Angels of Life

Angels of Life

Sam  was  a  old  friend  and  for  the  last  fifteen years  or  so  we  were  playing golf   in  the  veteran squad  in  our  golf  course.. Today  he  passed  away after  a  brief illness. At   eighty five he was still   in green of health and till  two  month back we  were playing regularly. He  had  two children and  both  had  settled  in US. His  wife  had  passed away some years  back so  he  was  staying  alone  in  his bungalow..   But in spite of being   alone   he  was    leading a  satisfied life.  He  often  said  I wish  to  die  golfing and he hailed  the  old man’s enthusiasm. He  was  the  talk  of  the  golf course. During  tournaments he  was always  present  on  time  and  played  his  five  holes  slowly  and  steadily. In  the  evening  cocktails, which followed each tournament of the golf course   he  would  present himself most  immaculately  dressed  ,  take  his  drink  or  two  and  chat  with young and  old  at  ease. Every one  wished  him  hundred  years  of  happy golfing.

He  was  scared of only one thing;  to  be sick and be   bedridden . He wanted  to  pass away playing  golf. But  life  had  other  plans for  him.  Two  months  back  he  was  detected   with  some  innocuous  ailment of  stomach. I  spoke  to  him and  he  assured  me  that  he  was  fine  and  would  be  back on  the  course  in  three or  four  days. But  the  medicos  had  different  plans  for him. They  had  detected  something serious; invasion  of  cancerous  cells  in  pancreas, a  vital enzyme  producing  gland. The  treatment  was to  be a  long  drawn  one  which  not  only took  him  to  the  hospital  bed  but  drained  him  of  all  his  energy  and  the  zest  to  live. Once  in  the  hospital  he  told  me  he  wanted  to  go,   he  said  he  had  seen enough  and  everything. What more  is  there to see? “I   do  not  wish  to  explore  the   hospital  and  the toxic things  they call  medicines.” He  said. He had  almost refused  treatment  but  the  family  members wanted  it to  continue. He  was  too  weak to  even  resist.

“Why  the  doctors  want  to  give  me pain and  keep me  alive?” he lamented. But no one would listen.    “Let  the  angel  of  death come…to  me now” he  would  whisper softly . It  was then  it  dawned  on  me  why  the messenger  of  death is   called  the  angel of  death. At  some  stage in life,   just living has  no  meaning . Sam  knew that  death was imminent and he   did  not  want  it  to  be  dragged…  but  it  did.

He  was  suffering  .

The  angel  of  death  as  not  coming.

He  was  yearning for it, longings and wait was becoming unbearable.

Being  alive  was  more painful both  physically and  mentally. When  one  is  prepared  to  die   being  alive  is a  punishment. Each  breath is a   agony beyond comprehension  of  anybody.  Every day   in  the  last  two months  Sam had   waited  for  the  angel of  death to visit him  but  instead  he found  Doctors  and  nurses  doting on him. Twice a day they would come and  pierce  him  with new  medicines. He  called  them  the  demons  of  life. He  never  waited for  them instead he  hated them.  He  waited only   for  the  angel  of  death  which  would  finally relieve him  of  this  body  which  had  become craggy .  His  body  no longer happily housed his soul. The  soul  too had  already  detached  itself  from the  body . But  there  was  no  way he could  to  pull  it  away.  Another  day arose. He  found  me  by  his  side saying  some  soothing  words.  Putting  water  in  his  drying  mouth.  He  closed  his eyes. A  tear  trickled  down his  eyes. “Please  call  him  today” his lips  mumbled. I  closed my  eyes  and  prayed  for my  soulful  friend.  He  refused  the  next  spoon  of  water. I  insisted “Your refusal  will  not  goad  the angel to  come early,  Sam, rather  it  will  augment  your troubles”.

He  was  silent.

But  after a  while, his  throat went  dry  and  gasped  for  breath. I extended the spoon  of  water again. He took  it , for  he knew  he  needed it. Another tear  rolled  down. I put on some prayer  music  on  my  mobile and  his  tears stopped.     The  duty in the hospital  changed  and    the  next  doctor  on duty  injected  some  relaxation  drugs   which  put  him  into  a  comfortable  sleep.

I  went  out  for  some  chores  knowing well  that  this  will  keep  him asleep  for  at  least  four  hours.

His  son and  daughter  had  both  come down  from US for  10 days  and had already   gone  back. He did not have   much  attachment  left  with  them. He  almost ordered  then  to  go  back  and  lead  a happy  life. They  were both  good  children  and  wanted  to  take  him  along  much earlier but  he  wanted  to  be  independent  and  not  a  burden  on  anyone. After they  left  he  was more at ease. He  did  not  want  his  children  to  see his  misery.

When  he woke  up  I was  back on  my  seat  beside  him..

He  opened  his eyes  momentarily  and  smiled. As  if  he  had  seen a  nice  dream. This  was the first  smile  I  had  seen in his  last  two months  in  hospital.  His  face suddenly radiated with  a  glow. He closed  his  eyes after a  minute,  as  if  he  was  having  an encore of the  dream .  He smiled again, probably  the  dream had  re-commenced.

“He  has come. He has come” he  suddenly muttered.

“Who  has  come , Sam?” I said, slowly shaking  his  arm.

But  instead of  answering me  his  head slowly titled to one side. He  became still. The  angel  had graced  him finally. The  demons  of  life  could  not  hold  on  to  their clutches  anymore. The  angel  lifted  him into  his silky hands  and  carried  him into  the  clouds  and  left  the old body to  decay  and  drench  back  into  the  earth  from where  it  had emanated.


Mohinder Pal Singh  is author of book- 31 December 2078

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