‘Hi Lulu’ I called out my parrot who was perched on the mango tree.
He gave me a queer look. ‘What’s the matter my friend?’ Lulu asked. ‘No cheer in your tone! What’s the thing, huh?’
‘I was thinking about what Dr. Mahesh Deshmukh said today when he addressed our meeting. He talked about the three top regrets people on the death-bed had.’ I replied.
‘So what were the three top regrets?’
‘The first was ‘I did not spend enough time with people I loved’’; the second was ‘I did not do work that I really enjoyed.’
‘Hmmm……makes sense; and what was the third?’ Lulu asked.
‘It was ‘I did not make a difference.’’’
‘Sounds true instinctively. But what made you sad? Where have the smile and cheer gone?’ as he hopped on my shoulder from the mango tree.
‘I told you I was thinking about it.’
‘Man, I am asking why you were feeling whatever you were feeling. You are answering what you are thinking. Do you realise we are on different planes?’
‘Parrots are learning to question men like lawyers. Be that as it may…I was feeling bad because I remembered an incident.’
‘Was it about your father? I think you had mentioned to me it once. Can’t recall it now. What was it?’ Lulu asked.
‘Yes, you have a good memory. My father was about to leave for his surgery at the Tata Cancer Hospital; his operation was scheduled in the coming days.’
‘I had an urge to touch his feet as he stood at the door, looked at me and smiled nervously. I wanted to give him a tight hug!’
‘Very natural for a son to feel.’
‘But I did not do anything like that….restraint was what the grown up men showed, not emotions! At least that is how I had thought always.’
‘And he never returned!’ Lulu said.
‘Yes Lulu. He never returned, he died in the hospital of a sudden cardiac arrest.’
‘Hmmm……Come on, wipe off your tears. I know how you feel. You refrained from reaching out, communicating with your father. And with his sudden death, you realised that you did not do what you really felt. Moreover you also felt that you could not ever make it up right?’
‘Right! And I feel guilty about it.’
‘What is it that you wanted to tell your father?’
‘I really don’t know!’
‘You mean you did not know what you wanted to tell your father but just wanted to give him a hug? What for?’
‘May be I had realised that I may not see him again. Or perhaps I felt that the worst must not happen…..it is confusing, Lulu. I really can’t say why I wanted to do that.’
‘Hmmm….Let me think….I feel that there is no need to understand the reason. You just wanted to express something,,, may be your deep fear of losing him… but why can’t we let ourselves be just guided by feelings sometimes?’
‘I don’t know, Lulu. That is not how men are taught to behave. Or perhaps that is not how they are supposed to behave.’
‘You were not authentic, my friend. You were not authentic! When you should have behaved like a good son, you behaved as if you were a stranger to your father. That is hurting you. A bad experience indeed!’
‘One must follow his heart, what say you Lulu?’
‘You got it right!!’
‘You got it right!!’