The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the country, wiping out entire families. Amongst them was the family of Mashkoor Khan, a retired assistant teacher from Bhopal, who has lost three of his family members to the virus.
Mashkoor lost his wife, son, and daughter to the virus, all within 19 days. He bursts into tears and recalls them as he looks around his vacant house.
He says that he has no desire to go anywhere or even get out of bed now. He is unable to sleep at night, waking up several times in the middle of the night, with memories of his wife and children. “Main Toot gaya, I have no strength left,” he says.
He mentions that he used to give his pension to his wife, who used to manage and maintain their house. “My youngest son has died; he used to take care of me.”
Mashkoor’s youngest son is survived by his two children. When Mashkoor looks at them, he is reminded of his son.
He finds solace in old songs, which help him cope with his loss. They make him think of his wife. “Aawaz de tu kahan hai,” he says, remembering his wife.
“Ae dil, tujhe kasam hai, himmat na haarna,
Din zindagi ke jaise bhi ho, guzaarna”
He quotes the lyrics of the Lata Mangeshkar song, that help him find the strength to keep going in his darkest hours.