We were fast asleep on the night of 13th June which was a Saturday night in the US and Sunday (14th June) afternoon in India. I usually put my phone on Airplane mode on weeknights so that I don’t get disturbed in the middle of the night. My wife turns on the vibrate mode on her phone at night. However, on weekends, I leave my phone on the vibrate mode sometimes instead of putting it on the Airplane mode. The dreadful calls started coming in at around 2 am PST (2:30 pm IST). The phone was away from the bed and of course, I had no idea who was calling and why continuously but I could hear the nonstop vibrations. Annoyed, I got up to check and at that moment, the world came tumbling down. Before I talked to anyone, I read the text messages which were flashing on the screen. Many people including family members were trying to reach us and many friends were asking if the news was fake. I checked the news and was horrified to read that Sushant had allegedly taken his life. I ran over to Shweta’s phone on the other side of the bed and noticed a plethora of missed calls and text messages on her phone as well. And that’s when I did one of the toughest things I have had to do in my life, break the news to Shweta. I cannot forget her reaction and her first conversation with Rani Di. It broke my heart to listen to them crying on the phone and that night changed our lives forever as we knew it.
We started making phone calls and planning our travel to India. We were up all night trying to figure out all the details. We realized that because of COVID-19, it’s incredibly hard to travel or to even get a flight ticket to India. Eventually, with the help of friends in the Bay Area, we found one seat for Shweta on a San Francisco-Delhi flight on the 16th of June. The morning was even more challenging since we had to break this news to our children, Sushant’s niece, and nephew.
Why am I sharing all of this? I am sharing this because it’s been two months since that fateful night and we are still struggling. Emotions are still high and eyes are still watery. What was taken away from us that night is hard to express in words. Our lives will never be the same again. However, we hope that an unbiased investigation would shed light on what transpired and perhaps give us some closure so that we can focus on cherishing his memories instead of always wondering what exactly happened with Sushant and why he could not be saved. Hence, my appeal to everyone is to keep pressing for truth so that not only us but all of Sushant’s supporters and well-wishers can find peace.
In closing, I am sharing one of my favorite pictures with Sushant. I have many pictures of him but this one is close to my heart because it always reminds me of how sensitive and respectful Sushant was. In the capacity of my brother-in-law, he was supposed to do a ritual at my wedding where he would pull me with my “dupatta”. I don’t remember what the point of the ritual was but I do remember Sushant being uncomfortable about pulling me in that manner and I had to encourage him to do it and had to ensure him that I did not mind that at all. Only then did he perform the ritual. Always smiling, always compassionate, that’s the memory I have of him.