I don’t actually remember the exact timeframe of this event, but this is my earliest memory of having an orange.
We were traveling on a train. Papa was taking us to my maternal grandparent’s place. I was about 3-4 years old. My parents made sure that they marry so far apart from their native places that we won’t be able to see or meet my ‘Naani’ and ‘Daadi’ for longer intervals.
The train came to a halt at a small station, the stop was scheduled for only a couple of minutes. He quickly checked with us whether we wanted to have anything and I ended up blurting ‘Kuch bhi chalega’ (anything would do). He knew I was hungry and this was my usual reply.
Papa got us some oranges from a local vendor who was running along the railway track. I had earlier seen what oranges looked like but didn’t remember how it tasted back then.
He peeled and started handing me and my sister slices one after the other. I didn’t know that oranges contained seeds…those too real bitter ones. For a three-year-old they were bitter. Without giving a second thought I picked one up from his hand and started chewing it. In the beginning, I was happy with the tangy taste and kept on chewing further till a seed got caught between my jaws. The moment the bitterness hit my taste buds I spat the orange slice out through the window.
Papa understood what the issue was. He said, “Don’t worry. From the next one onwards instead of chewing just try to suck on them as you do with candies and when you feel the sweetness is gone hand me over the pulp.”
I did as he said. I took the next one and when I reached the pulp I handed it over to him. The fellow passengers, my mom and sister and even me were shocked at what he did next. He took the pulp and he ate it. I know you would get that yucky feeling. But for me, that was the beauty of his soul. Since then every time the father-son duo would have oranges, I would gladly sit on his shoulders and keep feeding him pulp, slice after slice and he would be more than happy doing it.
Now when I look back I realize, this is what he did throughout our lives till the time he was there. He always made sure that we get the sweetest part of everything, while continuously learning, and kept the difficult messy part for himself.
It was during a flight from Delhi to Bhubaneshwar that he suffered a brain stroke. By the time the flight landed and he was taken to a hospital, he was already unconscious. He was on a ventilator for the next seven days. Honestly, I don’t even know the exact moment when he actually left for heavenly abode in those seven days. In all the unfairness of life, the only thing that life can do is…it should give time to say a proper goodbye. I will forever have to live with this feeling…this unfillable void. No matter how many times people say move on…it’s just impossible. He took a part of me with him at that moment or maybe that part is still stuck there waiting for him to get up.
He always wanted me to pursue my passion and I guess I became a writer so that I could write about him… So that I leave my words in the universe… That whenever he comes back in any form… He touches these words and knows… His son left them for him… He might not remember the beginning or the end but at that very moment, he would remember all…All about me…All about Us…All about those oranges and all about that pulp.
There is another one about him and me and cream rolls. But that is for some other time. Go talk to your loved ones. You never know how much time they or you have got. Is there anything you want to say to them…then now is the right time. No time is the right time and every time is the right time. Don’t wait for death to dawn on and tell you that it’s already too late.
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
“I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa – #MyFriendAlexa.”
I would love to hear your feedback on this JokerTale. Do share in the comments section. You can read other JokerTales here.