endangered species matter to us
  • Significant Guwahati meeting : 1st visible step
  • The Pallel story
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #2 : Gallery
  • Ukhrul: Climate change grip on water supply
  • Commemoration of World Eld's Deer Day
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Dance of democracy, a miracle in making !
  • Learn to look 10/20/30 years hence
  • The zero FIR, zero lesson
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #1: Gallery
  • MOU signed: MTI-HUB & KIIT-TBI & SAbF
  • Lament of the Mourning Choir :: Poem
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wabagai
  • RSS-BJP fracas
  • Trials for Canoe Slalom World Cup
  • Poser from a villager says it all Kamjong
  • The cover-up effort
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #2
  • Manipuri women in the arena of politics
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Assam
  • Aimee Baruah at red carpet of Cannes
  • National Defence Academy Exam 2024
  • How digital media changed communications
  • Manipur stands scandalised
  • All eyes on UP battle
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #32: Download
  • Riots to a shrine- Ram Mandir of Ayodhya
  • Handle with care. F.R.I.E.N.D.S inside!
  • The Power of Poppy - 31 :: Poem
  • Celebrate the journey !
  • Career counselling : A life guidance tool
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Conspiracy, thy name is Kuki !
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Thounaojam
  • Ket Meth New Album "Ghost Stories"
  • World Hypertension Day
  • International Day of Families
  • Let the rule of law prevail
  • When donation becomes obligatory demand
  • Tourism of Manipur through Gastronomy
  • Beyond Eternity :: Poem
  • Patriarch subjugation on women
  • Celebrate Manipuri Cinema shine at Cannes
  • Training on cultivation of various mushroom
  • Transformative impact of Ayurveda & Yoga
  • War for over a year : Delhi is answerable
  • The logic behind illogical chargesheet
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Regarding Human Rights Situation in Manipur
  • World Hypertension Day 2024
  • Article 355 of Constitution of India #3
  • Disinformation campaign touba thengnarey
  • Deeply mourn the demise of Oja Biren Lamba
  • Water Mimosa for sustainable development
  • Publicity drives of educational institutions
  • ED's revolutionary move!!!
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #2: Gallery
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • AISSE 2024 Exam Result- RKM Imphal
  • Gold, new world currency !
  • Milk for hair and skin
  • Of illegal immigrants & the larger picture
  • The missive from Kamjong
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • World Bamboo Congress @Taiwan : Gallery
  • Aftermath of ferocious hailstorm #1 : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @ Chinga : Gallery
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • '365 Days of Chin-Kuki Aggression' : Gallery
  • Athoubasingi Numit #2 : Gallery
  • National Science Teacher workshop
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laishram Ladu Singh
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #2 : Gallery
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD