Category: Personal

Random Musings from not so recent past – I


       

         He wished, it rained yesterday, when he was with him 

         He loved listening to his poetic voice rambling stories of bygone youth, to the music of                      rain drops
         He loved leaning onto his fragile chest and listening to the melody of his heartbeat
         He loved holding his hands and walking in the rain in gay abandon
         He loved to hear him recite Tagore Poems.

         He wished it rained yesterday, for he could have had a last rainy day with his grandpa.

        


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A new beginning

My Sixth day of staying at home. 
I felt different, for all other times, I had been home. It was just the company of three dogs, a few dozen books, my Ghazal collection, a few friends hanging by home and the otherly men stuff. This time it was all different. Dad called me up, before I left to home. This was our conversation.


Me: Hello dad,

Him: yup febi, how are you?

Me: I didn’t want to make it difficult for him, so I chose to speak for what he had called me in the first place. “fine, I got your mail.”


Him: “I’m sorry about it, hope you don’t mind.” I did sense his hesitation. 

Me: I really mind dad, I just cannot entertain them. (though I felt like shouting those words at him. I didn’t) Instead, “Fine by me, dad”

Him: Thanks Sonny, I appreciate that.

Me: Not a problem, dad….

Him: hmmm… what?

Me: “Drive safe”, I don’t know why I spoke those words.. I never ever remotely spoke to him, liked I cared, in all these years. 

It was a week back.  Dad came home and left. I am here, with his family. It sounds strange to know that my dad has a family, to which I don’t claim to be a member. It was a thorough discomfort to be put up under the same roof, I did felt bad for me, for them and then for us.

Initially.

I chose to be myself, slept and woke up at my own. She had been not so pushy, but made sure that I was looked after. She got milk to the bed in the morning, prepared vegetable/fruit salads in the noon, got curd and rice for dinner. All through her stay, she avoided rotis, which I’m sure dad would have informed her about my hatredness for roti and aloo. It kind of made me difficult to be at home, for all that she had been to me, I never had a kind word or smile for reciprocation. 

It was good to see a new warmth-filled touch to home, which only a woman-mother can give, the sight of kids at home, running around, keeping Tuffy, leila and Yoppy busy all through the day. They were a bunch of never-tiring-souls. Seeing them in action made me feel good. I remember one noon, when I was about to leave somewhere, I saw the younger one, compelling her mom to take her out to the nearby lake, to which she was blatantly refusing. As I walked by, the little one, shouted, “Can’t chetta take us out in his bike?” 

I noticed that the girl spoke to her mom in Hindi. Till then, I had been in an illusion that she was a Malayalee. She spoke a perfect malayalam. Then I remembered dad, asking me to help her with anything, if she wants, as she was not so fluent with the local language. 

The girl, then  burst into tears and sobbed into her mom’s lap. I looked at her mom, she gave me a embarrassed smile. I went to her and patted the little girl and asked her if she wants to accompany me to the lake. She was all smiles. Before I could turn around, there was the other kid, who ran up to me and held my hand. And she had this beautiful pleading smile on her face, with which all my defense melt away. I suddenly felt like that big bro, whose only duty was to love and give. 

As I kicked my engine and veered off to the gate, the kids were waving frantically at their mom, I saw her, wiping her eyes with the corner of her pallu. It was the first time, I noticed the similarity.  She always wore a cotton Saree. 

I was mad at her, the second day, when I saw her getting out of the master bedroom. I Know it was no business of mine, where she stays, what she does at the house, which ceased to be a home for me. I was frowned up  and I snapped at her the full day for no reasons. I felt bad. I know that I cannot go to her and make it up for my rudeness. 

I had been waiting to grab a chance and these kids made it. 

we returned around five in the evening, with the kids dresses fully wet and smudged with mud. They were holding a bag full of chocolates, cakes and other fruits picked from our woods nearby and started to tell their tales. All through the time of the kid’s narrative excitement, she was looking at me. I could sense the gratitude in her glance. Then I realized how much grounded the kids would have felt, being put up at home. 

Next day morning the kids came to my bed to wake me up. It was nothing new. It would be either yoppy/leila/tuffy who would be doing that every day and wake me up from my paradise-sleep. They woke me up and urged me to get ready, soon they were in the bed, playing and three dogs took turns to lick me out of sleep. I could only choose to get up. 

They took me out that day and wanted me to play with them. I felt awkward first, then felt the child leashing out of me. We were playing football and Yoppy out of no-where brought the water-hose. That handsome-brute loves to get spoiled in water. All through the time, we were playing in the garden, their mom was watching us from the porch. It was the same what my mom did when I played with friends and my kid bro.

That day evening,  I got down to stay in the porch for a while, as it was a moonlit night.  She was sitting at the porch. She greeted me, with her warm smile. I sat beside her. We spoke for the first time.  It was quite a natural conversation. It wonders me to know that she knows a lot about me more than my dad could have ever bothered to know about me. 

It felt good. She thanked me for taking the kids out and playing with them, telling me that they really liked being in my company. I told her that I felt really good and more alive in their company. Then I saw the book  in her lap, “One hundred years of solitude” by Marquez. It was a surprise for me to know that she is a reader. I had seen her other times, either in the kitchen cooking with music plugged in, working in the garden, playing with the dogs, attending her kids, knitting, painting, All these days, I had never seen her hooked to the TV, not even a second.  Something that I had seen only in my mom. 

Could it be that, my dad fell for the same woman in her too as how he fell for a woman thirty years back in my mom ?

For one-thing I never realized that I started considering her mom. And I don’t want to do what I did to my own mom- To hate, for all that she had been to me. It is quite complex to explain everything. The way I loved my mom and the way I wanted my dad and my mom to be together. I didn’t understand them or their love. All I had been was rude and arrogant. I never showed a inkling of love and care to my own mom all through her living years. For all the time I cried every-night, with her next to my room, and never showing my love. My one act of Kindness would have made it easy for both of us, would have healed our bitter-past. Yet I didn’t. 

I don’t want to do the same to her, my mom. My sister’s mom. I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I don’t want to destroy the family as How I brought my own home to ruins. I want to love them. I want to love my dad, love my mom, more than my own mom, as I understand that’s the only way I can seek my mom’s forgiveness. 

I’m tired of a life without a family around. I Hope my dad lets me into his family. 


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Recycled Post 4: The reluctant unfading memory

It Was a November morning washed with light. After days of mist and showers of heavy rain the sun seemed like a gift, an invitation to get out and live. The sun rose after a little raining behind the little walls of cemetery. It lightened the gravestones with an aura of golden light and dark shadows. The mist rose from the glistening grass. The raindrops fell softly on the wooden roof. The clouds were chasing each other. The church was filled with the smell of wet earth. The wind blew gently with a soft whisper.

There was a huge gathering in the church with no signs of joy or merry. There was sadness, more that the sadness, an emptiness in everyone’s face in the congregation gathered around the coffin.

She appeared calmer and prettier than ever. She was dressed in pink, at least now she appeared in the pink of her health. Except for her long battle, she looked like an angel descended from heaven. She wore a rosary bead and there was a genuine smile on her face. The family stood huddled together. Tears trickled down from her mother’s face. She looked ill and fragile in her white sari. Her brother stood next to her mother holding her in his arms.

Her coffin was made of rosewood with medium mahogany, rich colored, double molded furnished with gold fittings neatly lined throughout with interior bed in pink. It had elegantly engraved corner panels furnished with quality handles and screws. She felt more comfortable in her coffin bed. The priests prayed and read out verses from the Bible. The sad singing started again and they sang in chorus the same sad verse again. She lay perfectly in her bed. I could see her smiling charmingly at people, but nobody smiled back. Minutes later, her coffin was lowered into the ground.

I slowly turned back with tears in my eyes and walked to a little distance. Hours before she was alive, her dreams were alive, but now she was still. She had lived for more than twenty years and now she is now more. How could people be so shockingly rude to acknowledge it ? I wonder how someone who lived all her twenty years could disappear on a single day.

I stood there glaring into the woods to awaken myself into the past.

Two years before, we had a party in her honor. People brought gifts, laughed, sang, danced, and hugged the healthy girl. It was not her birthday; the party was given at a hospital to keep her spirits up. I was standing then by her side. She reassured me with the boldness dazzling in her eyes.

Her once athletic body was now swollen and exhausted, stricken by a vicious disease leukemia- an acute form of leukemia. Her white-cell count was 3,00,000- thirty times higher than the normal. A white cell count of 3,00,000 could prove fatal if untreated. More obviously, her bone marrow was manufacturing leukemia cells very rapidly. She was not concerned about her ill health. She just wanted to go home- home to her dog Leila, her friends, and her brother who could tease her out of the most serious mood and make her smile. Most of all she wanted to be with her parents. Her mom in a glance could read her daughter’s face. There was vulnerability and fear, but there was also a look she had seen many times when she was ready at the beginning of a race. She could feel her daughter fortifying herself for the ensuing battle with cancer.

I could see the fear in her face. I understood her prospect of leaving her family; her friends and her life, which scared her deeply. Even with all the trouble, she kept her uneasiness at bay and appeared fully energetic. She played sports, swam, went running in the early morning hours, greeted everyone with a charming hello, walked Leila regularly, took her to the vets and loved her more. Her inner voice didn’t help her in keeping up her faith and spirit. I heard her mom saying that she never complained in any of her chemotherapy sessions. I felt like asking “Didn’t that really hurt you?” or “You didn’t let out a cry!”

She never stopped walking and running – though each day, she fought back the exhaustion of her drug and radiation treatment, her walks grew shorter. She slept, woke, took up phone calls, visited the people she loved and never gave up reading till the end. The therapy exhausted her, bloated her and made her bald. The last day she complained of a heavy heart and that was the final sign that her cocktail treatment of chemicals and radiations didn’t help her. She suffered a terrible pain. She finally fell back to sleep, too tired to live. She breathed her last in her mother’s lap…

Hundreds of people rose to their feet, singing sadly to the music on November 8, the day of her Last Journey.

I walked back to her home. It looked like a deserted house with the sunlight streaming into the living room. I walked straight to her room. Leila followed me. The room appeared lively with pin-ups of her favorite personalities with whom she always lived. There was a photograph of her in a wedding gown. She had a great fascination for dresses. I remembered the words once she uttered to me in shyness. “I want you to be the ‘best man’ in my wedding!” Her table was covered with a stack of letters that she and her siblings wrote to Santa Claus. Her keyboard, her music-system, her PC sat idle. Except for her Bible all her books were set aside.

I walked out to the patio, sat on the ground. Leila came and sat between my legs, licked my face. I hugged her and kissed her head with tears in my eyes.

Life was good with her on a summer porch, endless days filled with sun rays, daydreams, books, music, movies, butterflies and bottomless pitchers of lemon juice. I could never forget the beautiful rendezvous we had, the warm friendship we shared and her twinkling dimple smile. The melody of her voice will echo across oceans and continents traveling through air straight to the hearts of people who knew her well. Let her smile speak merrily to the glow of a million pearls.

I wonder why God chose her for this. I know the drive back to my life will be an endless journey of hurting thoughts and emotions.

I stood there. I didn’t cry because I couldn’t cry. Suddenly all these strange feelings left and my face delighted at seeing Her. She smiled at me and we walked, talking to each other in thoughts….

P.S: To the one who taught me the healing nature of words and the never-tiring attitude of love. Turning twenty six today, No matter where you’re. You are alive in each of us, as Morrie tells, “Death ends a life, not relationships.”