The Journey & Lessons from my Fathers Lost Battle with COVID-19 : Pandit Bhag Singh
Who knew that May 4th, 2021, aka as the ‘Star Wars’ Day would become a day when we will lose our brightest and most important ‘Star’ in the “War” against COVID-19.
It was on this unfateful day that we lost our inspiring and loving father, Pandit Bhag Singh Ji after a long and hard-fought battle against the dreaded coronavirus.
The situation reminds me of the irony of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” .
In our context, it was like Oxygen was all around in the environment but not good enough for serious COVID-19 patients like my Father.
Thousands of well-wishers genuinely wanted to help and be there but despite all good intentions, they were not able to help beyond a point.
My father was a firm propellent of the law of Karma , science , social welfare and spirituality.
He used to always tell me:
“Learn to accept the truth” / “सच को स्वीकार करना सीखो”
“Do your duty without worrying about the results” / “कर्म किये जा फल की चिंता मत कर!”
I received hundreds of calls and thousands of messages from all our well-wishers but I was not in the mental state to take the calls or revert to the messages.
Things became worse when I was also diagnosed with COVID-19 a day after completing the last rites of my father .
I was quarantined in my own home and was not able to provide a shoulder to cry on to my mother and sister. Due to COVID Restrictions, we had to go through the most difficult period of our life mostly alone.
My father used to say, “Wise men do not fear death“ / “ज्ञानी लोग मौत का गम नहीं करते!” .
My father was an incredibly strong man who believed in accepting and facing the truth no matter how difficult it was. I wish, I was strong and wise enough to accept this irreversible loss.
I will still try to give my best and live up to his expectations and key philosophies in Life.
This article is my humble attempt to encompass our entire journey along with some of the key lessons that might be helpful for others .
The Origin :
It was the 14th of April 2021, and I was going out for some work when I saw my father sleeping. It was a little unusual for him to sleep during the morning as he was the first person to wake up generally around 5 am. I went to kiss his head, but as soon as I touched his forehead, it was unusually hot.
Initially, I thought that he just came out after sitting in the sun and that’s why his body temperature was higher than normal. But it seemed strangely different. I asked my father if he was ok. He said he was fine.
I had my doubts, so I checked his temperature checked via a thermometer. The thermometer read a little above 100. We gave him Paracetamol and wrapped him with a blanket.
Since Corona was spreading like wildfire, I checked with him if he had any other symptoms. He said no. Nothing but fever.
My father was an independent man who lived a very disciplined life. He practised yoga and pranayama each day and kept himself fit and healthy. My father believed that he was strong and he could heal himself with the strength that he gained through the many years of practice of Yoga and Pranayama.
I carry the same belief that inculcating Yoga and Pranayama in our lifestyle helps us reap great physical and mental benefits. Yet, as we all are aware, there are many ailments that require much more than that to heal.
The Journey & Lessons from my Father’s Lost Battle with COVID-19
Lesson 1 “Show Pain“ :
If you are suffering in any way, always let your loved ones know. They may or may not be able to solve it, but by keeping a problem to yourself, one day, it will reach a point that it would be much harder to solve.
My mother then started to connect the dots. She told us, the other day, my father got ready in his regular ensemble of a suit and tie to visit my sister. Contrary to his usual behaviour, he fell asleep in the suit itself while awaiting the cab. He was sleeping more than usual lately.
Lesson 2 “A stitch in time saves Nine“
My father was a person of habit and rituals. In general, we all are. These habits are most closely known to the people closest to us. We should never ignore the visible changes in the regular behavior of our closed ones. Sometimes these changes could be the initial signs of something much serious which lays ahead. So there is no harm in being extra cautious in the process we might come across some false alarms but it is any day better than missing the true alarms.
We got multiple tests done to check his overall health as well as to understand the type of fever if any. The reports were more or less normal. According to some of the doctors in the friends and family, the reports were very good for his age i.e. 80. My brother Dr Satwik helped us with the reports and medication for minor liver-related parameters. We knew that he kept a very healthy lifestyle and probably that was paying the dividend.
It was a sense of relief for us .
We closely monitored his health for the next few days. My father did not share any other problem baring the fever, which ranged from 99-101. No breathing problem. No pain.
My father had got a dose of the Covishield vaccine around a month back, so we thought that this might be a normal seasonal flu or viral.
Lesson 3 “ Vaccination is not enough “
Just because someone is vaccinated does not mean he or she would not get COVID-19. Although we were very careful and our parents used to wear both masks and gloves while going out. Maybe it was just one time that we missed wearing the gloves or the mask was not worn properly. One small mistake can cost us heavy.
The situation continued for almost a week. We didn’t see any significant increase in the temperature but the fever was not getting over. In general 5-7 days was good enough a period to recover.
Meanwhile, we were trying to get the RT-PCR test done for both my parents, but all Corona testing facilities were choked those days. With great difficulty, we managed to get a slot for a home sample collection.
They said that due to the peak in cases and tests the reports will take 3 days to come.
On 20th night my father started to have some trouble in breathing. On checking his Spo2 levels we found out that his level had dropped to 82.
Lesson 4 :
Never buy an oximeter or medical equipment that are not from a trusted brand.
We had an Oximeter (Chinese). They were the only ones available at that time.
Later on, we realized that these equipments were not reliable and showed a difference of 5-7 % which is massive in such severe cases
This was alarming now. It was late at night, and o2 cylinders were the most prized possession anyone could have. Delhi NCR was flooded with COVID cases, and the odds of getting a bed or an oxygen cylinder was like winning a lottery. Multiple people were dying due to the lack of oxygen. O2 Cylinders were difficult to get even after paying large sums of money.
It was the first time we had ever been in a situation this serious. I posted across all my social media handles requesting people to help me get an o2 Cylinder for my father. I got hundreds of messages from well-wishers who shared leads or prayed for my father’s speedy recovery. I am truly grateful for their support.
Lesson 5 : Provide consumable/actionable help to the ones in need
I have seen people came out with full force to help others in need. I was amazed to see the humanity was still alive.
But one suggestion from my side is that when you are trying to help the patient or his family with O2 cylinders / Hospital Beds / Injections / Critical medicine etc please try to provide actionable/consumable help. You might provide dozens of screenshots of possible contact details. But good intentions are not enough.
Please try to understand their plight. It’s difficult to manage the patient and do cold calls together. The situation is very very tough. One should call the leads and share the ones which are verified and needs minimum action. Otherwise, your leads will most probably be one of the hundreds, and it would be difficult to find the relevant ones from the non-relevant ones.
Fortunately, our society Parsvnath Regalia had arranged a few small cylinders along with the flowmeters that evening only. Our Landlord helped us arrange an oxygen cylinder.
We got the cylinder but did not know how to use it .
Fortunately, I got on a video call with my Sainik School Sujanpur Tira brother Dr Virender.
He helped me set up the entire home setup for the o2 cylinder over the video call.
Its not easy to understand the same if you are doing it the first time.
Lesson 6 : Learn how to setup an O2 cylinder at home. It will hardly take 5 min to understand and can be helpful in multiple situations in life.
I am sharing a video from youtube that will help you understand and setup the O2 cylinder
We started to give O2 via the cylinder periodically. We checked the Spo2 level every 5-7 minutes, and whenever it dropped below 90, we used to again give oxygen. But soon, we realized that the O2 even when taken periodically, might not last for long.
Fortunately my colleague from Loadshare Networks, Mr Snehdeep Kumar arranged another cylinder after great efforts and got it delivered at our home at 3 am in the night.
I can never forget the same. Believe me getting O2 during those days and at that time seemed next to impossible . I don’t know till what length and breadth he must have gone in order to arrange the same.
We still hadn’t recieved our father’s COVID report. We were aware that breathlessness is a major cause of concern and it seemed he had COVID.
We got our father checked by a reputed doctor nearby. He got an X ray done .
Looking at the X-Ray report, he suspected Corona and immediately prescribed relevant medicines and asked to get a CT scan till the Corona RT-PCR report arrived.
Lesson 7 : X-ray can also to a certain extent help to gauge Lungs in case RTPCR report is taking time or CT scan is not available.
Most of the CT scan nearby were either closed or already full.
We went to a nearby CT scan centre but after waiting for few hours they told us that there is a problem with the CT scan machine. They Recommended another lab. We went there and got the scan done.
We consulted multiple doctors and they suggested getting it immediately. As per protocol, we could not get our father admitted without a COVID Positive report .
Already 2 days had past since the RTPCR test for Corona.
After a lot of follow ups we got the report on 22nd April evening .
And the report showed what we feared. Rather more than what we feared.
Both mother and father were positive. Since my mother is extremely emotional and sensitive we did not tell her about her report, we still haven’t told her that she had tested positive for corona. She seemed asymptomatic and was comparatively better. We started her medical treatment and instructed her to strictly follow COVID protocols, which she religiously did.
Then all of sudden my father’s breathing problem escalated. He now needed O2 regularly and not at intervals. Fortunately Nitin Sharma my colleague from CEAT came to the rescue. He along with his cousin Amit Ji was able to get us a large Industrial O2 cylinder.
We were awake all night monitoring fathers health and Spo2 level.
Lesson 8 : Industrial O2 Cylinders can be used if we don’t get the medical grade O2 cylinders. They are generally having higher capacity and lasts long at home. They are difficult to carry but you can carry them in some cars by removing or pulling down the back seat . It helped us a lot because of its capacity .
I posted across my social handles requesting for O2 bed at any hospital nearby.
We started to search for hospitals across the region for admission. We had the RTPCR report and the o2 level was low. Multiple groups and people started to help us in our pursuit to find a hospital. From all my alma mates St Marys , Sainik School Sujanpur Tihra , GZSCET , IIFT to all my previous companies CEAT, RPG, PayU, Poku ,Blackbuck , Truxapp and Loadshare got extremely active to help us.
The Lahaul and Spiti community & the Vice President of India’s Office ( Sister’s Office ) were working very hard to help us. Our seniors, juniors, teachers, friends, clients, vendors etc everyone came together. Those who could help helped . Those who could pray, prayed.
Anshul Khandelwal from Moglix assured that they will provide O2 concentrators. My ex distributor at CEAT Kohli sir got our case pushed from senior fellows in Dubai to get a bed in Delhi. Pauneet tried hard for Dwarka. Snehdeep in Gurgaon. Mr Rajendra and Dr Nitin from Jubiliant Lifesciences assured that they will provide O2 gas cylinder from their unit at Gajraula . Parisha helped us from Jaipur. From IAS officers like Masanda to organizations like HelpAge India everyone came forward.
I am sure I would be missing multiple names those who came forward and gave us hope. Hope that we are not alone. Hope that together we still have a chance to beat this deadly disease . That hope was priceless. Believe me !
Then came 23rd April 2021 : The search for the O2 Bed
We got a confirmation from Jaypee Noida. Thanks to Dr Bhanu uncle. Me and my sister quickly loaded two O2 cylinders in the car and rushed to Jaypee Noida. One was almost 40% full and the other was 20%. When we reached there we had to wait for few hours and we were still not getting a confirmed bed.
After a lot of efforts, we realized that it looks less likely to get the same. We lost lots of O2 in cylinders in the process. We wanted to change the cylinder but the flowmeter got stuck. Thankfully Kamlesh helped in getting a flowmeter from nearby that we fixed in the other cylinder. This bought us some more lifeline.
Then from out of nowhere my super senior from GZSCET, Charanjit Sidhu sir from Tokyo came as an angel . He with the help of his family and connections got us connected to Smt. Kanta Kardam madam, Member of Parliament from the Rajya Sabha. She helped us like a godmother and arranged us a bed in GTBH near Ghaziabad.
Now the problem was that we had to rush to GTBH and we did not have much o2 left for the journey.
This was our second encounter to near death.
Fortunately, Dr Bhanu got us connected with a clinic that had some oxygen and were ready to give the steroid dose which was immediately needed for my father. We rushed there and got our father the steroid dose and O2 at their facility to increase his level so that he can manage for some time.
In the mean time Amit ji and Nitin got an Industrial Cylinder arranged at Ghaziabad.
We were 30-40 min away from Ghaziabad and we did not have any O2 left.
We had no choice left as the clinic was also having only one cylinder and we could not use it all. So with great fear we took the biggest risk of our life and rushed to Ghaziabad .
We reached just in time. We quickly changed the cylinder in the car itself. Just like a Formula 1 pitstop thanks to Kamlesh and Amit ji. We then quickly rushed to GTBH .
In this mad rush we almost forgot what our father was going through. He did not have lunch. He had some electrolyte water and fruits. My father must be tired and in pain but he never said a word. He just saw us struggling and fighting for him to survive and be fit.
When we reached GTBH we got to know that the doctors were on strike. A lot of media was accumulated to cover it. They said that very limited O2 was available.
We talked to Smt. Kanta Kardam madam and she assured that she will find a way. She was talking directly to me and treating me like her own family. I was astonished to see her humbleness and eagerness to help thanks to Charanjit Sandhu sir.
My brother Dr Satwik Sharma suggested Ambala in case we are not getting any option. We started to arrange ambulance for the same .
All of a sudden we got a confirmation from AIIMS thanks to the continuous efforts by the Vice President of India’s where my sister works. We thought that nothing can be better than AIIMS. And everyone recommended the same.
We now rushed towards AIIMS. At AIIMS we were glad to see our name in the list but it was in waiting. And we had to wait for beds. Our O2 was limited and we were not getting a hard confirmation on how much time will it take to get a bed. Talking to some of the hospital insiders we got a feeling that it will take time as they did not see many people vacating the bed anytime soon.
We had limited supply of O2. Charanjit Sandhu sir suddenly called and said that Smt. Kanta Kardam madam has helped arrange a confirmed O2 bed at Hapur. This was our last hope and we didn’t have any more o2 left to survive.
We rushed the 2 hours journey to Hapur knowing that if we don’t get the bed then probably we would not have enough to get back home .
In between our mother was left alone home. We asked her to be strong and take care of her health and take medicines and follow COVID treatment protocol seriously. We were very concerned for her health as she was extremely weak to take care of her own self or even cook. Tapasya helped us arrange for her meals every day.
We reached Devnandini Hospital late at night and thanks to everyone’s wishes, prayers and the effort of Charanjit Sandhu sir and Respected Kanta Kardam madam that we got an O2 bed.
Vinay who went to check our father’s name in the AIIMS list accompanied us to Hapur. He knew that our father was COVID Positive and it was very risky. Yet without thinking twice he accompanied us and stayed with us till the end. A rare act of kindness and humanity that we will never ever forget.
We started the treatment. The COVID ward was a no entry place. Our father had a hip joint operation few years back and had trouble in hearing due to old age. So we were somehow able to convince the medical officer to allow at least one of us to be present there to take care of him. We were allowed subject to wearing the complete PPE kit all the time.
From 24th onwards me, my sister or Vinay was there with our father 24×7 in PPE Kits taking care of his all needs. Believe me, it’s far more difficult and exhausting to wear a PPE kit as compared to what we see in the pictures. We must be grateful to the medical community for serving us in such difficult circumstances.
Deepali Vinay Arun Pandit
My grandfather was a master of Pranic Healing and Reiki. Due to the early exposure we had witnessed the positive healing impact of it. Priyanka, Kritika, Lijji Madam, her husband, Dr Betty and her team of healers were doing regular healing for my father. They lifted him and his health multiple times.
Kamlesh helped us get the medicines, Contactless Thermometer, Oximeter, reservoir O2 facemask that was not available at Hapur from Ghaziabad. He also helped arrange the Homeopathic medicines suggested by Dr Satwik that helped increase O2 level. Kamlesh helped with anything and everything I threw at him. Kamlesh just got it done. He arranged everything that was required no matter what.
Lesson 9 : Always keep an extra set of O2 mask handy. We found that the O2 mask with reservoir helped better in our case
Pauneet assured that he will arrange the Remdesiver injections if the doctor prescribes it . In our case it was not advised .
We measured Spo2 almost every 10-15 min. Saturday and Sunday was Lockdown and the battery of the oximeter was getting over . We had already changed the remote cells and no shop was open. And no chemist had a pencil cell in Hapur. Not a single chemist.
Vipin Bhaiya, whose father was admitted in the same hospital. He got an HUL distributor to provide a complete 10 pack of cells. And parallelly Amit ji helped in getting two cells from somewhere. We could now monitor him better.
Due to Lockdown, we were not getting any place to stay. Thanks to the Puneet Ji we got room to stay in a banquet hall.
Lesson 10 : The O2 needs to be humidified using distilled water and not normal water.
The humidifier needs to be refilled with water once it goes below the minimum level. We got to know later that it needs to be filled only with distilled water and not normal purified water.
Flowmeter with Humidifier Distilled water
We started to take care of both my father and Vipin Bhaiya’s father in the Ward and Vipin bhaiya used to help us with getting other stuff like medicines, food ,juice etc from the ground.
We used to see multiple people dying every day. People from all age groups. Most of the cases were due to the delay in identifying the disease and getting the patient to the hospital. Every dead body that came out of the ICU gave chills running across our spine.
We realized the importance of life now more than ever.
The whole medical system was overloaded. More patients than beds. Doctors and medical staff were exhausted by working day and night in such a physically and mentally taxing environment.
Then after two days, Vinay lost the sense of smell and taste. We were very guilty to see that. He on the other hand was saying that if I get COVID I can also get admitted and take better care of our father. His kindness and selflessness is beyond words can describe.
He still insisted and did shifts after taking proper rests in between.
We were consulting multiple doctors from our friends and family Dr Bhanu, Dr. Sushruti (Palu Didi), Dr. Sunil, Dr Vivek Bhaiya, Dr Virender and Dr Satwik were regularly helping us out with the way forward.
We had some tests and they showed an increased D dimer level. SPo2 was fluctuating from 70 -93 on regular O2 support.
My sister used to continuously chant for my father’s increased oxygen levels and complete recovery. I used to play mantras 12-14 hours a day and kept the phone near his head. Mantras like Mahamritunjaya, Deen Dayal, Tulsi, Hanuman ji, Om etc . Sometimes it felt they were magical as I saw the SPO2 increasing immediately after playing the mantras.
The presence of a higher power also helped me to be less anxious and more calm in a very difficult situation.
Lesson 11 : Peaceful music, meditation music and mantras help in keeping calm and removing negativity.
Multiple negative thoughts ran across my mind and the possibility of losing my father was very very difficult to imagine. I began to realize that I could have done much more for my parents. The guilt encompasses. You realize that no money or success is above your loved ones. It is meaningless without them.
One day our father started reading a newspaper. This seemed a good sign. I bought two fitness bands that measured SPO2. One by Oppo and the other by Amazfit. Both of them measured SPO2 on demand but that required a very stable position that is difficult to get from a patient. And the SPo2 Measurement during sleeping was observed to be on a higher side from the actual reading on the oximeter. The range is also limited so it does not benefit much wrt medical use.
My father was more spiritual and less religious by nature. He was used to wearing the fitness band and used to check it frequently to check for the time. He multiple time changed the mantras while trying to find the time option. It appeared that during his last days he almost heard most of the religious mantras and unknowingly changed those mantras from the fitness band screen. May be god wanted him to listen across the same.
Lesson 12 : Avoid Spo2 measuring fitness bands for medical use / admitted patients
We understood from the start that we need to keep cash handy. Cash helps speed up work and time is of utmost importance. Multiple places don’t have online / card payment options or don’t want to take online
Lesson 13 : Always keep cash handy
A high protein diet is a must in order to recover. Fruits, Paneer, meat, eggs etc are must to get better. My father had turned stopped eating non-vegetarian food few decades back but we still had to serve him egg white with soup to fulfil his protein needs.
29thth April 2021 : Our third encounter with death
Vipin Bhaiya’s father started to get restless and removing O2 mask. We called Vipin Bhaiya and Bhabhi to his room. He was tired of wearing the mask. Nausea had gripped him and he started to become violent. Violent to the extent that he had to be tied. His Spo2 level dropped to 40-45. We started cupping on his back and chest non-stop for almost 1.5 hours till the time his Spo2 level recovered above 80.
He looked the first of the two to recover. Uncle used to sit and eat on his own. He used to go to washroom on his own. Spo2 level was also fairly good. We thought that he would be discharged soon. But the next morning he again started to become violent and asking to be released. That he did not want to live like this anymore. He was asking Vipin Bhaiya to let him go. It was a very emotionally draining moment. We could not control him and had to get him on ventilator.
I did not sleep for 32 hours. I was scared and I wanted to be available every minute. You never know how things change.
In a few hours Vipin Bhaiya’s father expired and it came as a big shock to us. We had got attached to him as we used to take care of him also. And the whole fact that he was in a better position to recover and still died was frightening to us.
We literally cried with Vipin Bhaiya. And Vipin Bhaiya ensured to call us every day to ensure the well-being of our father.
We became even more cautious and protective after that. My father’s hand was blue with the marks of canola. The ward boys and doctors said that he is very brave. He never showed pain or made any noise while getting injected. He used to swallow the pain without a word.
My father rarely allowed us to support him. He said that he was strong and he can manage.
I have seen people in less serious condition than him and 1/3rd his age crying out load in pain. But he never complained, never told he was in pain. His strength to endure pain still astounds me.
We then again got his tests done. The D dimer had further increased other parameters were okay-ish. This was alarming. We started to be more cautious and multiple times did not sleep for 24-30 hours at a stretch.
The SPO2 used to fluctuate. We pushed him to take long breathes, but he was unable to take it. It looked like he was always doing Alom Vilom pranayam. We thought that he did not understand deep breaths but probably he was not in the position to do that.
We tried prone position but it becomes difficult to do that. Firstly, he was weak. Secondly, proning with the O2 reservoir mask becomes difficult. We observed that when he laid on his left-hand side the SPO2 level Increased as compared to the Right side.
My father was a man of habit. He really liked the books “The Power of Habit“ and “Atomic Habits” amongst others. You could see it in his actions. Whenever idle he used to be in some or the other mudra position.
While eating food or drinking Turmeric milk he ensured that he didn’t leave anything behind. He did not drink all the water at once. He used to take some mix with saliva inside his mouth and then swallow slowly. Never rushed. Even while going to toilet even when he was very weak he ensured that he washed his hand properly and closed the tap.
He used to chew food till the time it was liquid. He never drank water with food .
Every time he used to look at me I used to show a thumbs up to him and lip-sync that keep it up papa you are doing great. He used to acknowledge the same with nod. He kept trying hard probably not for him but for the efforts we were putting in for his recovery.
His ears were bruised with the masks and he was getting irritated and uneasy. But every time he looked at us he wore the mask back after adjusting. We used to massage him, his head, chest and his back and he used to feel better. One day his SPO2 was dropping significantly. I vehemently starting cupping him. So many times that my Samsung galaxy fit 2 measured it as 10,000 steps. He did not like cupping as it used to hurt him. He asked to do it lightly. Never complained even in pain. This was his way to appreciate our efforts. It was our fathers way not to break us. This was his way to lead by example.
He told me “Shaabash beta! Shaabash“. These were probably the biggest compliment I ever received because the emotions and honesty of the words were beyond imagination.
He daily inquired by everyone in the family. He was not a person who used to show a lot of emotions but during the last few video calls with my mother he used to inquire about her health and well being with great care and love.
Since his hands were mostly blue with the syringe marks .
One of his legs was used for the cannula. Unfortunately, it did not go well. The cannula was removed due to leg movement and a lot of blood came out. My sister who was constantly holding his leg moved towards his face to adjust his mask and within seconds his canola came out from the leg. She called for the medical staff and they helped stop the blood flow and the canola had to once again be put on his hands.
That night my father asked my sister to take rest many times. My sister told him many times she has rested well in the day.. yet after some time, my father would again ask her to take rest. He would say, “Aaram karlo beta”.
He could see that everytime he opened his eyes we were in front of him. Every second every minute we were there. We were monitoring every move every minute. We were the Human ICU standing to take care of him.
I started doing a course from Stanford to better understand started COVID-19 from a healthcare workers perspective to be in a better position to help him and others.
I promised that I would read “The power of Habit” . Arun Pandit would become a Pranic Healer.
I would embody multiple of his key habits .
4th May 2021 : The final encounter with Death
He was weak from last night. My sister had called us around 6 am and asked to come over as our father was facing little breathing difficulty since early morning. So me and Vinay were cautious and both were present from the morning. He asked for fruits. He loved Golden Apples. We could not find golden apples but we gave him normal apples. His last diet was apples.
After that he began to complain of pain in the lungs. We massaged his back multiple times. The SPO2 was going low but his pulse started to increase from 100 to 120 to 140. We quickly called my sister. And rushed our father to ICU. We got him to the BiPAP machine but it did not help much with the reduction in pulse rate.
We had no option but to take him to ventilator . The chances of survival was very low now but it was the only last hope.
After almost an hour on the ventilator at around 7:35 pm he was no more.
We were devastated and I fell on the floor, my sister reminded me of the brave battle that our father fought against the deadly virus. We then gathered the courage to see our father one last time before he was wrapped in a plastic bag as per COVID Protocol.
My sister and Vinay started to do the final formalities for getting our fathers body.
I was told to reach to my mother and break her the tragic news.
My mother is known to be the most sensitive and emotional people amongst our entire family.
She gets emotional when someone dies in a TV show or when she sees someone dying on news.
The ride from Hapur to Ghaziabad was the most difficult ride of my life.
My mother was not expecting me and she sensed that something was wrong. On breaking the news she was inconsolable. She was devastated and started screaming on the top of her voice. Crying endlessly. Words can’t describe the moment.
Meanwhile, my sister and Vinay did the formalities. Now the challenge was that it was night time and father was a COVID patient, therefore it would have been a challenge to get our father’s body inside the society as it was not possible to cremate him late at night. Somehow with the help of Fareeha and Kaunain, we were able to arrange a space for our father at the cremation ground in Ghaziabad and fortunately, they had one cold storage unit donated the same very day. This helped preserved the body for the last rites that were supposed to happen the next day.
The sad part of a death during Corona is that my mother could not see my father’s face.
In normal times hundreds of well wishers would have lined up.
We were still fortunate to have Vinay, Snehdeep and Vicky beside us.
The scene at the crematorium was heart-wrenching. So many people dying . Everything was done in a hurry. There were too many bodies and very few spots. We still took our mother to see his body at least for the last time. Where she left her bindi and paid her final respect .
Me, my sister along with Vinay did the last rites. We saw sons who were afraid to hold their own father when the body bag tore. It was painful to see that. We were asked to come early in the morning to pick up the ashes. The ashes would be cooled with water due to multiple people waiting. We were helped and supported by Shanty Ji and members of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Seva Dal. They were very kind and ensured us that we will be able to complete the last rites without any problem.
Next day we had to go to Haridwar. Due to lock down it was very hard to get passes.
Our family Pandit ji asked to reach before 4 pm. Snehdeep helped in getting the pass and helped me reach Haridwar in 2.5 hours from Ghaziabad.
Our Family pandit was very kind and was not the minting money kind. He did not ask for any money. Rather when I gave the Dakshina he said that only give If you are comfortable. You have lost your father. It’s a big loss and don’t do anything because someone asked you to do so.
We update the family record . I got my head shaved and completed the rituals in the wholy Ganga.
When I retuned, we all got our covid test done as we were expecting that we would be effected as we were in the covid ward for 12 days. Everyone except me came negative.
At the time when my family needed my moral and emotional support, I had to be quarantined. I got hundreds of calls and thousands of messages but the emotional and physical toll made me numb and I barely talked to or messaged anyone. 3 days back I got a COVID negative report.
I had promised to read “The Power of Habit“ and become a Pranic Healer. That I would complete the COVID-19 course from Standford. I promised that I would write his COVID-19 journey so that people can learn from our experience. I promised that I would stop drinking water 1 hour before and after meals. All of these promises I have fulfilled.
I have promised that I would one day make him super proud in heaven by not only becoming a grand success but also by making a positive impact in the lives of others .
He believed in forgiveness and helping everyone in need. He believed that its our moral duty to help those in need if we are in the position to do so.
I am fortunate and blessed to be the son of Pandit Bhag Singh JI. I could not have got a better father .
Eternally thankful to god for giving me and my sister the opportunity to serve him during his final day with all our heart and soul.
I am grateful to my sister who is the strongest and bravest women that I know of!
And I am grateful to my mother for being so strong in front of us. I know how hard it is for you to look strong when you are broken inside .
I am thankful to each and everyone for your support and prayers. Believe me we would have lost before the start if it was not for all of you. We are eternally grateful.
One final request, the pain of lockdown is nothing as compared to what we are suffering.
So I would request everyone to be thankful to god for a safe life. I pray from the bottom of my heart that nobody suffers like us or the lakhs who have lost their loved ones.
Please work on increasing your immunity by adopting a healthy lifestyle for your mind and body. Please be extra cautious. Wear a mask, Sanitize and wash hands frequently. Please don’t take the situation lightly. Because no matter what we say or do we cannot change what has happened. We may try to decipher the root cause or the origin. But In the end, it doesn’t matter. Nobody should be in this position.
Our father left us once on 7:35 pm 4th may but we saw him slipping multiple times
and believe me it take a mental toll that’s very hard to get over with.
Prevention is the best cure .
Remember after death everybody becomes a body !
So live in the present .
Live! Love! Forgive! Give! Be grateful today!
Pandit Bhag Singh : The hope for recovery
Pandit Bhag Singh : The Last Rites
Pandit Bhag Singh : The Cremation
You can also check out Pandit Bhag Singh Quote on Wise men and Death
Another intereting read is an Essay on Life & Death