The Fault in our Stars
"The rising sun and the light is too bright and her eyes are losing but they aren't lost.
I don't believe we return to haunt or comfort the living or anything,
but I think something becomes of us."
Here's the thing: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world.
Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting Death.
We all want to be remembered.
I do, too.
Sometimes what bothers me most, is being another unremembered causality in the historic inglorious war against disease.
I want to leave a mark too.
In this race for leaving a mark, what most of us tend to ignore is most marks left by humans are in fact scars.
Our little monuments of efforts for being remembered turn into nothing but a crack in a castle of glass.
Sanjeev knew better. A man who walked lightly upon the face of earth. Like he said: We're as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we're not likely to do either.
People will say it's sad that he left a lesser scar, that he was loved deeply but not widely.
But it's not sad, my friend. It's triumphant. It's heroic in its realest terms.
The real heroes aren't always the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention to the little details around them and do no harm to anyone.
This one is my eulogy, a remembrance and a tribute to cherish the life of a kind soul who passed away on 6 June 2019. Sanjeev Kumar, my colleague from the Grand Pavilion where I worked as a restaurant manager was an honest labour, a brother and a father.
We have seen some good and bad days at work together.
From getting scolded by our bosses together in staff meetings, to having some great days at work. There was one thing that always stood consistent about Sanjeev. I never witnessed the man complaining about anything.
Life was not too easy for him. He's fought hard, as if there were another day to fight. He lived his life as an honest man, dedicated to make life easier for his family, especially his son.
When I learnt about his passing away, I felt bad for him. Even though I hate the sympathy people feel towards me, I couldn't help it but feel it towards him.
Cancer took him away. I think the worst part about having cancer sometimes the physical evidence of the disease that separates you from the other people. When I met him in the hospital in April while he was still struggling, It was quite a different Sanjeev I had known. I met him while he laid down on his bed, no longer the tall, hefty man I knew from work, but still half smiling, his eyes bright and alive.He seemed weak and hurt, fragile and vulnerable, He never showed these kinds of inner feelings.
While he was talking, I could realize that the exhaustion of the disease had left him excluded from the world. He was not scared but there was an uneasy feeling clouding up on him every once in a while.
Much of my life had been devoted to trying not to cry infront of the people who loved me, so I exactly knew what he was doing.
You clench your teeth. You look up. You tell yourself that if they see you cry, it will hurt them, and you will be nothing but a Sadness in their lives, so you will not cry and then you swallow even though your throat does not want to close and you look at the person who loves you and smile. I could see the subtle expressions going off his face which I determined is not because of the disease, but because of the things he aspired to do in life which he was trying to be at peace with.
What shook me to the core is when I came to know that he didn't get paid for 70 weeks in terms of working with The Grand Pavilion for 4 years until he got sick and got diagnosed with brain cancer and was laid off earlier this April. His sister Poonam tried speaking to the owner about clearing his pending wages as they needed money for his treatment but they were refused. He was such an optimist, always cracking jokes even when having a shit day at work and always saying one thing that his time will come. His patience and tolerance towards life made me wonder sometimes how a man can always be so positive. It is such a shame that such a person had to go through so much tragedy in his last days.
Even after the diagnosis he still kept saying everything will be alright.
I will get better and will do better with my situations. It was his sister Poonam who wanted to fight for his unpaid wages and he was fighting alongside her for his justice.When after 2 consecutive surgeries the doctors gave them the bad news that his cancer is spreading aggressively and they cannot help them anymore and he will have to be in palliative care for the rest of his days, they didn't give up.
I have never seen such a strong woman who even though she is losing her brother she still found strength to keep on with the fight with his employer. She reached out to the Fairwork department and the Immigration department. An investigation of his case is underway.
She tried reaching out to news channels who put his story out there for everyone to know.
The hopes were brimming but it was too late for Sanjeev.
On the evening of June 6th, he suffered a brain stroke.
She realized that something is very wrong. She called the doctors while he clutched her hand so tight, she said it felt like as if he knew he was leaving.
Doctors tried to revive him but to no avail. She saw his life leaving his body within split seconds.
I cannot imagine someone seeing their elder sibling dying like that and being there helpless not able to do anything. I don't think anyone should go through a situation like that. The harmonic terror of looking your whole life being washed away, right in front of you. In the last weeks, they were reduced to spending their time together in recollection, but that was not nothing: The pleasure of remembering has been taken from her, because there is no one to remember it with.
He left in his 40's and he left behind an inconsolable wife and a 4 year old son who doesn't even know that his father has left him forever and will never come back. The least anyone could do in such a tragedy is not give them any harm. I think to take up great resolutions, and then to lay them aside, only ends in dishonor. It is ill to abandon honor and integrity in exchange for injustice and greed. People's egos can make them do irreparable damage without even thinking how it can affect somebody or their lives.
My heart goes out to his family who are trying their best to accept their loss and still keep fighting to bring his employer to justice.May his soul rest in peace while we live to fight another day.
It is lucky to be loved in life. You don't get to choose if you choose to get hurt in this world, my friend, but you do have some say in who hurts you.
I like my choices. I hope you do too.