I Defaulted

‘Hi auntie, how are you?’ I jumped right in front of her while she lay on her bed watching T.V.

‘Superb!’ She said with an enthusiasm that looked like she was more insistent on cheering me up than herself. My mother who sat beside her seemed more anguished than her.

Suddenly she looked at me carefully and spoke softly, ‘Where did you get that cap from?’ She indicated to the woolen cap that I was wearing.

‘Do you like it?’ I asked. ‘You can keep it. I’ll get another one for myself’. I explained it to her that I would buy another one while she could keep this one, but she insisted that I buy her a new one instead. With a promise that I would, I took her leave after some time. My mother had told me how depressed she was to see her rapidly waning hair and wanted to cover them at all times.

It was the winters of 2003-04. She was one of my mother’s sisters, the most sensitive one. I always saw her as someone who was warm, giving and very polite. Most of her days were busy taking care of the family, helping her husband in socializing (her husband was into the local politics, etc.) and the remaining hours were spent in prayer. A person, who ensured that her husband and her son were attended at all hours of the day, she in turn demanded as much attention from them. And they happily obliged as well; after all, she was the apple of their eye- a person, who never spoke or thought ill of anyone (I am absolutely convinced of this!).

Come January, it was my birthday, my first after my wedding and I wanted it to be special. I wanted to spend the day with my husband while he suggested that we spend the day with family. Since my mother was already attending to my ailing auntie, he proposed that we meet them as well. I declined, suggesting that we’d go and meet them the next day. He agreed. We happily spent the day together and I also chanced upon buying a cap for my auntie.

Early morning next day, we got a call from the family that my auntie had passed on. I cried, because we had lost one of the most precious gems of our family; more so because, I had defaulted. I still have the cap with me as her keepsake and every time I look at it, I repent for having acted selfish at a time when I needed to be compassionate. I hope I am forgiven.


 WCD_Logo_RGB_2012My auntie was suffering from cancer that went undetected for a good number of years and by the time it was, it had reached its last stage. Cancer is the cause of death for about 5 lakh people in India. This number is slated to increase manifold (up to 5 times) by 2025. There are millions of people who are unaware of the dreaded disease and hence the most we can do right now is spread awareness. This post is my humble submission towards the cause.

Today is World Cancer Day 2014 (4 February 2014) that focuses on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration: Reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer, under the tagline “Debunk the myths”.

Some of the myths have been illustrated below. To read about each of the myths, click on the picture.


Please click here to know more.


Kajal signature

Linking this to Write Tribe World Cancer Day 2014 initiative.

30 thoughts on “I Defaulted

  1. Hugs darling!! I’m so sorry for your loss…
    Cancer is heart wrenching.. sigh!
    I’ve lost my grandparents (my dad’s uncle and aunt) to cancer and also my uncle to brain tumor and it was a very difficult time for all of us in the family.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss, Kajal. My 2 take-aways from this post… Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. And annual medical check ups are a must for all and one must not ignore any warning sign of any disease!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. That is right Shilpa. I still repent that I did not go to see her the previous day. I hope she forgives me.

      Annual health checks I think are a must. I have been laxing too but I guess we mustn’t.

  3. Kajal, I was very sorry to read about your aunt. You post was very emotional and those emotions were so true. I just wanted to tell you that, as you said, she was a gentle soul and I am sure she would not have held it against you. Let it go. Give the cap to someone else who is suffering from this deadly disease and hope that they will have the cap till the end of their lives, for many, many more years to come. These are just my thoughts. Everyone should follow their heart. Bless you & Bless her, wherever she is now.

    1. Thanks so much Poornima. I hope what you say is true. I hope she must’ve forgiven me. I guess I must give the cap to some other ailing patient who might need it.

      Thanks for your words 🙂

  4. The pain these people go through is immense (saw my dad go through it) thus, your aunt is in a better place, kajal

    however, you not going to meet them was just destiny so no repenting over it. It was the love you shared and expressed for her that matters.


    1. Thanks so much Ruchira. I appreciate your words so much.

      I agree that the pain she went through was immense and I guess she was liberated in that sense. Hopefully she’s much better now.

  5. That was indeed a touching write up. Sorry for your loss, Kajal. You’ve portrayed the loss very well.
    Let’s not put off till tomorrow, what we can do today. 🙂 You’ve conveyed this message also, in simple terms !
    (I too checked the WCD website, they offer a lot of info on the subject, and that is so enlightening…..)

  6. So sorry for your loss Kajal. I also lost my aunty to cancer in January 1999. She was like a mom to me. I prefer to remember the good times with her.

  7. So sorry for your loss Kajal..It truly hurt to lose people we love…even at times there r ppl who r not that close to us and if something wrong happens to them we feel guilty even then. I can understand how bad u would have felt..Cancer is indeed a curse. I pray to God for a faster innovation to combat this disease. Take care.

    1. Hey thanks Ekta, for hopping over. Yes, its a dreaded disease and I hope a remedy is created immediately. Though much work has been done in that direction but still lives are at stake and we need more!


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