It has taken me almost a month to write this. And I still dont think it captures all that I feel and want to say to the man who meant everything to me.
I lost him on 6th March'07.
When I wrote this several images flashed by.
Of a 40 year old father who peeped into my nursery school with a brown paper bag that was to be my tiffin.
Of my father who gave me some hurried points on why proliferation of arms wasnt a great idea for the school debate. and also who told me that Salt Satyagrah happened across the nation and not only in Gujarat.
Of a man who choked when he told his sister that I had started writing for newspapers.
Who made me afternoon tea when I prepared for various exams.
Of a man who withdrew from the room when I announced being a bureaucrat was too much of hard work and I wasnt game for it.
Of a father who asked whats HR all about?
Of the decaying father who urged me to get Goldflake lights if I dont find Wills Navy Cut on his maiden trip to Bombay 6 months back.
Who held me before going to the hospital and said "looks like its the end".
If you count backwards hard, maybe you can hold your breath. May be if you spelt with your eyes shut And take your mind off that goddamn pain your kidneys will work If you persist your blood pressure will come Outside the ICU sits a woman, Her heart breaking into two parts Waiting to be told: “You can now take him home” Images of all the gods flash past her eyes And all the chants she forgot only for a second Find their way through her muted, scared lips May be, if you try hard enough tonight You can live
What is the smell of death? Disposable syringe smelling of freshly drawn dosages ? Acidic smelling ICU away from loved ones ? or the hurriedly dissolving incense In a 100 sq ft enclosure where you lay shrouded in white muslin
What is its touch? Biting mosquitoes outside a dimly lit ICU or pricking syringes through shriveled veins or a hurried touch To hands that tiptoed in
How does it taste? like the last half eaten chapatti or the sweet holy water dripping all over the muslin or just a strange chocolate Just like Life.
What is a dying man’s thought? A praying woman sacred chants eluding her or a daughter who refused to believe take it at face value or a daughter, who peered through a slit to watch life’s last spectacle or the son forced to be father Always without a buy-in did you carelessly shrug To all who mattered ?
In a dark night You lay there, indifferent As we sat in turns when finality struck us Unawares, Unprepared A cold night That taught us Life’s hardest lesson Of living Without a part of us.
They say time, Give it time All will heal. I wonder how Who will I say Those thousands Unsaid things to ? Who will I read The editorial of TOI to ? Who will I Think of When I cook red meat And how will I smile Indulgently when I see Someone smoking How will you know Last time I got angry It was not for real. And that Every time I said Bye, I meant to talk more.