Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just want some rest

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.

Pitiable, really.

9 comments:

Mumbai Diva said...

I'm sorry.
One feels so inadequate. I had to call up someone and pay regrets as her dad had passed away. On the phone. It was terrible.
I'm glad you can help the family.
And get your tooth checked. There is nothing that adds more to misery than an aching tooth.

Satandit said...

~Hey M, I wish I could say/do something to make you feel better; but like you said words are inadequate. However, I do think that you going there and being w/ the family and continuing to support them is something that'll help heal the pain..slowly.

And, since you're a new mumbaikar..theres' this really good dentist opposite the nerul station, just beside an idbi atm (on the main road) {Dr. Amit something or the other,he sits in the eve' from 5-9pm or so} - he is really good. Get something done before they have to pull out that nagging tooth out,girlfriend.

Hugs and more strength to you~

omnithere said...

satandit> she's not a new mumbaiker ...

Mukta said...

hi mumbai,

yep...over the phone can be...its tough on both parties.

Hi Satandit,

I'm not at all new to bombay re...bred and corrupted here. have just moved to pune and delhi for a bit in between. :-) but thanks for the doctor's reference! nerul is close enough to Vashi, so will go there this weekend. thanks

Hi J,
will call you later this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

i think what satandit meant was you are a "New Bombay" kar.
divakar was a good man and he went like how all good men go. quickly and peacefully. death is like a surreal mystery... and pain to those who are left behind is inevitable...
be easy on yourself mukta.
- anumita

Mukta said...

hi anumita! oh yeah - new bombaykar...yes... so, how have you been? foot healed and all?

The Idle Devil said...

I'm very sorry.

Satandit said...

~LOL! I did mean that since you're a navi mumbai resident , atleast from what I gleaned off off your posts !! Thanks Anumita....

roop said...

i am so sorry to read this but must say, you've written it very well. all the emotions that we feel in such a situation were aptly put across. writing's a great way to come to terms with the circumstances. u're right about arrogance. we have to somehow force ourselves to move on.

i hope ur tooth feels better soon.