Sheetal’s tiny steps that were dancing to rhythms minutes ago froze in a moment. Even before she realised what made her still restricting her to get up, she was desperately trying to reach her father lying a few steps away bleeding profusely. Crying inconsolably she was trying to move her legs which were under a pile of debris to hold her father tight as she was, while pillion riding seconds earlier. But as soon as she was rescued by passersby, the eight-year-old kid crawled to her father who was lying motionless! Without realising that she would never get to ride with him again!
Too small to understand the meaning of death, Sheetal held her father close asking him to talk, open eyes and even shook him to get a nod. Before her efforts yielded any response both were carried to the hospital where on way she lost her consciousness and her father declared brought dead.
Waking up to senses hours later, Sheetal kept asking for her father throughout. Doted upon by her father, Sheetal was adored and pampered by him. Both spent times together for all the years she has been in the world though she had grown closer with him a couple of years ago. At this tender age, she wanted to follow the path her father wanted her to pursue – to become an IAS officer or a doctor so that she can serve people. She was convinced because it was her father whose statements were sacrosanct for her. She had promised her father to make his dream come true. And to rejoice the moment, the family had been to a China tour just recently.
The chirpy girl Sheetal is known to be, her turning mute since last 30 hours has been deafening for all those who know her. The shocking reality of losing her most admired man and who brought her to the world would be tough to accept. But she seems to be fighting with herself – trying to act normal when she is not. With time, as life will turn as usual for the world, Sheetal will continue to live life missing her friend, philosopher and guide – her father Satyabrata Patnaik.