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The name/letters “HDFC” in the name/logo of the company belongs to Housing Development Finance Corporation Limited (“ HDFC Limited”) and is used by HDFC life under an agreement entered into with HDFC Limited. ARN: EC/09/2018/11857
This coming July18, Salma Shafeeq Ghori completes 17 years without her husband Major Shafeeq Khan Ghori. It was her son's first day at school. She had been visiting family and they had just come back home when a group of Army men knocked on the door. They had been trying to reach her the whole day with the news. The first two days, they said his condition was critical. “It was a shock for my father-in-law and my little one who did not understand what was happening around him. Nobody wanted to believe it was him and finally after two days of wait and agony, he was brought home for a final farewell with due military honours,” Salma recollects. Salma and Shafeeq had a happy life together for 10 years, till 2001. With two beautiful children, Salma says that she didn't know what sorrow was. The children grew up and got busy with school, but she felt a void that nothing could fill. This changed when she made friends with Subhashini Vasanth, who ran the Vasanthratna Foundation for Arts. Vasanthratna Foundation helps the families of Army martyrs heal through arts and vocational activities. “While looking after the families of martyrs, understanding their sorrow and pain, I realised that I was not the only one who was suffering. So many of them had it much worse than me. Spending time with these women and empathising with them has helped me overcome my own pain,” says Salma.
Alisha lost her brother when she was very little but has few vivid memories of him till date She writes: "Memory is like a paradox. Some moments of the past are worth cherishing and some best forgotten. When I remember the past , my memory is filled with a whirlwind of emotions ; of cheerfulness, joy, desires, angst, anguish & trauma . Way back in 1991, when I was just about four years old, our lives turned upside down. My only brother, Asif who was about 11 years old went missing while on his boarding school trip. Our lives were about to be shattered and the effects would last till this day. Four long dreadful days of endless searching ended with retrieving of bodies of two young boys who drowned while on their football practice outside the school premises. Although only four, I had shared some precious moments with my brother . I remember the times we played , the times we danced to our favourite tunes and somehow the last time I saw him at his school. Being a child myself, I remember clearly the long wait to see my brother back and bidding him goodbye one last time. However , my pleas were’t answered and for better because now I remember him the way I saw him the last time I met him at his school full of life and energy. As time passed, I experienced this terrible silence and void in a house that had two young girls growing up. My older sister was detached and spent time alone while my parents would remain quiet just staring at blank walls. Nobody was ready to talk about the pain . As far as I was concerned, I decided to excuse them and allowed them their time to grief. I was mostly spending time by myself but being a child I had to make it all about me . For a short duration, I believed that nobody cared about me and had turned into a rebellious kid. I am thankful to have come across some very loving and caring people who helped me move on and made me understand life better . Although, his absence was felt while growing up at every occasion , it was when I watched a movie that triggered my old memories. I was now a young woman of 25 and wanted all the answers. I wanted to basically get a closure. Very painful and difficult thoughts clouded my mind and I started going back to whatever memorabilia we had of my brother for answers. In the whole process, I learnt some very important things about living life. In the very short span of my bother’s life, he was able to leave a great impact on everybody he came across and till today people remember him fondly. Death is inevitable and certain and it is all about living well while we are alive. However, the very thing that I learnt early as a child from this terrible loss was to relate to others and have compassion. We are all the same and share the same joys and pains in life. It is the ability to relate to one another and be compassionate that makes us Humans. I have learnt that what seemed to have bothered me was the separation . Today, I know my dear brother has passed on to a better life and that his spirit is always present with us."
Debarati lost her father at the age of 54 on 25th September 2017. She writes, "Still fresh, but I want to share this story, of memory, pain and then the strength it gives you. Dad, a very successful father, husband and professional had a kidney failure suddenly in 2016 June. 5 months of dialysis and then finally a transplant. My mother gave her kidney. Had an extremely critical operation but to our surprise, had one of the most successful transplants in that year. Turned healthy and hearty. The docs said he was here to stay. 14th September, 2 days before his birthday, had a slight fever. We went to the doctor, the doctor said he is fine. Just routine.16th September, his birthday. 18th September, sudden panting and gets admitted. 25th he lost his battle to a respiratory distress. That is that. I joined back work in 5 days, working better than ever, went to a trip that I had planned, basically shifted to the routine.That’s what he would have wanted. The events are long and in just 4 months, which seem longer than they should , the family that is left has learnt to live ,smile and get back to work again. And it is all really possible because of his memories."
Devyani was 19, studying in Mangalore, when one day she got a call from her sister who informed her that their dad had passed away. She says, "It took me a year or so understand what life without a father is going to be like. I was more aware about my responsibilities. I was growing. I was only coping with one loss when the worst nightmare of my life came true. I remember I was in a training at work, in Bangalore. I got a message from my friend in Pune who said my mom wasn't answering her phone all morning. Knowing my mom, I knew at that instant that something was wrong. She would always wake up by 7. And she'd always drop a message in the morning. That day she hadn't. I panicked and asked every friend of mine to rush to my house. They thought I was over reacting, but went anyway. I just knew that it was too late. My gut feeling told me. The friend who messaged me, reached there first and saw that my mum had collapsed to the ground. She had slipped into a coma. 15 days later she passed away. It's been 2 years, I still can't digest the fact that she's not around. I still have days where I feel like calling her and talking to her! There's no day that I don't think of my parents and feel like such a unfortunate person. I dread things like my wedding day, cause I can only picture myself breaking down at the mantap cause the two most important people of my life are there on the most important day of my life. It never gets better. You just get used to the pain. I found my relief in travelling. So I started going to more places. I did a solo trip to Himachal. And I did about 10 trips in 2017 - Nepal, Goa, Masinagudi, Meghalaya, Pondicherry being some or them. It's the only thing that keeps me sane."
Nandini lost her mother in 2014 when she was 28. Her mother died waiting for a liver transplant, and it was during her time of struggle they were first made aware of the abysmal conditions of organ donation in India. As a family, they often felt that, they could have done so much more for her. She was far too young and far too spirited and went too soon. So much more to live and give to the world. She writes about her mom, "Usually, I'm quite articulate - but everything I type seems too trite. My mother was beautiful, creative, warm and inspiring - but I think most of us feel this way about our mothers. Mine was a teacher - she taught English and was loved by her colleagues and students alike. We'd talk about literature and films, we'd travel together often. She loved adventures and roller coasters and horror movies. She was a fantastic cook, and I feel like so many of her beautiful recipes are now lost forever - like the shutting down of your favourite restaurant. Our home in Calcutta remains almost exactly as she left it in 2014 - her desk, her books, her computer - dusted diligently every day - as if waiting for her to come back any moment and start working. We still haven't parted ways with some of her clothes. When I go home, I wear her old nighties and salwaar kameezes, and feel closer to her somehow. She comes to us in our dreams, in our thoughts very often. Painful memories of her illness and demise make way for sweeter ones. Still, there are days, when it hits you like a tsunami - on good days, or on sick days, when you almost forget that she's no longer just a phone call away. And you remember all over again. Her battle with liver disease was spirited. She never gave up hope. Neither did we, till the very last moment. I think as a family we tried our best - but there are still days when we feel we could have done more. The foundation, was solely built to raise awareness and to facilitate changes in the way organ donation works in India.
Sameenn lost her best friend/college room mate/ psuedo mother on 31st March 2016 to a car accident which took her whole family of four. Remembering her friend, she writes, "Its going to be two years since and sometimes I feel like I just saw her yesterday. For two years i college, she was literally the first face I saw in the morning and the last when I slept. I don't know why I'm writing this, or if this makes sense. But then her going away didn't make sense. How I saw her one day before the accident and then had to deal with never seeing her again. I still have this mug of hers, which she loved in college and used everyday. She had given that mug to me, when we all were leaving home for holidays because she couldn't fit it in her already bloated suitcase. She made me promise not to forget it once I came back to hostel, which i of course didn't, but I had no one to give it too. I kept it on my table in Hostel all of my third year being reminded of the Psychology major dream we had dreamt together, and I was living alone. Looking at it and thinking what she would have said when ever I was in a mess or boy troubles. That mug has travelled with me home and it always reminds me of her, her laugh, her habits, her attempts of becoming healthy, nights spent talking about life, love and heartbreak all seen and experienced by that one mug. I dont think I'll ever accept that she is gone. Its buried somewhere in my unconscious mind never wanting to come out. I don't think about never seeing her again, because life just feels more difficult then. I hope I do see her again, in some way or the other."
Shreya is 19 years old and lost her mother when she was 14, on the first day of her high school. She writes a note for her mother: "Dear ma, I always regretted not meeting you for the last time and not saying goodbye... but maybe it was a good thing because I don’t want to say goodbye to you ever. Let me pretend that I celebrated my 18th birthday with you, let me pretend that you bought me ice cream when my boyfriend broke up with me, let me pretend that you were beside me when i got into the college i wanted, please just let me pretend that i grew up normally."
Veronica lost her Mother about 6 years ago. She says, "My mother was my rock, my strength, my weakness, my best friend. She had me at a young age of 21. She passed away 2 days after she turned 43. She was battling with cancer for the last 15months of her life. Amazingly charismatic, full of energy, and often mistaken for my sister, more so with the behaviour than just the looks. I think she often lived her dreams through me. And while after her passing away in my therapy sessions i learnt how 'enmeshed' our relationship was, i had no reason to think that our closeness can ever be too much. I often think that most indians (especially daughters) are as close to their mothers as i was, the only thing is it is hardly a problem because they most likely would lose their mother much later in life than when i did at the age of 21. It has been a love-hate relationship with my mother post her passing away. I realised how much she meant to me, but i also realised how much i hadnt become my own person because of her benevolent influence. I have often questioned the universe for it's decision to take away so something so precious from me for me to find myself. And yet, more often than not, i also end up finding herself in me. It took me years to come to terms with her absence, why did it have to be this way, i'd only know on qayamat ke din."