‘Three People, Four Plates’ has been edited by Rushi Bhimani
My heart was beating rapidly. I started reading the letter.
Dearest Sid and Ved,
I hope this letter finds you in good health.
I am quite sure, that both of you might have a lot of questions. By the time you find this letter, I’ll be long gone. I just wanted to let both of you know, that I loved you dearly. The fact that I had to part ways killed me a little more everyday. I wanted to hold you both close to my chest and pray for all my worry to go away, but that was impossible. Just remember, not a day went by where I did not miss you dearly. I might not have been there with you, but I am still beside you, empowering, supporting, guarding you at every little step. Not a day has gone by, when I did not miss you all.
I believe you deserve all the answers, so here is the truth…
Few years ago I found out that I had pancreatic cancer, but it was of an advanced stage. After consulting a lot of doctors, final word was that I had just a few months to spare. It shattered me. Every single day I tried to tell you people, but I could not. I could never muster up the courage to let you in on that. The doctors had made it clear that chemotherapy would grant me a few extra months. I did not want you to see me in a miserable state. How could I?
Because your dad was busy with work, he did not notice my weakness. Therefore, one night—my last night with you—I told him everything. Your dad, who is one of the most logical people you would ever come across decided to hold on to hope. The fight, I know you heard, was the disagreement. He wanted to tell you both and make me go through that ordeal. Hence, I left. In the spur of the moment, in the middle of the night.
I knew he had an ego, he wouldn’t start looking for me immediately. I took a bus to Rajkot and lived with a school friend you dad did not know about. But after a month my condition started getting worse and I planned to return. But I could not, the fear of your dejected faces and hatred stopped me. That is when I started living with Antara.
Every day, till my last day, I prayed for your health. Every day I stood by the building near your school, just to have a glance. I wanted to run to you, but I am sorry, I could not.
Unfortunately, I am writing this on my death bed. I am a little too weak to come meet you. Guess, I should have eaten those almonds you people insisted or those gigantic slices of pizza. Seriously, I hope you sillies have cut down on those, they are very unhealthy.
Jeez…here I go again.
I am getting a little tired and as you read, my hand writing is getting worse. And I will make sure I take those calligraphy classes with you, in my next life. Always remember that I love you both so dearly that even when I am gone I will look after you. And boys, look after your father. He appears to be a tough nut, but can really use a tight hug or two at times.
I need you to promise me, that whenever you think of me you would do that with a smile. A healthy loud me. Or else my departure would go in vain.
Grow up to be the wonderful men I want you to, I know you would.
I miss you and I love you. God knows, I do. Take care, always. Remember, I am always around. .
Lots of love,
P.S. Give it to dad, he’ll keep it safe.
I clutched the letter and the envelope close to my chest as I sobbed uncontrollably. Somehow, I hated myself for all those moments I wished something bad for her. Oh my, my pretty overprotective mom! Only if she knew we were always going to love her, no matter what.
I could not move, I tried but failed miserably. She loved us, she did. All I needed to know.
I decided it was time now, that’s when I felt something else. There was her ring, inside the envelope. I got up and ran towards home. As I entered dad was making omelette for dinner. I rushed towards him and gave him a hug. He was a little confused but hugged me back, anyway. Then I sat him down and told him everything. He cried; he cried like a baby. I gave him a bear hug and joined in. I am so glad the Ved was not here.
We decided the best thing would be if we do not tell him about it, not yet. In stead, we will tell him the more important fact, i.e. she loves him and misses him. When the time is right, we will tell him. Until that time comes I want him to hold on to the love and hope.
3 months later
Yes, we still continue to put that fourth plate out on the table because our hearts know that is what she would have done too.
To read more by the author of Three People, Four Plates Part IV, click here.