My heart cracked and ached as my grandfather hobbled out till the gate and applied vermilion paste and rice grains to our foreheads for good luck before we departed.
What would it feel like to live with someone for a few years shy of fifty?
To lose that someone?
He stepped in to fulfill the role of a mother and a father to my mother, as she learned to live without my naani.
Being the eldest of four siblings, mum shared everything with her.
I cannot gauge the loss of a parent; I saw my mother fall apart as my grandmother was cremated.
I felt nothing. It was too unreal. Even after I was home, I would expect the doorbell to ring and there she would be, chuckling that we thought she’d gone away.
She was a fighter. Her face was softened by kindness and grace. Resilience too; she dealt with the most unfavorable of cards dealt to her in the spirit of the game and suddenly, she went away.
That she was mortal never really occurred to me. She was my naani, she loved being with us and she loved being happy.
She’s always been around. She will always be around.
I was in the tenth grade when my father called. My last pre-board examination had ended; I reached home, packed what I could find and left for the nursing home she was admitted to.
My grandmother’s siblings were there too. Chatting, assuring each other that it would be fine. Their eldest sister would be back in shape in no time.
Tubes and wires snaked in and out of her: that’s the best my memory has to offer.
I did not even enter her room because I knew she’d come back. She was strong.
I wish I hadn’t been so sure. I wish Continue reading
There’s something so intimate about hand-me-downs, don’t you think?
As a child, I hated using things my brother no longer needed. I felt as if he was more important so he got to use brand new things: like a new study table. (I was too small to use anything else yet.)
I had outgrown my tiny table and got promoted to using my brother’s.
Why can’t I get my own table?
But studying at that table with my brother next to me, my feet hardly touching the ground, are the earliest memories I have of my first home; one of my fondest memories.
I loved to read and I’d read my storybooks cover to cover and answer all the questions at the end of each one before they were taught in class as my brother practiced his math questions, scribbling squiggles and pluses and minuses.
As I grew a little older, I would wear clothes from when he was small. I didn’t really mind. I don’t remember complaining about it; the table was another matter. In my head, it was every individual’s inviolable right to possess their own table.
I wear round neck t-shirts my mother used to wear at one point. There are three of them, of which two go wherever I do.
1.’LOOK! i don’t even capitalize my i’s!’
2. ‘You take way too long to type. I type faster. See?’ *types furiously. Because every chat is a race you must win.*
3. ‘We’re not texting, you know. You could consider complete English words and sentences. I’ve heard they can be life-changing.’
4. ‘You know you’re boring, don’t you? And you’re doing this to me because I unknowingly bored you at some point in life?’
5. ‘WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL THIS WHILE?’
6. ‘Are you googling all those names?’
7. ‘You? Who?’
8. ‘Well, this is awkward. We talk a lot in real life and then the internet happens and bang a dang baby. You’re just somebody that I used to know.’ JK I’ve never said bang a dang ever in my life and I have no idea how my life decisions aligned for me to come up with that.
9. ‘Whoa. you’re still typing. What are you typing? Do you love me? Did I talk too much? DID SOMETHING BAD HAPPEN? WHAT IS IT?’
10. ‘Hello good lookin’.’
11. ‘Wow. You’re really not that dense.’
12. ‘Wow. You really are that dense.’
13. ‘Do you realize you used that word in the wrong context? I must point it out. Politely.’
14. ‘What’s with the terse replies?
There you go- I have seen your message and just so you know, I’M BUSIER.’
15. ‘Did that sound non-‘caffeine high’ enough? Oh boy. Can’t tell. More coffee. Brb.’
16. ‘How do people manage that yellow dot for ‘idle’? Do I ever look idle to anyone?’
17. *stares at screen while friend pours heart out* ‘You little bear. You need a hug. Go huggapillow!’
18. ‘What a waste of time. Everyone does this chatting thing?’
19. ‘I don’t have a boyfriend and no i don’t want to marry you. Really.’
20. ‘Just gonna spend five minutes chatting.’
*ten minutes later*
‘Just gonna spend five minutes chatting.’