The following is a letter written by CA Mohan Srivastava to his school friend Rakesh Ramani. This was written 15 days before Mr. Srivastava left his homely abode and walked into the other side of life. He succumbed to deadly throat cancer arising out of years of chain smoking and continual tobacco consumption. For social reasons, all names are changed, but the content is very much real.
My dear Rakesh,
Today, you came to my home to see how I am. I could not talk to you about some real issues in person, so I am writing this letter. Please make sure that this letter reaches all our friends.
Each morning, I lie in bed in deep pain waiting for not another morning, but for death. The six sequential chemotherapy has taken away everything from me - all my hair, my strength, my will to live. I can’t eat, can’t chew anymore; my mother and wife feed me liquid food – juices and soups which also take a toll while going down my throat.
Today morning, my daughter came to me before going to school. She held my hand and took me to toilet. Rakesh, this should have been the time when I should have held her hand and took her to school. My little darling has grown up so much – she now understands everything. I think, she has got a clue that her Papa will be around for only few more days. She often looks at me – helpless and her teary eyes seem to ask me this one question, “Papa, why did you take so much ghutkha and tobacco?” The smoke from my past chokes my throat, and I feel the pain from the deadly cancer virus.
Today, I should have been the one to take care of my wife Reeta and give her all the comforts of life. I should have at least provided for her peace of mind, but Alas! she spends her sleepless nights beside my bed – seeing me in pain and waiting for my death!
As you know, my Papa is very energetic and loves to work. Never in my life, have I seen him take one day sick leave from his office. But, he is not going to office for at least two months now – he is just running from one doctor to another with the singular hope that – maybe, I can be cured! However for the last few days, I can somehow read from his face that he is also sure of my death.
There was a time, when after a long day’s work, I used to massage my mother’s feet. Today, she massages my feet instead; I feel teardrops trickling down her eyes onto my feet. But, she is quick to hide them.
Rakesh, the one thing responsible for all this nightmare of a life are – tobacco chewing and smoking. Tell all our friends that if they have at least 1 milligram of love for their family, they should never touch tobacco. Everybody has the right to live and maybe, the right to die. But, you cannot put yourself in a situation by which your family dies around you. Please pray for me that my soul rests in peace, and please do share this message to all to stop smoking and chewing tobacco.