Sunday, January 3, 2010

drop memory

One and a half years is what it takes. Maybe less. There is an end to grief after all. There can be lessening both of pain and of guilt. All the things they said about time were true, up to a point.

If I hadn't separated every thread of my loss and noted its colour, if I hadn't thought and thought about death, if I hadn't done all of what I have for the last 18 months, perhaps time would have done a different job.

A year ago, new year's eve: at Vasanta Vihar, Chennai. Something on the train made me want to spend that new year there, solitary, in K's place. As it happened, there was a New Year party at the place next door, and I could hear all the yowling and determined celebration. But in that one day, everything fell away - all the confusion, cotton-woolliness of the last six months. Places do have their spirit and K's was strong there.

That day, that transition, like a flame cupped through the year has brought me to now.

There's nothing more to be said. There was a person, now there isn't. There was a mass of emotion and incomprehension. That has now been dropped.

Consumatum Est.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

what i didn't do

I didn't use the photo of you, my footprints and the camera. It was to be the centre-piece of the exhibition, a very small print, almost missable. In the end, I didn't use it.

I didn't think of you for three or four days in a row. Only now that Amma is away and I think of how her not being around is exactly like your not being around - one day both of you will return.

It's been a year and five months: I didn't count. (Though on the 3rd I did, realising also that it was a Thursday).

Nothing feels as acute anymore; only, perhaps, the betrayal of such a moving on.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


A drawer-full of his handwriting that I can't bear to throw out or read over.

And then, because it was time to file IT returns, I open the relevant files. And I see a form he signed some time in March last year, for this year's returns.

Provident and far-seeing but not far-seeing enough, Appa. What returns will I file on your behalf for three months' worth of pension?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Talking to myself, really

Where are you when I need you, Appa?

I could use your good sense and calm, and ability to meet every situation head-on no matter how unfamiliar, overwhelming or strange. Whatever happens we will face.

I guess. But I could use the talking to you. I could do with your reassurance. I need your ability to break it down into manageable little parts, one baby step at a time.

Your absence is bitterly ironic. You knew this would happen, didn't you? You knew and yet you left. Of course, if you had stayed, beyond all ability, the only thing I would have learnt is that you could no longer help. So of course, I'm glad you didn't stay to see your helpnessness reflected in my face.

Whatever happens we will face.

But. It's no manner of use expecting me to step into your shoes, you know. I can't do it.

So I'm panicking and I'm ready to give up. I'm about to throw the towel in and say, it's all too much, find someone else to do all this.

And you're not here to talk me out of it. Or to encourage me and list out what the worst is that could happen (which is nothing much at all. Rationally I know this).

Whatever happens we will face.

Damn it, Appa, I'm not grown up enough for this. Please come back and tell me what's best to do.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Signs of Aging

Signs of aging: when you don't want the year to end, no matter what it brings.

Friday, July 3, 2009


N.V.Swami: 4th July 1937-3rd July 2008

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last Legs

The last consultation.
The last ride home.
The last look at the outside.
The last laugh.
The last injection.
The last long look at the panchangam.
The last injection.
The last meal.
The last fight.
The last good night.
The last long conversation.
The last blessing.
The last walk to the bathroom.
The last breath.