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Himansu Panda

It was the year 2012, I was doing my graduation in Physics. One evening, I received a call from my father where he confessed that he has been detected with lung cancer. The worst part… it was in 3rd phase. I broke down completely. Random thoughts started coming to me. For the first time, hostel life felt like a burden on me. It seemed I was running out of breathe. All I was thinking about was my bond with my father. My father was a smoker. We were never close. Like every other middle-class family, I was also scared of him. I never had the guts to ask him to visit a doctor when he was showing some symptoms like coughing, breathlessness…

Next morning when I reached home, my mother started crying. She was hugging me tight. I had never seen my mother crying like that in my entire life. Watching her cry like a child broke my heart. My helplessness could not allow me to console her. The very next day my uncle accompanied me and my father for a checkup where we got to know that the cancer was spreading aggressively to stage 4. The doctors suggested doing Chemotherapy with a span of 21 days for a period of 6 months. At that time one chemo cost around 70k. My father was the sole bread earner in our family. He was working as a life insurance agent. In the back of my mind I was thinking “Will we be able to afford this?” But we somehow managed to do all the treatments by using our savings.

When you see the person who raised you is suffering with this unbearable pain, you start asking yourself about your existence. I used to think “Why am I alive to witness this?” When my mother used to ask me about my father, I used to lie to her saying everything was under control. But I knew, soon she would know everything that I have been hiding from her. This continued for one and half year. But during this time, I grew an inseparable bond with my father. He was worried about me; he used to think about what I would be doing after him. I was in my final year when Infosys campus drive happened. I had no interest in IT companies. My plan was to pursue Master’s in physics after completing Bachelor’s in physics. However my father said there was nothing wrong in appearing for an interview. So, without having a second thought, I went for it. To my surprise, I qualified in the first round!  I was asked to attend the second round. I was struggling to gather interest for the next round when one of the juniors said – “Bhaya, you have nothing to lose. So, instead of regretting it later, it’s better to attend it.” To my amazement, I also cleared the second round and got selected for Infosys. When my father got to know about it, he started dancing with happiness. Watching him, I felt the joy welling up inside me. Everyday he used to ask me about my offer letter. When finally, my offer letter came, he said – “Now I can die in peace. You don’t have to bend to anyone. And now you and your mother can stay happily.”.

I clearly remember, my father booked the train ticket, a few months before my joining in Mysore. But fate had a different story to tell. In the month of July he again got admitted in hospital. I can recall the scenes of the last moments. He was in the ICU. At that time he had tried to tell me something, but he could not open his mouth. So, he gave me a sign to bring a pen. I asked the nurse for a pen. But he could not write after getting it. He could not bear this helpless feeling. So, he pushed me away. That moment had hit me so hard that I was shattered completely. That was the last time I had seen my father.

 It was 11th of July, my birthday, when I got a call from the doctor. “Not today” – I was praying hard. But when I reached the hospital the doctors told me that he was no more. I gathered all my courage because I knew, from that day onwards I had to become the strength of my mother.

A month later, after my father’s demise, I joined Infosys Mysore. The four months stay in Mysore was the toughest part of my life. Every night I used to think only about my mother. After training I got posted in Hyderabad. After one year, my manager understood my situation and initiated a transfer request for me to Bhubaneswar. I came to Bhubaneswar and now I am staying with my mother.

 Life has been so cruel to me, but I know there is a hidden force that is protecting me as well. Today, I feel this phrase close to my heart – “Life has to go on my friend and you just can’t get stuck in one place. This too shall pass”.

Total Work Experience : 5.5 Years (Infosys)



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