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richasmukherjee.com

love, laughter, pain, joy, life and its lessons, one word at a time

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Grief

Teasing you back to life

 

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Ever dared to wonder if you could change the tides of loss and time?

Just by moving a few pieces around the board, right under his nose, as he tends to the world like a distracted games master.

If I changed the dates on that god fearing calendar, will you come back to mark your tidy expenses in the large while margins?

If I rearranged the spice boxes in the wrong order, could I irritate you long enough to conjure your ire?

If I bury my face in your essence, will you return, only to peel it from my fingers and throw it for a well earned wash?

If I leave all the lights on, will I see you in the morning when I need them no more and I need you no less?

Come back won’t you? There are no games without your rules. No salt without your spice. There is no tenable proof of life.

And here is my last offer to you. Take it or leave it.

If I stare at the door long enough, will I live to see you resurrect and walk back in? To never leave again.

In another world, from another time

o-GRIEF-facebook

I’m guilty

Of occlusion, of forced amnesia and feigning the life of another

For in that life, I feel no loss

How can you lose someone you never had

You are then a pretty, cheery neighbour who should have lived longer. Poor thing

Made of clucks, commiserations and tepid empathy

That’s my constant endeavour now

To forget you

But I’ve lost this war before the battle blueprints were laid out

Before the cavalry of tears marched out with belligerence

Like the rain that wiggled into a reluctant rivulet and made a home in a dry never land

A resilient little bud that breached the limits of its world for one gulp of air

A shiver on a warm day

A touch, an embrace, a spice, a smile, a toothbrush, a lipstick, a speedometer and a long drive

And sometimes like an indulgent cloudburst that has no origins and no future

You drench me

Disarm me

And just like the night you blew away, you wrap me in your warmth and whisper in my ear to stop fighting, to stop forgetting

To let you in and to let myself out

The genie never came..

 

PicHad I known it was the last smile, I would have bottled it away. Filling it with sand and pebbles, sending it off on a finite voyage, till it found me again on a deserted shore, sometime, some place

Had I known it was the last caress, I would have held on, for a million minutes.
Feeling every bit of your warmth that embraced every bit of hopelessness and despair in me
Had I known you would never return to this threshold, I would etch your feet into the floor. To have a path to follow and find you by my side forever

Had I known this was the last walk, I would never stop walking into nothingness and everything, for a destination is meaningless if I don’t arrive with you
Had I known this was the last whisper, I would make a museum of your voice
So it could ricochet into the walls and back into my heart, as fluid as that symbol of infinity
Had I known this was your last breath, I would lay beside you, breathing till the end
And fill my lungs with you, never to exhale…
How I wish I had known…

Queen of hearts

Ma

An ethereal beauty beyond words
Why must you conform to worldly standards of which we have become slaves
Vanity can come from a place of pride 
Beyond a face, beyond skin, beyond the usual trappings
Let the hair fall away, your brilliance is enough
Let the skin peel away, what lies beneath is even better
Let amorphous shapes that your body takes become continents of discovery and wonder
Let not your beauty be eclipsed 
For when you are bare, you are beautiful beyond compare…
These are words I wrote for my mother when she was propped up in her hospital bed with a wan smile on her face. A smile that never left her. Through the rigour of years, through the hardships of sustaining a large family, through vicissitudes of life and economics, there was always a smile to spare. Writing for this piece made me reminisce about the true beauty of my own mother. Its easy to write about your mother most would think. But this decision is not based on mere anthropology. It is because she is most definitely one of the most inspirational, resilient, positive and beautiful people that I’ve had the good fortune to encounter so closely in my life.
For a person who had such affluent beginnings, she never grudged being married into a humble family. A kathak performer, a sangeet visharad, a science and maths gold medalist was assigned to the kitchen and brickbats from her new family but she never complained. When my sisters and I were much older, we learnt of what all she had endured with silence. Again, none of this information was volunteered by her. She never played the victim card. Not once. Through tragedies, ill health and suffering. Her entire life was dedicated to her family, not just the army of four children and the beloved husband but anyone who ever came to her door. Whether it was long lost relatives, beggars, house help, donation seekers, it didn’t matter. No one left with empty hands or  hearts. I often wonder how she managed to be a mother, the coolest granny, a wife, a best friend and confidant when she was navigating through various roles of an electrician, plumber, handyman, world class chef and finance wizard, identities that her keen and scientific mind had sought out to keep her interests alive.
But for someone with such immense zest for life, life had other plans. Unbeknownst to us, there were silent killers eating away at her insides. While her angelic face continued to glow with love and compassion, her diseased body was rotting on the inside. Despite our best efforts, the hospital became her second home for many years. But through it all, the smile stayed, a shaking hand always ready to stick a thumb up in the air, to fool us into thinking she wasn’t suffering. I’ve never in my life seen anyone with a bald head, shrivelled skin and fractured limbs look so radiant and peaceful. For it came from a place of immense strength and real beauty, from deep within. For she refused to give in and smiled till the time she closed her eyes forever. When I held her hand for the last time, I still remember my sister had painted her nails in the ICU. An odd, bright red, to cheer her up. Frankly speaking she didn’t need the varnish. For in that shrivelled body lay the strongest and most beautiful woman, the saviour of a thousand lives, a soul that gave more than it ever took, a beauty beyond compare.

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Release me..


I could always tell when you were unwell, even when I was in another city.

I always knew when your heart was broken, you didn’t say much but I heard the tiny cracking sound it made.

I felt your nervousness, every time you were preparing for an exam, whether inside the classroom or outside.

Every time you stumbled, every time you picked yourself up, I danced with delight.

Will you forsake me now, only because you can’t see me?

Can you not feel my misery every time you push that plate of food away?

Don’t you feel my tears mixing with yours as you cry into the night?

Haven’t you heard my silent scream every time you say you cannot go on?

Can’t you hear me struggling to breathe when you shut the world out?

What pains me more than my empty lap is seeing you fight life everyday.

I am gone, but why do want to join me now, is there no other way?

Live my dreams, live my life, live my happiness and sorrows.

If you can’t find happiness inside, learn to steal, learn to borrow.

They say I can’t feel much but I die a thousand deaths seeing you suffer.

Release me my little one, tomorrow is a new day, and then there will be another..

Red Bosphorus


Every part of me aches.Racked by a nameless fever or rage, despair, hopelessness.

I was infected by tears, mutilated bodies, lives torn asunder and ashes of hope.

Hope that were dashed against walls by terror, guns, knives, bombs.

I look at you gasping for breath now, clutching , grasping for composure and it breaks my heart.

I walked your cobbled streets, walking to nowhere, breathing in the industriousness and determination of those fishermen selling hamsi every day. Served with just the right drizzle of salt and smiles.

My heart rose and fell with the tides of the Bosphorous.

My eyes glazed with wonder as they swallowed the grand mosques and minarets dotting your Crimson skies

How my aching feet danced away with those little childrenin the streets of Grand Bazaar.

Rows upon rows of twinkling chandelier studded lanes lighting up sparkles of hope.

My hands are now still. Sometimes wringing in wretched frustration, sometimes in prayer.

Look what they have done to you my poor darling.

Those warm smiles , embraces and chatter have dissolved into tears and are flowing away, turning your shores red.

Let our prayers, memories and love be the raincoat that shields you from this storm of hate.

Let them lash, let them rage and spew hatred outside.

They will never get to your golden soul, but one day the world will get to them. And they will have nowhere to hide.

Goodbye

image

The last of the mourning masses have left the hall.
The last of the reluctant feet have shuffled out, after drenching you with their tears,the belle of the ball.

And I sit by your picture.Wondering how is it that you smile.
Is it amusing that we will never ever share a meal?
Is it a relief that you will not have to buck me up like my only champion, full of zeal?
Is it funny that I will be talking for hours to myself?
Is it ironical that, now that I have time for you, you’re just not here to tell.

I know time will heal and it’ll all seem like a dream.
I know the tears will dry up even if my heart is bursting at the seams.
I know life will push me along, next to your picture it won’t let me stay.
But I also know we will meet again, and till then I’ll let you smile away.

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