From Life to Death and Back!

​A loss is a loss. When we lose people to death, the vacuum remains but with time our scars do get healed and we do knowingly or unknowingly move on. But when we lose a person to himself, there is no return. Zaara was standing at this point in her life. She had lost her mother and she no longer recognized her father. He was not the same man he used to be. She didn’t cry but tears tore her heart apart. She was chained into the heaviness of emotions around her. She knew her mother won’t come back, but what she truly feared was will she ever be able to get her Dadda back. See him as the vibrant man he once was. Two months had passed and with every passing day she realized that the chances of return were getting bleaker. Fading hope and isolation together caught up on her. 

She had friends. Few good ones. But she always saw sympathy in their eyes. It was like everyone was trying to console her for the loss she had overcomed so bravely. Her true loss was of which no one knew. 

She juggled between office and home. Trying her best to take care of her father. Things went from bad to worse. She seldom thought of how unforgiving love could be. What does it eventually bring us to? After all their fights, arguments and disagreements, they still loved each other. When it couldn’t find expression in life, it found itself more profound in death. 

She thought of consulting a doctor to counsel her as to what is that there needs to be done. She called up relevant people and took appointment with a practicing Psychotherapist. She didn’t think it wise to take her father to the clinic. She thought it would be best to get to know things before making up his mind to undergo treatment. 

There was a war going on between her mind and heart. The man who couldn’t see her daughter cry had not looked upon her to enquire if she was doing good. If he had lost her, she had too. And she was on the verge of losing him. And she didn’t think she had the strenght to face it.

She sat in the car and took a deep breath. She needed to focus and keep her head straight. If she failed, he would fail with her. And hope would be lost to destiny. She had just got the engine started when someone knocked on the window. It was her Dad. He gave a bright smile and signalled her to open up the door. She did. Her face knew no emotion. Nor did her heart. He told her to take him to the grocery store in the main market. She agreed. She drove. They didn’t talk. She had a lot of questions to ask but she stayed mum. 

He bought his favorite soda drink, picked up a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits.  He then went to the nearby bakery. She dropped him back home. She told him that she had some work and that she would be home soon. 

When she returned from the clinic, she saw the entrance lit up with colorful LED lights. She felt a bit uncomfortable as she entered the hallway. It was all dark inside. And then suddenly with a hue of laughter and shout, she heard the words-‘Happy Birthday.’ And there he stood, the man she  had waited to see for so long. She dropped to her knees. And first time in several months,she cried. She cried. And the  guests looked at her with sympathy. Her father came and sat down on his knee. He kissed her forehead. He said, “You have been brave my girl. More brave than I ever could be. I am sorry that you had to see me destroy myself. Somehow your Hero was no longer your savior. And you smiled for me. Even when you lost her. More when you lost me.’ 

Zaara just looked at his eyes. She could see herself in them. His baritone was melody to her ears. She wiped her tears with her wrist. She slowly got up and went to her room. As her father looked her go, he felt weak again. She returned after a while, draped in a cotton zari saree. Her father smiled. Meera, he whispered. 

A Quarter Cup of Tea & Home

​It was a late sunday afternoon. My mother was preparing tea and my father was watching some intense political discussion on television. I was feeling lazy and decided to do nothing. But you never can achieve this lazy goal of doing nothing. Infact, you end up doing something more magical than you thought you ever could. My mom called for me as the tea was ready. There is something very special about that cup of tea that my tastebuds crave for it when I am away from home. Even if I hadn’t asked for one, she would smuggle a quarter cup from her share and that without any change in preparation becomes sweeter. 

She asks if I need anything to eat. Biscuits, bread, sweets. I refuse. My dad’s tea is getting colder. He is still into that debate. I move back into my room. I stare at the pattern of the bedsheet. The colourful threads running in the most amazing fashion. I stare at other things in my room. The wardrobe, the bookshelf and then the curtains. In this entire setup of furniture and upholstery, I find the colours, patterns, reflections merging onto one another creating such a serene environment. I see them everyday, but they never fail to charm me. Everything has a story, a memory attached to it. Perhaps that is why they say old is gold. 

My phone rings and it is my brother on the other side. The conversation begins with a tone of excitement. We talk for a while, with me doing most of the talking. It is a rather long conversation that we have everyday. Details of everything I did during the day, and to my amazement though I actually didn’t do anything of use, I have so much to tell. About all the little things that happened, about the future plans for the day. While I didn’t have one when I started talking to him, I do have one now. To pen down such overflowing thoughts. About how this set of old furniture is still precious to me, about this perfect cup of tea and about how these seemingly useless things are of utmost value in one’s life. These fine threads in our lives is all that matters.

I am growing up. And I realize how difficult it is getting for me to stay in touch with such memories in my desire to achieve it all. In the heat of the city, somehow we forget to smell the damp soil. We forget to remind ourselves about our roots. 

‘The tree stands locked in soil. It looks around with pride. Taller and taller it grows. It still stands on ground, it doesn’t know. The earth then shakes with might. Its roots still holds it tight. And before him lies a graveyard. It was his roots that proved to be its savior.’

And as we engage ourselves in this perpetual competitive wars, we become indistinguishable. Our identity perishes. 

‘The black ash with time shall merge and we will then search ourselves in other’s soul. We lie scattered in the infinite. Time did claim it’s share. Of what little is left, we need to gather. Or else the mirror will fail to reflect’

Someday, I see myself watching an intense political discussion on the television. My wife would be me making tea for me. But it will not be the same. That sunday afternoon’s essence will be lost. Afterall Sundays are all about Dads being at home.  Afterall there will be no one to share with me that quarter cup of tea. My tea would be getting colder and the sound of television would hover. I will miss it. But I can never get it back. 

‘How we refuse to live in the moment! The little things in the little time. We fail to smile at things we have and frown on things we don’t. And though its never late, the rest is spent on regret.’

The quarter cup of tea and home is where my heart you will always find . It is where my traveling soul shall find solace at the settling tide.

Story of the Forgotten Girl

​There sat on a mother’s lap- a girl,         Her eyes scanned the open sky,         When she saw the birds soar high.         All she wanted was to fly. 

There sat on a bench- a girl,                   Her eyes found pleasure in words,             A pile of books when she read.                All she wanted was to dream. 

There sat on a palanquin- a girl,           Her eyes forced low, for she had to be shy.                                                                       A wedding gown, sparkling jewellery when she wore,                                             All she wanted was to be unchained.

There sat on a pyre- a girl,                       Her eyes were closed, her body scarred. When she woke in heaven’s arm,           All she wanted was to never go back. 

The lap, the bench, the palanquin,         All empty shall remain.                             She could have soared high, dreamt and made it true,                                                 The world says she didn’t try. 

Oh, what do you know of her story?     Her struggle, her pain, her agony.         She had a heart, she did fight back,       She may have failed, but courage she didn’t lack. 

What society did, what society does.     No questions raised, truth is left to die.      History has forgotten her,                        The pages didn’t leave her side.