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Monday, April 15, 2013

The musings of an ex-pat on bereavement

We always think we have enough time. We are wrong.

I lost two very dear people in the short span of two years- my paternal grandma (thakuma) and my maternal aunt (mashi). I envy those people who saw them in their deaths and have some sort of closure, because I still think of them and believe that when I visit home next time I will see them, and they will greet me with the deluge of kisses and hugs and genuine queries after my well-being.

'Home'. It means so different now. It isn't the place I was born in, not even the country. It is a place I always wanted to be in. And living here has its price. But unlike some who choose to regret living away from their families, I choose to make reasons to be where I am. There are beautiful people everywhere in this world. We just have to find them.

I was really sad on Saturday  morning when I received the news of mashi's cerebral stroke. But I had guests coming for dinner. JD and CD's visit was long due. JD brought us black forest (Schwarzwälder) cupcakes. The conversation kept my mind occupied, though I found myself wandering back to my childhood. They praised my cooking lavishly, and I felt they were being kind.

The following day MD arranged a picnic for us. Three families got together at Vasona Lake for a wonderful afternoon together. SG learned Fishing 101 from DR (a more elaborate post on this when we go out for fishing next time). MD and her 5-year old daughter had both hugged me when they saw me - I never felt I needed it more in my life.

I walked with the kid as she rode her bicycle by the lake. I tried to see things from her perspective as she asked about the cottony pulps floating in the air. I explained those were from the water reeds and it was a method of seed dispersal for the plants using the wind as a vector. I saw colorful bugs,  ducks and geese, and people in their sail boats, paddle boats and paddle boarding on surfboards. The cool breeze from the lake and the sunshine on my back felt so nice, I wondered why we didn't do it more often.  We played poker after lunch using two other deck of cards as currency. It was fun.  But I was still very distracted, I folded my cards even when I had a flush and bet heavily because I was curious to find a bluff. There was none.

Back home, I was tired but I still managed to make some vegetable pulao for dinner- like the kind I had taken to the picnic. It was different because I skipped a few ingredients including the ginger and rosewater, but it tasted good. Life is like that- things are never the same- but you find a way.

Today is Bengali New Year, and we invited SG's brother and sis-in-law for dinner. A family get-together will be nice. They have a 2-year old son whom I absolutely adore.

Everytime I lose someone dear, I think of the names they called me endearingly. Memories come flooding back. The little things become so precious. I know in my heart- no one can replicate the feeling I had- the warmth of their hugs, the way they told stories. But life has to go on, and we always have to find someone to love.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very touchy. It is true that we realize the value of our close ones late, when we are far from them - be it temporary or eternal. Your mashi must have definitely loved you a lot, that made you succumb to emotional outlets through the posts. I can feel that. Let her RIP. I guess that you were so close, no matter how far! And that is far more important. But one should also know that missing her last rites, should not make you feel bad. Staying abroad always has a different stroke. Even people living in the same country are not able to make it at the last moment. Being an ex-patriate, always have a boon to a different stretch. You can always feel more than your siblings or the other near ones, emphatize more- which we feel that we are missing some times in this generation.

Lastly, lively post. I sensed the sense of duty, even after your mashi's departure from this world. That you have carried her memories, would definitely mean more to her than anything else. A small prayer at the end of the day, can some times work wonders for all.

Take care, and best of luck.