Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author.

Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-Slow)

with 8 comments

Born and brought up in a small town in Punjab, I was not used to the culture of having walks after evening meals. But when I would come to Chandigarh (to my parents), we would walk – my father, mother, me and Archit (my younger brother).

I recall when I was a kid of around 4 years, we were having a customary after-meal walk in evening. Me and Archit just nudged ahead on footpath, with dad and ma following us. The objective was to have a stroll after meals, and as the two brothers gained pace, dad said – Ahesta-Ahesta (slow-slow).

These are the first words that I remember from dad. Since I was a Punjabi, I would not understand (it often happened when I was a kid) what does Ahesta mean? He said it again and as Archit would slow down, I matched my steps with him.

Ahesta-Ahesta may be the first words that I remember of my dad. But this is not the oldest that I remember about him.

I used to go to our fuel-station when I was about 2 years (he was a co-owner of a fuel station). I recall that we used to bath together, I would get ready first, have breakfast first and would get restless first, to go with him. We would walk to bus stop, board a bus, and travel for few miles to reach there. He would talk to some manager/attendant there on refill terminal and I would sit and play on his revolving chair.

Going further back… I was at my maternal grandparents home (it was on first floor) when I heard somebody coming upstairs. I remember very clearly that I did not know how to walk properly (that means I might be around 12-18 months old) and as he entered, I crawled on floor towards the bed, and just managed to *climb* on the bed and reached the window to see him enter the door. Yes, I saw him crossing over the window, entering the room, to meet me.

Yes, this is my first memory of him.

If Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-slow) are his first words that I remember, I am not sure about what he said few days back in February 2011. And I failed to understand when it mattered last week… probably it was regarding the tax, our house, his medications, the driver… He had lost his ability to convey what he wanted to say.

On 21 February 2011 (Monday last week), he tried to say something, I could not help. All I could offer was some water on his lips. On 22 February (Tuesday last week), he conveyed me something with his eyes, he tried to speak but could not. He was breathing heavily. It was a torture to so many people – himself, the family, and the relatives who would come to see him in hospital.

I do not know what he wanted to say during 2-3 days last week, before he quit on 23 February 2011. I could not decipher his glance. His helplessness. And he Quit. Quit. Quit.

For 15 years, I could decipher his silent glare/stare at me, I decoded what he silently expected from me, I avoided conflict, and replied back in silence. I wonder if I was paying back in silence? Was it required? Was there any alternative? He often stared and expected quietly, all I could give him was my silence. The silence was deafening but it remained. For last many many years, he would speak for hours on phone or with guests/friends/clients, and talked a lot. But very few words were required between us though we stayed together.

I extended my hands when he asked but I could not when he did not ask for. I answered his questions but could not answer when he could not question. I offered him water when he asked but I could not when he could not ask.

To list whatever I learnt from him, and whatever Special he taught me is not humanly possible. I doubt if WordPress can handle that volume though I do not challenge it either.

I am sad today. Probably I will get over this feeling, with time, Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-Slow) <Full-stop)>

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.


Written by Vinish Garg

February 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

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  1. This post conveys one thing: True, you could not understand what he wanted while saying Ahesta Ahesta. But you did, what he wanted from you, slowed your pace by matching steps of Archit.

    Similarly, you think you could not do what he wanted from you in those 15 years. But probably you already did what he wanted (without even your knowledge) by matching steps of Archit, Maa, or while choosing your own path.

    May his soul rest in peace. God gives you strength to bear this loss. Amen!!!

    Shena Garg

    February 28, 2011 at 1:45 pm

  2. Shena, probably you are right, but probably…!!


    February 28, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  3. Vinish, I appreciate your strength in penning down these thoughts and sharing with us, your friends. Having known you all these years, I am confident that you surely would have done the best, be it during the moments of silence or the times of spoekn words…and today as your father blesses you from the heavens am sure he is a proud father.

    I wish that your father rests in peace and continues blessing you form the heavens, while I pray that may you and your family face these times with courage and strength.

    Shruti Moudgil

    February 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  4. Im more convinced today than ever before that its a science to pen-down ur thoughts and memories etc. Wish i was also well-read

    Archit Garg

    March 1, 2011 at 12:08 am

    • Writing is never about science or art. It is just a form of expression like painting, dancing, movie-making, or cooking.
      Anybody can write if there are *things* to say, as long as one wants. And I wrote my first post to a newspaper when I was merely a graduate like you, had not read any book, and remember, you have studied English since class ONE and I started studying English since class EIGHT.


      March 1, 2011 at 9:48 am

      • Sir, it was mentioned out of absolute admiration for ur intellectual intelligence enabled u to express ur emotions so well, something i cant imagine to replicate.
        And trust me anyeverybody cannot afford this.
        Lets try:-
        21st was the last day when me and Daddy spoke and by chance we spent some time together, by chance Guard didnt come to whisk away after time, by chance daddy spoke clearly, by chance i heard properly, by chance. . . . but for unknown reasons, i didn’t hav the courage to share it either way. May be i was emotionally weak, may be im still.
        He asked for a fresh glass of his fav drink and asked again. Was not convinced with the jug near him, said- it is 12 hrs of age, need fresh.
        Had almost 2 glasses, thanked me. I asked may i hug. He nodded in yes and i thanked. Then he wanted to take rest after few words and i saw him last in his senses.
        Thanks for guiding the way forward.

        Archit Garg

        March 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  5. […] meeting next day brought spring in my stride, and then I slowed down. Walks after evening meals are meant to be slow, ahesta-ahesta.   I sensed some complexity in my walks. As if it was not simple enough. Something as *HJS* flashed […]

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