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Do you know how it feels to die at 18?
Do I? Not really; I died at 23.
I can tell you how I felt when I left home at 18, though.
I was heartbroken.
I would hug my mother every 5 minutes before I left home.
and cry.

My sister would read out to me her list of gifts she wanted me to bring when I come back.
and say, I will miss you.
and cry.

My dad was not going to miss me.
I knew.
for all he wanted to make sure was if I had packed my stethoscope – his farewell cum study well gift.
At the check-in gate, he waved me goodbye.
I didn’t except that
but, he cried.

I turned 23 a few days back, here, in Dhaka.
Friends from Pak and India got me a cake & a Parka.
and my parents back home sang songs, over Skype.
I took my finals last month and I got a job at Salimullah.
As a doctor.
I wouldn’t join before April, though.
I wouldn’t because this March I was going home.
to keep my promise I made to my sister and my mom.

I did reach home on time;
No one was happy to see me, though.
they dressed in white.
and cried.
As if someone had died.
And, yes, I was the one who had died.
They sat before my 5 by 8 photo, with a garland on it.
and cried.

I was there, and believe me, I tried to tell them, too.
I am here.
but they won’t listen to me.
My sister stood up, looked at me.
Walked to me, took a pause.
I was happy until she passed through me.
and I fell, in pain, on my knees.

They couldn’t see me.
because I was not Amardeep.
He died when Nepal decided it needs another airplane-museum.
I am his soul, that had made promises,5 years back.
and I am here.
to keep my promises.
or say, I am not here.
because they don’t see me and I can’t feel them.

But I am still around.
I don’t sleep and eat.
I can’t hug my mom when she is low.
but I see her sob, every night.
I don’t see my dad cry.
but he does, in the shower, I know.
they loved me.
and perhaps, I didn’t.
maybe that’s why, I left them all, here.
once knowingly, and then, because God wanted me to.

I don’t know how it feels to die at 18.
because I didn’t die.
I just left home.
but I could still talk and tell how I felt.

This is harder.
dying at 23.
believe me.
This is harder
To cry and not have tears.
to feel the pain, and not have a heart.
to tell them, I miss everything, and it goes unheard.

At 18, I’d have died an easier death, I bet.
On the flight, I took from home.
I had less of dreams back then.
and the separation would have been once and for all.

But to die at 23,
On the flight back home.
It was harder.

–Amardeep Keshari

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