Sometimes, Death visits so suddenly that the host does not even get time to say his final good-byes. Such a thing happened to a much-liked and loved relative of mine 2 days ago ... Idris Kagalwala, my paternal uncle, passed away suddenly at or around 10:30 a.m. IST on Tuesday, 1st July, 2008. A few hours before he died, he spoke about some routine matters to my father, and, from what my dad says, he sounded fine. An hour and a half later, he called up my dad again, but his voice sounded distressed and laboured. He had just enough time to say, "Call my doctor fast, am unable to breathe ..." before his voice got cut off, mid-sentence. My dad, who is over 74 years old, went to Idris uncle's house, but found the door locked from within. Some neighbours of Idris uncle managed to get a spare key to that house and managed to open the door.
What they saw before them was uncle, lying on the floor of the house, his mouth wide open, as if trying to gulp in air, the phone receiver still in his hand, and the life, gone out of him.
Most cousins to whom I spoke had only nice words to say about him. He has been variously described as fun-loving, passionate about cricket, jovial, gregarious (thanks, Shabbir Attar), loud and enjoyable to be with, and in the final analysis, a good human being.
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