“The summer my grandmother died, I walked around with too large a hole in my being for others too see, and me to plug.
That summer, I had attended seminars on oppressed poets, and thinkers who had been cast out of their homelands.
And every word they had said to me, had filled the spaces between my ribs with new fires. These were people who had lost all they had loved, yet never broke down into hopeless servitude of their destiny.
After the one and a half hour presentation finished, I felt I could take on anything, no matter how earth shattering, and not be put down again.
But what they hadn’t mentioned, is that you’re never prepared.
What they hadn’t taught me, was that when someone went away, you could no longer be the person you were before they left.
Death and being left to pick up the pieces after, hurts like fuck. And nothing can make you ready for it.
What I had learnt, is that there will be pain, but underneath, the scar tissues will heal. That you could smell her boroline and hear her advising your mother not to put too much salt in the pickle, but all those sounds will gradually fade away into radio static.
I had learnt that you never got over anyone’s absence, but you learnt to get on with it, till the pain wasn’t as brutal as to melt your being into a drifting depression, but soothing enough to keep her alive in you.
I had learnt that after all was said and done, you’d still listen to that Rabindrasangeet you always hated, or go to the terrace to pick up left-to-dry sarees you previously never wanted to, because they remind you of her now.”
What’d I tell my grandmother if I had the chance to now?
I’d tell her how the maid she scolded for n being late, comes habitually early now. That the clothes she always remembered to buy for the maid’s son, fit him finely.
That mother has finally learnt how long to steam tender jackfruit, and discovered her first grey hair.
And most of all, I’d tell my grandmother;
One day, I hoped to grow up into the wonderful lady she always had been.”