My father was always very fond of his sister . He spoke of her with a lot of affection always, sharing stories of their childhood. Unfortunately I have no memories of her. She died when I was 4. In tragic circumstances that have no relevance here, she committed suicide. By setting herself on fire. What a horrific and painful end!
When my grandfather died a year later it was often whispered among many relatives that they felt her presence there. Growing up, I heard several other stories of the sort and never paid any mind.
It was the afternoon of the 13th of May 1992, I was 21 and my father was dying of cancer. I was alone in the room with him, I cannot now remember where the others were or even if anyone else was home. The room had been darkened, just the way he liked it, the windows pulled shut and the curtains drawn. I was just sitting there, he had had his lunch, my chattering had ceased and I was waiting for him to fall asleep.
Suddenly he sat up in the dim light. He pointed to the foot of the bed. “Didi?” He asked, telling me, “Didi’s here.” I squinted in the half light and said there was no one there. But my dad wasn’t listening to me. I could not hide the quaver in my voice. Even though it was summer, the room felt that much colder. And I swear to this day that at that point of time I would not have ventured to that corner of the room for all the wealth in the world. I quietly told my father to sleep and quickly left the room.
My father died later that day.
Dare I say, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.