I Lost my Cricketer son

One day my second son Madhu Kumar was pushed by somebody when he was trying to board a bus in Delhi. His nose was hurt. He was just 19 then. I got him admitted to a Government hospital near my house. I was very busy then and used to travel extensively to ensure success of my favourite 'Loan Mela' programme. I could not give attention to my son's health. A few days after he was discharged from the hospital, he again fell off a moving bus and got his nose damaged again. This time too, I had him admitted in a Government hospital. He did not get proper treatment there. The wound in his nose later turned into cancer. We went to hospital after hospital for the next five years. We took him to different doctors. Late actor Sunil Dutt, who was an MP then, got his reports examined by foreign doctors. He died after a prolonged struggle of five years.

Now I look back, I think I made a mistake by admitting him to a Government hospital. Sometimes such things happen. I wanted me and my family to lead a simple life. I wanted to be a role model to others. I wanted my children to grow as children in any other normal family do. But fate had something else for me.

Madhu Kumar was a very good cricket player. Tatas wanted to send him to England for coaching. But I refused to send him. This was another mistake I did. Cricketer Ajay Jadeja's father used to stay in the quarters next to our house in Delhi. Madhu, Jadeja and their friends used to play cricket together.

He had scored 60 to 70% in PU and he did not get admission for Degree in any College in Delhi. People advised me to use my influence, but I refused. Finally, I admitted him to a night college.

He was very kind hearted. Not only him, all my kids are kind hearted. Madhu knew that he will die. He had lost weight due to radiation and chemotherapy. My house was like a grave yard for five years. My wife and other children took good care of him. I used to find some time amidst my busy schedule to spend time with him. We admitted him to Tata Institute of Cancer, Mumbai. Nothing helped. Many advised me to take him abroad for treatment. But I refused. "Can every Indian afford medical treatment abroad? I used to ask them. When I think about it now, I feel I was wrong. I went to the extreme.

I got the news of Madhu's death when I was in Madikeri participating in a Loan Mela. I went straight to Mumbai where he was admitted. We brought his body to Mangaluru in a flight.

One day in hospital, Madhu asked me, "Why it happened to me? I don't have any bad habits. You have not done any harm to anyone. Still why God gave me this trouble" I was shattered by his question. I had no answer. "God will call people early whom he loves. Shankaracharya died at the age of 32. Swami Vivekananda died at 39. This is a testing time for you. God is very fond of you," I told him. Just five days after this dialogue, he died. There is no bigger sorrow in the life of a father than losing a grown up son. That is why I tell people not to cross their limits. If you do so you will be in trouble. I became an idiot in my son's case. I am still repenting my mistakes. I remember him every night now.

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