Tag Archives: Family

Parenthesis

19 Aug

How do thoughts travel? From a lifetime of memories that make me feel like I am being forced into a matchbox to trivialities to making me soar across the endless vista of clear skies towards a thousand wishes and dreams…

2011. The world dissolved around me and I thought I could get it whole again by sheer force of will. I went through the motions. What is the appropriate behaviour when you are offered condolences? I still don’t know. I looked at the sea of people and wondered what is that they see on my face. People I haven’t seen or known of. I envied our cat crawling under the bed. I recall not being able to cry. I wanted to do something to replace the strange vacuum I was cocooned in. Bits and pieces come to me about the week that passed. I walk around in a daze. I find shirts and other knickknacks. They still smell of him. Of comfort, filter coffee and incense.

***

2012. Not seeing him around is confusing. I keep thinking he is bathing or lying down. I am able to look at things he loved and while my throat clogs up, I think I am getting better at not being a wreck. There is a strange sense of deja-vu as I see people I saw last year. Some laughter tinged with tears, lots of memories and plenty of photo albums. I find myself talking to him and writing letters. I am clearing things up and I find an unopened bottle of his shaving cream. I look at his stamps, his books. Those accounts he kept of what and how much was spent where. There are random scribbles of his. As I look at the familiar scrawl the knot loosens a little.

***

2013. I am in a new place. New faces. A few idiots. I remember being angry with him for leaving. I am writing a letter to a friend. We go for a drive in the evening and there is a tense cold silence, shifting and moving. Suddenly we are near a small school and I talk while the dashboard is being subject to a stony glare and swear words. Suddenly my eyes are being shielded from the fierce glare of headlights with a palm. The heat coming off is gentle, like the fire warming your house. I smell his soap, the chocolate we shared and air freshener. Throughout the walk back home and after reaching I feel my heart galloping and I wonder if they can see in my eyes.. How my world faded away …

***

2014. This year has been awful so far. I think about how events would have played out if he were still alive. I wonder if the vacant expression on her face will vanish if he comes back, just for a moment… Or has she forgotten him too? I think about that moment when a fairy tale came to life and I wonder if I dreamed it up. I wait for the cold to dissipate and for the blood to start flowing again. I remember feeling guilty that I was feeling this .. this giddy… happy on the same date I lost someone. I am seeing with fresh eyes and yet I am longing for familiarity. I wish I didn’t have to write letters or talk alone as I try to bridge a distance that is insurmountable. I remember hearing that he was glad that the date wasn’t one of only loss anymore…

***

2015. I am wondering about DNA. Life. The entire day goes by and I remember rather late what the date is. Existential crises continue to swirl in my head when I look at the mirror and see that people who have gone, aren’t as gone as we think. That maybe their legacy will live on vicariously in you, even if they aren’t around anymore. That sharing their memories is how keep them alive. And I realize that even though it has been four years since I spoke to him I remember the finer details. Like him leaving paste over my brush after he brushed. The bottles of cold water. Groundnut candy. An anthology. I ask him why he left, swiping at stray, traitorous tears absent-mindedly. Amidst all this there are snatches of normalcy. Me being a fool in love.

***

2016. Now, it’s been five years. I thought I would never be able to get over the grief. And yet, here I am. I miss you terribly and I know it’s something that I will always carry around. As I am typing this, my eyes go to the clock as it ticks closer to the end of three years… I am opening random apps on my phone and grimacing at my impatience. Loss is a funny thing, isn’t it? You think you will never be able to get over something or someone who was so deeply entwined into your life. And yet, it morphs and it gets easier to breathe with time. Like a battle scar. Love is confusing. With each passing day, you are less sure of how to define it. Comes along when you least expect it, shakes everything up and leaves behind a flavour you will never be completely free of. Then again, do you want to be?

***

© My Rickety Typewriter, 2016; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

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A Full Circle

23 May

For home is whatever makes you complete. A person, a place or a hobby.

***

A ceaseless, self-perpetuating movie of a forever with you, pursues me, relentlessly. It persists through every waking moment, in sleep and in that free-floating plane where dreams and reality merge and become indistinguishable.

A small tug on my arm. A persistent voice, calling out, demanding I wake up. The hands touching my face softer than silk and conveying their urgency and need, effortlessly. The call of a child to her mother.. delighted at the prospect of finding her and already wanting to snuggle against her.

I open my eyes, only to stare into pools of green.. The kind of green that pushes its way through layers of snow to tell you that spring was on its way. The kind of green that catches the light and sparkles. 

I tried to get up and take her in my arms only to be restrained by your arm curled around my waist.. Undeterred, the little tyke climbed on to the bed and tumbled on to me, giggling at falling down. As I look up into her eyes filled with joy, I realize that this world is as real as her. A reality with threads spun from dreams. A world where I come home to you. A child born out of tenderness, yearning, rapture and surrender. Unconditional in her love and artless in her affection. 

And when she asked about her name, she was told of a star that shone, of an aubade from the heavens, of the wind that was her faithful companion, of certainty, of long winding roads, of spring, of new beginnings. Because she is the Aurora to our forever.

As she squealed with excitement, I turned around to see her being lifted up by you. Forever is with you, only you. Laughing, crying, simply being.. In your arms. Until I grow old and wrinkled. Until the light leaves my eyes. I am yours irreversibly. Just as you are mine.. As their daughter grew up, her favourite story remained the one about her name. And although they didn’t know it yet, another star was on its way.

The end of one journey and the beginning of another.

I want to make you mine. Brand you. Mark you. For the world to see who you are and whose you are. For I am equal parts conqueror and captive. I have lost all of me and yet won more than I am worth.

***

A/N- This is the sequel to Nasha and the last part to Aurora. Thanks for reading! I would love to know what you thought. Do leave a comment. Thanks 🙂

© My Rickety Typewriter, 2014; Vintage Ink.
No part of the text – partial or complete – may be copied/ reproduced or transmitted without prior permission from the author. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

Loss

1 Jun

Dedicated to the man who taught me to laugh, love, read and write. For all that you have taught me, big and small.

I’ll never be able to repay you for all that you were, for all that you taught. People may come and go, but their essence is what remains with us, along with their words.

I know, no better way to make eternal the man who made me fall in love with words than to write.

This is from me to you. I hope that wherever you are, you are happy.

***

The sound rang out piercing the quiet of the night, shrill and eerie. On the surface, everything seemed normal. Underneath, it felt like a storm was brewing, casting a dark cloud across my horizon. There was an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, that I couldn’t dismiss. Fidgeting on the bed, trying to sleep was when I heard the phone ringing, the sound magnified in the stillness of the night. The little red light flashed, once, twice. Before it rang the second time, my mother picked it up.

No preamble. “Yeah, okay. We will be there in five.”

“Ma, what‘s going on?”

“We have to go to Sriram Nagar.”, she tells my dad.

“Ma, what‘s going on?”

“Let me get my keys.”, says my father.

“MA, WHAT IS GOING ON?”

“————, okay? Stay here.”

I stare at her. I think I manage something close to a nod, at least my head moves, whether in acknowledgement or denial, I wasn’t aware. I keep looking at the clock after they leave. The glow in the dark numerals flash and say it’s nearly half past midnight. I tried sitting quietly, I really did, but I gave up after five minutes. I looked at the clock again only to see it is half past midnight. I decided to get the laptop and do something. I browsed through random stuff and waited for my parents to return. Every small noise seemed to be amplified. I resisted the urge to run there.

The doorbell rang. I ran to open it with my heart in my throat. I looked at my father wordlessly, but I knew already. He just shook his head. I blinked. “Try and get some sleep”, he said. I find that my legs have turned to jelly.. My father helps me to the couch.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

One, two, three, four…. hundred. 

I wait for the tears to fall, but nothing happens. I reach up to my eyes and my fingers come away, dry. I stayed on the computer till six in the morning.

***

Something touches my shoulder. I shake it off. It comes again, more insistent this time. I open my eyes to see my father. It’s seven in the morning. Huh! I had slept off on the couch. Trying to turn to take the crick out of my neck was when I remembered. I look to my father for confirmation. His eyes tell me all I need to know. I wear my shoes and I leave.

The mind is a funny thing. The things that you try hardest to deny are the ones that have already happened and which you have no control over, but also the ones which you know in your heart are true.

I go to see him. It doesn’t really hit me until I see him, lying so inert and peaceful with his eyes closed. I keep waiting for him to wake up, look at me and ask me to bring his glasses along with his rant about the newspaper print. I look to see his chest rise and fall rhythmically. I try to hear him breathe. I want to go push him. Yell. Tell him to wake up. I’m in a daze. Shock seems too mild a word to describe it. I look around for her. I see her sitting there, looking into space, lost. She hears me and looks up. Tears fill her eyes. Words fail us. I walk up to her and hug her. I’m not able to cry. I don’t understand how people are crying so easily. Everything seems too loud. I look at him again, just lying there. I look around and I feel the walls closing in. I am not able to breathe. I needed to get out of here. I run. Run the entire stretch back home.

***

Reality seems rather distorted. I don’t know what to do. It feels like the world has tilted on its axis. I call a friend. I climb the stairs and sit. There is so much is happening around me, but nothing seems to be solid. Memories that have been buried for years start trickling out.

***

My first real memory of him was with the film “Muthu”. I wanted to stay overnight at his place and watch it with him. Rajnikanth was my hero, but my mother wanted me back home, so I went, albeit reluctantly. I was about three years old then.

I remember going with him to the bank, Vijaya stores, every weekend and how he would always buy a 5 star for me and the shopkeeper would put it in a paper pocket and give it to me. If I wasn’t there he would buy it and keep it in the fridge and tell me in a gruff voice that there is something in the fridge for me. That never failed to excite me. It was a silent testimony that he always remembered me, even when he had urgent work at the bank. Even when it came to a point where he would get the groceries delivered home, he would remember.

I remember fighting for the remote, to watch my favourite cartoon shows while he wanted to watch cricket or movies. He then got tired of fighting for the remote every time and resigned himself to explaining the game of cricket to me when I was around five years old. He never allowed me or my brother to play there, though. This battle for the remote continued long after I was out of school, with the change in what we wanted to watch. Cricket we both agreed was first priority.

He loved animals and they loved him too. They didn’t need any encouragement to come to him, sit by him. All the cats and dogs in the neighborhood visited him at least once a day.

His food had to taste just right. He drank only cold water. Hot water is only for bathing, he used to say.

We used to play cards, carom, chess and brain vita.

He used to push me to work harder. He understood the drive to achieve.

He was fascinated by facts about different cultures, countries, people.

We used to fight, a lot. I used to be the only person in the entire family who would yell at him and he would yell right back at me.

He would get angry if I didn’t come to see him that weekend. We would sometimes fight and not talk to each other. When we next met, he would again yell saying that I never listen to him or respect him, conveniently forgetting that he was also fighting with me.

He was the one person I could never stay angry with, no matter what. He simply mattered too much. There were things that had to told, chocolates that had to be shared, only with him.

He taught me to go to the bank, update the pass-book, pay the phone bill. Go to the post office and update stuff.

He used to love the sea. He worked as a shipping manager.

He used to collect stamps, coins, articles he found interesting.

He had diabetes and used to fight with me for dairy milk. When I gave him one square, he would give this look that said, “What the hell? Just one?? Shut up and give 2 more.

He loved spaghetti, coffee, puff, dosa, bonda, bajji, coconut barfi, pickles, almonds.

He liked Mamooty, Mohan Lal, Suresh Gopi. He loved Carnatic music.

He used to the only one who used to side with me when I wanted to get my hair cut when I was small.

His command over English was brilliant. He used to love reading whatever I wrote. His grammar, sentence structuring was par excellence.

He would call me when appliances at home weren’t working.

I used to show him the certificates, trophies or anything I got, first. He used to be unbelievably happy and proud.

I used to wear his shirts when I was there.

He used to allow me to get Maggi, when everybody else said no.

I always used to lie down on his lap. He never complained even if it did hurt him.

He would yell at anybody in the family- my mother, my brother, if they made me cry.

He used to read the newspaper using a magnifying glass.

The number of times I have run from home because I was angry and gone there- too many to count.

He hated sloppiness. He loved the Windsor knots made by people in Hollywood movies. He loved the colour white.

He was a perfectionist. Meticulous. Determined. Persevering. Extremely organized. Incredibly stubborn. Very warm.

He was a man unparalleled by any and I love him more than I shall ever be able to describe.

Beyond death. Beyond life. Beyond infinity. Beyond the beginning. Beyond the end. Beyond time.

***

He was my grandfather and was the best any little girl could ask for, because no matter how old I became, I was always his youngest grandchild.

That was when the tears started falling. When it struck me that I won’t be seeing him anymore. Won’t be able to fight, talk, yell, hug, sleep on his lap, tell him about what was happening in my life.

Now, even after a couple of months, when I go there, I expect him to be around. I get a jolt every time he isn’t there.

I miss you thatha, every second of every day.

I love you.

I will make you proud, I promise.

© My Rickety Typewriter, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Vintage Ink and My Rickety Typewriter with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. The content is the intellectual property of the author. The above applies no matter what way the access to the blog was granted.

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