It has been a very, very rough week. I’d gone to Bhubaneshwar for a couple of days. For someone’s bereavement. It was odd. It was unreal. And the time I spent sitting inside a hut consoling the person’s widow or telling his kids that they mustn’t worry…I felt, I don’t know, arrogant. I felt that every surviving person in that room was arrogant. For assuming that life will go on, that death is inevitable, and that you couldn’t cry over what you couldn’t change. And yet, I think, that arrogance is necessary. It’s what picks you up from this gutter of despair and thrusts you into a horrible unknown. But you deal with it because, it’s inevitable, right? We all know that. We who haven’t died yet.
Work has been crazy. And travel has been crazy. And the toothache keeping me up at nights and hurting me when I breathe or swallow or live has been crazy. Just feels like a little bit of me gets eroded each moment. I wonder when that erosion will stop. Not that I want it to, really. I am curious to see what is there under it all. What will I be doing when I die? What will I be thinking?
My cook – the man who was with us for 30 years – passed away. Suddenly – in the train back to Bombay from Orissa. He was sipping tea one minute, the next minute he slumped over. His family saw that. He just…
What that man meant to my family – my entire family – i.e. – my parents, brother, grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins…what he meant to all of us is what we have been thinking over the past ten days. Life just feels so short and laughable. His wife said that if she’d had enough time, she could have done something. Showed him to a doctor, called someone…
It’s such a hard battle to fight – regret. How can you combat feelings of ‘If only’ time after time? In the last six months, two people I know very closely have died. And every time I think of them, I wonder why I didn’t guess that the moment we last saw each other – that was the last time I was seeing them.
My cook’s demise is very hard to get over. I wasn’t there when it happened. I was woken up from sleep when the news was communicated to me. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand. Yes, it’s not that I wasn’t able to accept what had happened, but I couldn’t understand it. What did it mean that he was dead?
It was much harder writing to my brother, who’s on ship at the moment. He sent me 3 emails over 2 days, asking exactly the same thing. How? What? Why? As if I know. As if they know – his family who were with him at the time. Of course, I try not to react anymore. I mean, it was death and it was disturbing, but one can seek solace in certain facts – he did not suffer much, he was with his family, he was a very, very good man who was generous enough to share his life with us. And now that my brother and I are grown-up and earning, we are actually in a position to help the family in ways that matter.
But all said and done, I am feeling quite inadequate. I’m not doing anything earth-shattering with my life. It’s not a very remarkable existence, and yet, I can’t understand it.