Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When a loved one dies, a world in us dies

There was just one thing numbing my mind all through the afternoon and the night of 20th July. Disbelief.
It was not possible to anticipate how ajja, could have left.
But well, he had.
And that I had not met him for a very long time, painted an emotion very hard to describe.

Restlessness engulfed me, until it was settled that few of us family would travel to siddapur in a private van. Meeting family gives a sense of roots, in some way, and in these circumstances, I was glad to be with family- uncles and cousins.

What started as a journey from Bangalore to Siddapur, was rather a painful trip down memory lane. It brought back in packets, all the other journeys that have been taken from any starting point that meets at Siddapur.. Bangalore to Hubli to Siddapur, Bombay to Hubli to Siddapur. Hubli to Siddapur ofcourse is the one route I could blindly drive, for all the infinite trips we took for occasions like nagpanchmi, ganesha habba, deepavali, new year parties and many visits without the need for one than just going to siddapur...
Driving to Siddapur, was a drive back to the roots, back to home, to puttappan kere, neergudi, back to kith and kin,
back to ajja and ammamma...

The first thing we all did when we reached was meet ajja, touch his feet and hug him. He was a towering figure without being overpowering.

Somehow, Siddapur tantamounts to ajja, and that's not no exaggeration.

My train of thoughts halts at 3 am. We are in Siddapur. At the gate. The silence of the night is engulfing. And what we see- shattering. My dearest grandfather, lays still. And ammmama deareast, bereft of Ajja's life force....

I couldn't contain myself, much as everybody else, all we could do was weep some and some more... the man who touched our lives with unique relationships and equally with his persona, had left with a void, that can never be filled again....

And I jotted these thoughts in (I)as we all sat before him till the dawn of 21st July....

How still he lay, he lay bold
Body so cold and old
A legend with him lay still.

A life lived so full
So full a life lived.

He lay still, yet so calm
Almost a smile that curves his gentle lip.
A man of word, a man of deed, lay still.

Noon to dusk he lay still.
Flowers all around him.
Tears, all for him.
Those of appreciation and gratitude
For all he did, for all he lived.

Where is he gone from here on… ?
The head-man of this herd, its tusker
… is gone.

Wake up just once
Let me speak to you just once
Let me make you laugh just once
I want to hear that gurgling laugh and hug you
... Just once

(We are all here, together, almost all of us
Wont you share a light moment
And bask in your basket of kids, grandkids and greatgrandkid?)

His body lay still
Rituals, ceremonies and rites are done unto him
We pour water over him, cold water on his already cold body
The last that I get to touch his feet
Get his blessings, even in death
(And tears wash us, flooding us with memories, his loss and his emptiness)

His body lay still
As he's upheaved on a wooden stretcher
His tonsured-head sons, brave it in white
Never did I see a tear in my father's eye
Now, I see, as his father moves on with life

Rituals, non-descript rituals
That do not tell any tale
They are seemingly embedded in some code
That drudge on the deathly ceremonies

He still, lay still
As his body is adorned, on a sandalwood pyre
Its all set to burn his body to ashes
Log after log, covers him up
Until we have that last and final glance of him
And a slow and steady fire that is flaming the end of an era

Time burns out moment after moment
Leaving us with raging memories in the mind's eye
and photographs for the eye...

(Time is death
It eats the world we make bite by bite
Until the one day when a world in us dies
Cos a loved one has left the world to fragments of memories and photographs...)


Anonymous said...

Yes Simi...I really wish you could have made him laugh just one last time...anu

Forty6 said...

straight from the heart it is.
But, isn't it odd that we pour cold water, while we are awash in lukewarm salt water straight from our eyes?

not anonymous at all said...

My prayers and good thoughts are for you, today.

Every bad thing that ever happens has one thing in common with every other - they all come to an end. So, grief eases, and someday, we can laugh without feeling disloyal.

Grief nurtures our ability to love others all the better from then on, and it purifies our ability to love until by our old age, it becomes as pure as the love your grandfather had for you. Someday your grandchildren will write beautiful poetry inspired by your love for them, which you learned at your grandfather's feet.

As long as your heart holds it, your grandfather's love for you will never die, and it will live in the love your grandkids get from you. Love cycles forward forever.

I wish you peace.

Enigma said...

" When a loved one dies, a world in us dies"
yup i could relate to wht u siad. i lost my adda 5 yrs back it was ahrd to digest few yeras but then again its ahrd to forget, iam toattly a diff person now i feel a part of me died with him