I was too young: A life lost to Covid Beyond the Panorama October 16, 2021

I was too young: A life lost to Covid

Written by Nandini Sethi

I was too young to see what I saw; 

To experience what I experienced. 

A long time ago, I had made a decision to live life how I wanted to:


I was young and bright, but my innocence was corrupted by difficult circumstances:

I had just learnt how to say “Ma”, when she passed on, 

Just learnt to grieve when the responsibilities of my siblings fell on my shoulders;

I was too young to be this mature, but I decided to grow up anyway. 

Devoted and bright-eyed, I began my journey as a man in the corporate world; 

I was cheated and pushed around, bullied and stomped to the ground, 

But I didn’t let it faze me: I never had the option, 

I was too young to even look after myself, but I had two sons back home that needed me more. 

There was a time when I never thought I would stop, 

But when I was begun to be offered a seat on the public transport,

When not even a smidge of the black remained on my head,

I realised I had had enough of this. I was too young to be asked to retire, but I was asked anyway. 

Things weren’t so bad after that;

I took pride in watching my sons grow from temperamental boys to independent men, 

And as I stood by making arrangements for their weddings and then the weddings of their children, 

I thought to myself, “aren’t I too young to watch my granddaughter hold the hand of a man other than myself?” 

I grew to enjoy retirement, 

I never had the luxury of time before, so at first I didn’t know what to do with so much of it. 

I bought a house, I bought new clothes, then I bought a flat screen TV for my room; 

Hand in hand, my wife and I sat on a plane like young lovers for the first time, vowing to see as much of the world as we could. 

Very soon after that, a moment of enlightenment came to me, 

When one day I opened my eyes, expecting to be greeted by the bare walls of my room, 

I was met with with blinding fluorescent lights and a drip in my vein. 

How did I get here? 

I had so many questions, 

I wanted to look for answers, look for a familiar face, 

But for the first time in my life, I lacked the energy, 

The will. 

I don’t know how, 

But I knew this was my life,

Coming to an end. 

I was afraid and anxious, but like the trajectory of my life thus far, I grew to understand. 

I looked back:

A son without a mother, I felt privileged being able to raise my younger siblings, 

A man in the corporate world, I made friends that I would cherish for life, 

Retirement, the world wasn’t large enough for my wife and I. 

I kept my promise, I lived life how I wanted to,

But somehow, somewhere, I felt like something was incomplete. 

I was 81, but I was too young to see what I saw: 

The needles and the machines and constant beeps that reminded me of my lively spirit, but failing body. 

It brought me immense pain, 

But even in that loss, I learnt many lessons: 

I know how much I loved and how much I was loved, 

Now I just feel silly calling myself too young. 

~ Inspired by the life of Nand Kumar Sethi 

Nandini Sethi
Nandini Sethi

Sometimes dolefully insightful, sometimes plain distressed state of mind, but always love. I think there’s a bit of love in everything we write. 

  • Reply
    October 16, 2021, 1:20 PM

    Loved this one! soooo soulful …way to go Nandini ….

  • Reply
    October 16, 2021, 10:13 PM

    Beautiful, loved it

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