CHENNAI : On a balmy Saturday evening, the audience at Odyssey book store in Adyar was swaying to Anup Ghoshal’s song Tujhse naaraz nahi zindagi, soulfully rendered by AVIS Viswanathan, as he began the 13th edition of the happyness conversations. The song set the mood for the evening — one of introspective wonderment. The Happynesswalas — Vaani Anand and AVIS — invited KS Narendran, management consultant, author and former adman, and RV Rajan, rural marketing guru and author, to talk on ‘Coping with a loved one’s loss’.
The session took a deep dive into the emotions we grapple with after the loss of a loved one. Remembering the time when he lost his wife in the MH370 accident, Narendran said, “The flight went missing and still hasn’t been found. We knew the government had pulled off the search because nothing was being reported in the news.
I knew that they landed in water because the government had searched the land. I didn’t know how to answer all these questions in my head. Slowly, I noticed how much I had neglected my body. One thing that helped was speaking to my daughter about it. We shared exactly how we felt, and I told her that anything she wanted to talk about was open for discussion.”
Rajan lost his wife Prabha Rajan to cancer in 2013. He set up the Prabha Rajan Talent Foundation in her memory. “One night, when I came to bed, I found a letter on my pillow. My wife had written it in anger and had placed it there. The letter was a list of complaints she had about me, but what caught my eye was that it was so beautifully written.
She had an amazing way with words and her Tamil was always so sweet. That was when I decided that she had to publish her writing,” said Rajan, who has two daughters and one son. After Prabha passed away, his life revolved around their children. “They were my alarm clocks that jolted me back to living,” he said.
Talking about how he dealt with misplaced anger while coping with the loss of his wife, Narendra opened up, saying, “Hanging on to anger only corrodes. It helped not to give up. I had to accept that all I can live with right now is her memory and our daughter.” After all, hope is not just a four-letter word. “Instead of mourning her death, I celebrate her memory. I try to live by doing and being good to people. I see her proud face in everyone’s smile. I set up the foundation to allow other ladies to do what my wife did at the age of 38,” shared Rajan.
The stories of Narendran and Rajan may not be uncommon, but their willingness to move on and make new memories offer lessons in faith, hope and acceptance — that the ultimate reality of life is death itself. “There are two take-aways from this. One is to stop mourning death and start celebrating life, and the second is to express,” said AVIS, emphasising that expressing oneself is the first step of acceptance.