It was my father’s body.
We had lost him in a hit and run road accident. An SUV driven by an intoxicated person suddenly veered off its trajectory and rammed into my father’s 5′10 burly body. However strong and well built a human body may be, but it’s no match for a metal machine which is even more dangerous when driven at speed.
Various junctures of his body bleeded profusely for a long time before the patrolling police Jeep caught a sight of him. Alas, by then it was too late. More bones in his body had broken into pieces, than I could even have imagined. His frontal lobe had swollen leading to a bulge in the front of his head.
My beloved father who always loved to wear free clothes, which would allow ventilation and breeze to pass through every inch of his body, was then tightly wrapped into a plastic and then a white cloth after he had been washed with certain chemicals to avoid odour. The person who never liked closed doors, windows or dark avenues, was then put in a dark wooden casket and packed.
The casket was wrapped in white cloth when it was brought to our home. While everyone had been mushrooming around to get a last glimpse of him, I stood right there with a blank vacuous mind. Tears dripped down my cheeks as I tried to hold myself together. I did not have the strength to see my hero in such dire state, but my heart was not prepared to let him go without one last sight.
To some extent, I was still not convinced that he had left. I thought maybe when we opened the casket, it would be some other person. Maybe somehow, he would be alive and elsewhere. Helping a bunch of other males of the house, I opened the casket. There was a layer of covering in green plastic wrapped around the body. I took off the plastic from his face and there he was. My horrors had come alive as my faith effaced from my mind.
I had always seen him active and agile. He would be laughing, talking, crying or doing whatever, but was always moving. His face always had expressions that spoke a thousand words. But, not this time. I could not remember a single instance when his face seemed so unwavering & pallid. I don’t exactly remember what thoughts deluged my head at that moment, but I was definitely no more able to make a single muscle move.
My maternal uncle tried to pull me up. But, apparently my legs did not have the strength to bear my weight at that moment so I fell onto the ground next to him. His body seemed much colder than I had felt ever before. His eyes won’t move, neither would his lips. The ever jolly personality I revered as my indomitable hero lied there unmoving and I could do nothing to wake him up from the unending sleep.
And, that was the day when I had touched my beloved Papa for the last time. Everytime I touched his skin, I wished that his body would move all of a sudden. I wished he would open his eyes all of a sudden. I wished he would smile. I just wanted a small movement or a gesture. It was the first time that I had yearned for a miracle. But, he was already gone.