I heard the wailing first. Of a man. I was not surprised. I hear it often. One disadvantage of staying near a hospital. Some patients die. Pass on. Leaving their loved ones behind. It hurts a lot. Some try to bottle it all up, at least, while in public. Others cannot.
At times, I do the least that I can do. Ask them if they are OK. Listen to their loss. Offer my sympathies. Offer a bottle of water. To drink. To wash their face. Whatever. I always feel helpless. Yet connected to them in one way. Been there, felt that.
Coming back to today, I went out to find out who it was. A young man. Sitting near my car just outside my home. Calling up a few people on his mobile phone. All the while sobbing away. I don’t know if the people that he talked to understood him through his sobbing. He felt my presence. Our eyes met. He got up. I asked him if he was OK. He told me that his brother had passed away. I offered my sympathy for his loss. I enquired whether this happened at the nursing home nearby. He said that it had happened in a village near Hassan. His brother was a farmer. He was working on his land, complained of stomach ache, and a few hours later was no more. Has young kids.
The young man is working here in Bangalore. Field work is what he said. I offered him water. He had some. Thanked me. I offered to help in any way I could. He said no. And moved on. Two young girls passing by watched with curiosity. Why was this man crying?
Here is what I could not say to him. Dear Stranger – May the Lord give strength and courage to bear this great loss. For you. Your family.