In September 2006, after a wonderful time with my family in Vrindavan, I took my flight to South Africa. It should be a short stay, followed by the worst time of my life until today.
I was working like I did in any other place, giving private sessions, workshops and lectures. After a few days, on 18th September 2006, I got a phone call in the early morning. It was my younger brother Yashendu, calling me from Germany. With a choked voice and under tears he gave me the most horrible news a brother will ever have to hear: our sister had died in a car accident.
Purnendu and Para had been on the way to the airport that night. Para was supposed to fly to Germany where she was going to meet Yashendu and later I would join them. Her second journey to Germany.
But now, she was dead. They had had an accident. Purnendu was in hospital. Yashendu said he was going to book a flight now.
My hands and legs were shaking. I was sweating and for a few minutes, it was difficult to think anything. Then I phoned our father and told him I would come immediately.
The next flight to Delhi was via Dubai. I bought the ticket and rushed to the airport. I cannot describe my feelings. Never before or after have I felt this shock, this pain, the disbelief and then again pain when reality hit me again. I didn’t cry a single tear. Somehow I managed to pass these hours, the most difficult flight I have ever had.
I landed in morning time and reached the hospital where my parents and Yashendu were waiting for me. Purnendu was in the hospital room, his leg broken and in plaster. Apart from that, he was fine. A few scratches, a small bandage here or there. He had been sleeping before the crash and had been unconscious after. He had woken up in hospital. I fulfilled the difficult task of telling him that Para was no more.
As soon as Purnendu was discharged, we took Para’s body from the hospital and took off towards Vrindavan. On the way, we made phone calls to prepare the funeral. We didn’t want to wait a minute longer than necessary. Everyone was crying, Ammaji was destroyed over the death of her daughter and we still had to tell our grandmother who was waiting at home, not knowing of the extent of the tragedy.
At the Ashram, people had started the preparations for the funeral. From this, Naniji had understood that the worst had happened. It were the darkest hours for our family.
Everyone was crying but I didn’t find time or space for tears. It seemed as though my mind had not yet arrived to accepting what had happened. I once even lifted the cloth up and looked at her face, as if I could not believe this had really happened. It was her.
We brought her body to the funeral place, Purnendu staying at home because of his broken leg. I have seen death before and after but until today, this remains the most horrible moment of my life: when we put fire on the wood beneath my sister’s body. She was gone.