A numb feeling

There are certain incidents in life that get ineradicably branded on one’s memory. This is one such that has, with all tenacity,  clung on to my mind. It happened over two decades ago. I still remember that evening, wherein I was simply pottering around the house doing nothing. For, I had already done with my chores on that day’s agenda.

Just to pep up my mood, I decided to call on my friend, whose place was within the strolling distance of my residence. After having walked halfway, I began dithering over whether to proceed further or retrace my step back home as I saw the star-strewn sky superimposed by dark ominous clouds scudding across overhead. Additionally, I could sense a sort of sepulchral silence on the streets. That apart I had this foreboding that I may get caught in the torrential rains.

With those stray thoughts, I managed to reach my friend’s place, only to find out that she had gone out on her shopping expedition. By then, with sudden cloudburst, rains had started pounding on the roofs. My friend’s father, rather a burly man with a very amiable demeanour, offered me a seat and kept me engaged in conversation.

Harking back to his early days, he recounted his sweat and struggle in life, and the mental turmoil countered by him in his past. All these sounded like a tear-jerker flick to me and I, with dewy-eyed, hung on to every word of his with rapt attention. Then suddenly he went off at a tangent and started rhapsodising on his newly-built palatial dream-house. He informed that he had shelled out an astronomical amount on acquiring the site and expended prodigious energy in overseeing the construction work. With pride palpable in his eyes, he even flourished the picture of his house. The house truly looked a veritable architectural marvel.

By then, the rains had stopped. After bidding au revoir to my friend’s father, I came sauntering back home. And lo! The next day, I was indeed stumped by the staggering news that my friend’s father was no more. The previous night, he had succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest. He had built an exquisite abode for himself, but couldn’t even live till its house-warming function, which was slated two weeks later.

At that moment, I learnt a valuable lesson in life. Though money/wealth are of paramount importance, still they aren’t the be-all and end-all in one’s life. After all, of what use is that wealth, if it can’t bestow a person with adequately long life, or save him from the diabolical clutches of death?

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