As a kid I remember Star News flashing the famous line ‘The world changes in 30 minutes’ and me a stickler for news channels courtesy the absence of channels like Aaj Tak and Headlines lapped this up for ‘school time profound talks’! Well my world changed in the midst of 2 posts.
When I wrote the last post, she was still around and me the youngest brat who though couldn’t get away with murder, but whose pout could make her fetch the moon. Today as I type this, I am the one who has to take care of the generation which lost their ‘head of the family’.
Sometimes all it takes is a small step from your own side to change the world. Sometimes all it takes is a small step by an external force to make you grow up over night.
If someone asks me what changed I wouldn’t be able to tell you. How can you summarise the loss of a person whose ideologies make up you – whose words are exactly of what you had heard 2 decades back and then never thought that you would think the same way. Overnight I suddenly feel too grown up, I feel that there’s no lap where I can smell cinnamon and wisdom together, and for today I have to extend my own for the son who is still taking his time to come to terms with reality.
The home has suddenly become a ‘house’ because there’s no name to call out as I climb the steps to the top floor – a ritual she mandated as we entered the home, for to her no calling of her name by us was enough.
The reference in ‘past tense’ suddenly makes all linguistic skills and rules of grammar too monarchic – why there has to be a sudden gap of what is and what was. Guess I’ll never know.
Death – she knew it scared me and protected me from it with a ferocious intensity. I have never been to a house or a place where there lay a departed soul. Yesterday she made face reality for the first time and to the core. From the time they switched off the monitors leaving me to make the final announcement to the family, to the time they called me to take her from the ICU to the waiting area – she made me be acquainted be death step by step. All throughout holding my hand, just like childhood. My last hours as her princess were well spent.
I remember her narrating these lines to me, when her brother departed and she held me close as she gathered courage to explain me I wouldn’t meet one of my favourite people ever again. She spoke the words of Tagore loud and clear, -“Moron jedin aashbe amar duaare, Shedin tumi ki dhon debe tahaare???”
The full verse written in English by him narrated:
On the day when death will knock at thy door
What wilt thou offer to him?
Oh, I will set before my guest
The full vessel of my life –
I will never let him go with empty hands.
All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days
And summer nights, all the earnings and gleanings
Of my busy life will I place before him
At the close of my days
When death will knock at my door.
Thank you all for your message, comments, calls and constant support. Thanks Brat for the wonderful insight into Wendy and Peterpan last night – do you know I was sitting beside her then. Thanks Amit and Minal for the constant hugs. Thanks Baisali, Uma, Nu, Nuttie, Sakshi and Tan for just being there and listening to my state ever so patiently. Maybe she decided to leave knowing I have all of you who’ll help me welcome ‘adulthood’, no matter how much I hate it!
You’ll live on as my Wendy forever…