May 10, 2013

Stopped Clocks

(Author's note: This is not a work of fiction. But then, who can define reality anyway?)

I was eating a cheesecake and a banoffee pie with my husband when one of the most important people in my life was on the verge of suffering a massive stroke.

I was making one of my favourite sambars when he went into surgery. It's my husband's favourite sambar.

I was planning a pasta dish when he died. Fusilli in a nutmeg tomato cream sauce to be precise.

My husband and I had just finished our dinner when we got the call that changed our lives.

I was halfway through washing the dishes. He was working on his laptop. The TV was on.

We knew we had to pack up and leave. I spent the next half an hour packing. Finishing those utensils. I remember every detail, every bit of cloth and toiletry I packed. I remember everything I said. I remember every call I made. No, it did not pass in a daze.

I was acutely aware of the things we would need, toothbrush, toothpaste, oil, towels, slippers, cotton, shampoo.

You know, you have to take a head bath after you come back from the cremation ground.

So, shampoo.

My husband told me to not bother. But I did.

Because while this breath is passing in and out of the body you inhabit all the time, gloriously unaware of its fragility and transience, you are life and your grip is tenacious. Strong, immovable because right now, it's meant to be here.

But when you let go?

When you let go, you slip away so quickly, it probably shocks even you. You forget names, numbers, places, faces and every little detail you felt was a part of who you are.

Do you know why? Because they are not who you are. So it's easy to forget. It's easy to let go. It's easy to drop it, like a hot potato. You know it's over and you jolt it away like it was never yours. Your body perishes. You slip away. The rest of them are left coping with the screaming, silent vacuum that you left behind.

I know death is painful. I know you think you will never get over it. I know you think life is going to be an endless journey of coping, of remembering and hoping that one day, you will be able to smile at their memory. Not break down like you do now.

That's what my uncle also thought.

If you had exactly 24 hours left to live, what would you do? Because you know, one day, that will be the truest thing anybody has ever said to you. Even the clock that has stopped is right, twice a day.


Gaurav said...

Amby said...

How do you do that? HOW?