The summer morning shone like a bright and welcoming mime, something similar to the mischievous giggle of my grandson, for whom I was keen on my five-hour drive to reach my son’s family. I enjoyed the low hum of the engine, watching the scenes of distant villages, fields, trees, lakes, arches, and many bridges. Looking out the window, I fall for the visual narrative that allows a colourful obsession, the flawless charming smiles of nature I have been savouring for a decade and a half.

I sit cosily in the car’s rear seat, speeding past the highway. You get scared at the insolent sights of vehicles of various sizes, small, big, and huge, recklessly galloping, dangerously vulnerable as if taking part in a race, never realizing how unpredictable the accident-prone Indian roads have built-in killer threat warrants. “Anything can happen; go at a safe speed.” I know how I bother my driver with my over-cautious rant.


Suddenly, at one moment, I couldn’t explain any reason; I noticed a good feeling filling itself from nowhere, just seeping as slowly as a petal falling from a branch, like a calming riverside breeze, like a tingle of soft music. It felt as if I were taking in the scent of a quiet form of cheerfulness. The reflex just hugged my chest. I thought I was in a fairyland tucked in a fit of a sudden cry – “I’m alive, and let me enjoy its bounce every second.” At that moment, I felt entitled to such a spring of comfort and told myself loudly that it was mine; I earned it – the hard way, and I let that hypnotic nourishment push a little inside me and stay there.

In the past few months, I relished these frequent occurrences of the cushy realms of calmness as I had never done in any of my sixty years of my lot. Strangely, these feelings seem to flood and catch me by surprise as they slip into my deeper self and quietly thrill my moods for a while; I sit still, not wanting to shuffle those delicious sensations. I wouldn’t want the little warm bubbles of contentment to let go. In all honesty, what I have been experiencing is what I always wanted – a blessing of good health and moving on with an emptiness of fewer botherations – this is the simple rhythm I want to get hold of the rest of my days on Earth.


During brief walks, I catch up to pick up fruits in the market, when watching a political debate on TV, or just a stroll in the corridor in the mornings, suddenly, in the private space of my mind, I become quickly emotional – an amorphous feeling lands in my chest, something that elevates my mood something similar a morphine-induced person enjoys – a sense of unburdening of a heavy load, a humbled reflection, a flutter of light-heartedness – silently shouting, ‘Ahoy, I’m living twice.’


Why do I get so intimately cosy for a few precious moments, listening to a calm heartbeat, and stay in an unexplained vacuum where worries cease to bother me? Let me explain the dark episode of the deathly embrace of the cruel COVID-19 and how I had a face-off with mortal inevitableness for many nights, hanging on to a limping breath. And how my two grown-up children arrived at the right time as my angel knights and fought a valiant battle not usually possible for such young souls in the plight of the lockdowns. Besides, the scarcity of medicines is a scary reality. The image itself is frightening. Hiding behind the profound pain of uncertainty about my recovery and chances of returning home from the hospital almost dismal, how they both might have struggled, it’s a horrible picture even to imagine, as the sensitive saviours of my life.


Isolated in dark corners of the hospital wards (it is COVID protocol), I offered many prayerful requests and knelt in my mind that I had many more issues to settle. Perhaps of my good fortune, I have reclaimed my dear life, not allowing the virus to snatch it away. “The near-death experience” I had been through the second wave of Covid and its cruel bonus, “the black fungus,” locked me in the hospital for over two months, the tentacles that sucked me into a hell-hole where I lay dangled by a thin thread on the edge of life and death.


Returning home after a sixty-day, nerve-racking hospital stay is nothing less than a triumph of miracles; it’s like pitching a battle in darkness with an invisible enemy. I see this; it’s not such an easily deletable episode. For me, it is a moral responsibility of any young adult could offer to their father, precisely the feat achieved by my children, when the unstoppable wave of hellfire virus overpowered society and healthcare.


They renewed my luck to count my days a little longer as I muse in gratitude toward my daughter and son, grandkids, and daughter-in-law. The tears that trickle down at some impulsive moments speak of how much I owe them who pulled me out of a situation where my heart-beat threatened to give up. In the whiff of that serene ecstasy, I tell myself a few conclusions that I remind myself of.


With the gift of living twice, I enjoy being truly alive, where I defied the hell-bent destiny, walk with the best version of myself, and every step carries a press of peace, pride, and stillness. When I come across the little things like treating myself with nutty ice cream, watching old cartoons, reaching an hour early to catch a train, gazing at the travellers go by, and listening to the buzz and binds of hard realities, I sit all by myself and murmur some promises, how I have to lead and live my future days with a purpose. Given a renovated chance, I must engage in a life of less guilt and fewer misdeeds. I shouldn’t brood about my past but only think about sunshine days, breathing in the fresh, calm air – a gift from my life’s heroes – my children.