No second chance

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I had been to one of my friend’s houses to pay my last respects to his deceased wife, and to offer my condolences to him.  She had been suffering from a prolonged illness but all throughout, he had been a pillar of support to her.

While returning home, my thoughts took me back to bygone years.  Death brings us a painful reminder of our mortality.  Not only is there an element of sorrow in death, but also there is the human emotion of missing a person… of realizing that we will not be able to anymore enjoy their company and their companionship.  But it is also a fact that death can never rob us of the memories left behind by our loved ones.

It was the 30th of December 1992.  It was a rigorous day filled with hard labour.  I had been toiling in our shop in Mumbai till late, hence I chose to stay back in the shop for the night.  Whenever I had done so in the past, my loving mother would reproach me.  She was very particular that she should see us at least at the end of every day.

We (my parents and I) had planned a trip to Chennai and we were scheduled to depart on the 1st of January.  Our tickets were already booked for the train journey.  To make up for the lapse on my part, I called my mother over the phone on the night of December 30th and told her, “Amma!  Please don’t be upset or get angry with me for spending the night in the shop.  I know that you have been missing me during the past few days.  Please know that I have missed you equally.  But for all this, we can compensate in just a day from now.  During the long journey by train, we can have all the time between ourselves and chat to our heart’s content.  Amma!  Please bear with me for just this one night.”

She agreed reluctantly, but her disappointment and grief were evident from the way she hung up the call.  I too went to sleep waiting for the night to pass.  The next day, I received a call from my father asking me to rush to the hospital; he said, that my mother had been admitted in the ICU.  I was shaken and panicked.  I prayed to the Lord Almighty for everything to be alright with my mother and was still hopeful that I would be able to fulfil the promise I had made to my mother about our trip the previous night.

But we are all products of our pasts and our circumstances.  By the time I reached the hospital, my mother had hurriedly left this world, breathing her last.

Everyone in the house was crying out of grief, but there I stood, shedding profuse tears of not just grief but more of guilt.  Her face, reflecting the disappointment of not being able to see me, flashed before my eyes and left me completely wrecked.  Then it hit me like a train that I would never be able to fulfil my mother’s wish.  How many times had she pleaded with me to come home?

I was helpless and I didn’t have that second chance.

Several occasions and experiences leave us with the craving – if only we had that second chance.

At times, on account of our own negligence or lethargy, we might have missed studying a particular chapter and from the very same missed portion, we might be asked to answer a long answer in our examination, and we would not have a second chance.

A game lost, a mark not scored, a train or a flight missed, a failed relationship… all these are examples of our deprivation of that second chance.  And on all occasions, the instances may not be trivial in nature.

A lifetime isn’t forever, so take the first chance; don’t wait for the second one!  Because most times, there aren’t second chances!

A question may arise, “What if the first chance turns out to be a mistake?”  So what!  That is what life is all about!

On the contrary, what would happen if you never got a second chance because you didn’t take the first chance?

That is true failure.

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