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Aditi had a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew what it was. It meant that something was wrong , seriously wrong. She remembered when she had felt it for the first time, ten years back. It was her son Ashwin’s naming ceremony. Her parents had come down from Mumbai the previous night. She could sense that her Papa was not well but like always he said he was fine. Like always, he didn’t want to trouble anyone. She had been busy with the guests and the rituals and then just like that in the blink of an eye it was evening; time for them to leave. Papa looked unwell but they had decided to leave anyway. She had bid them farewell with tears in her eyes. She hadn’t been able to look after her Papa nor had she found time to sit and chat with her Mom.

Later in the night, it must have been about two, she woke up suddenly. There was this sense of fear and intense love all rolled into one. She felt a deep sinking in the pit of her stomach and it was Papa’s face she saw in her mind’s eye. She was restless and couldn’t sleep. Her parents were to reach Mumbai in the morning and she kept waiting for the phone to ring. At five her brother called to say that they had reached and he was taking Papa directly to the hospital. She had no words. She hadn’t forgiven herself till date for letting them leave like that. Later she got to know that all was well but the doctor had said that they had almost lost Papa that day.

She always wondered why she had woken up that night. There are these invisible threads that bind your heart to your loved ones and you can feel them in times of intense love or loss. That’s the explanation she gave herself and she believed in it and she had subconsciously looked for that feeling since then. And now, after so many years she felt that same intense fear and love together. Her mind tried to analyse the reasons behind it; this sense of déjà vu.

She recalled that she had come to Mumbai two days ago to visit her parents. It was not her planned yearly visit. The thought that she must see her Papa came to her one day and it just wouldn’t go away. She had to see them as if it was a compulsion and so she had decided on a quick trip, alone. Her brother was to pick her up at the bus stand. She wondered where he was. She couldn’t remember meeting him. It was puzzling, she couldn’t remember reaching home. It was as if she was dreaming and there was that familiar feeling, again. Why? she wondered. She opened her eyes and saw her brother. In fact, all were there, her mom, her husband, her Ashwin, and her Papa with tears in his eyes. All together, all smiling with teary eyes, Yes! she thought, she was definitely dreaming, but then she heard an unfamiliar beep and the swoosh of machines. She looked around and she realized it was a hospital room.

Suddenly it dawned upon her and all the pieces of the puzzle fit. She also felt the intense fear slowly going away and relief taking its place. All her loved ones were safe. She heard the doctor’s words, “we are doing our best.” and she closed her eyes with a faint smile on her lips.


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