Tag Archives: Death

Can you hear me?

Can you hear me?
How come I miss you so?

At times I store stories to share
Keep doubts to clear.
Then I remember,
And I shudder.

All my life I believed
Death is normal
Something that’ll fade out soon
After which I could be myself.

But you had carved and occupied
This large a niche in my heart
Empty now.

Do you like the colour of your grave?
I chose the colours
We gave special instructions
To your friend, the painter.
I know how carefully you made
The grave with your own hands,
Years back…
The outside looks beautiful,
I wonder how it feels in there…

How silly I am –
You are not there…
The song reminded me

Still, do you hear me, Papa?


DSCF1954The moments of solitude gather the very same thoughts I dread. Memories keep pecking and picking at me. They rub salt on the bruises over and over. The adamant wounds refuse to heal. It hurts.

I am not the first human to lose a parent. However for me the experience of losing someone I had known all my life was not like what I had expected it to be.

We were prepared – that’s what we all supposed. Prepared for what? To see him die? However, there was a lot more we were not prepared for. The void left behind by the departed one is unfathomable and alarming. I feel it now. Though trite, such statements about death seem to be gaining more depth at this point.

When I saw him on his last night (Oct. 10, the day I reached there), the glow in his eyes was on the wane. His eyes were open and gazing but I doubt whether they perceived anything. He was greedily devouring every bit of air. The laboured breath was not at all giving him any ‘satisfaction’, I could read his thoughts. Seeing his struggle I realized there is nothing more (mundanely) divine than to be able to breathe normally!

I could not believe I was looking at the same person I bid goodbye five weeks before.

What was in his mind? Did he have something to tell us?

While others tried to inform him about my arrival he kept on murmuring, “Aara? Aara?” (Who’s that?) Did he recognize me? No cue. He had no last words for me, not even my name. When I asked him if he needed something he clearly stated he did not. All communication was gradually coming to an end, so were his requirements. After all what was left to say and ask? Or, were all the untold words, the unexpressed feelings and fears choking him?

By the next morning it was as if his body had already given itself the pack up call. After two feeds we felt we were just filling in a body that was no more in need of such nourishment. The huge oxygen cylinder bubbled listlessly. He was perspiring with each variation in his body. We could read the changes even without the pulse/saturation meter (a device that is going to haunt me forever). And my sister asked me later, “What were we waiting for, monitoring the readings each minute?” Maybe there was nothing left to do other than just watch.

By noon the readings started hitting new lows.

Were we disturbing and distracting him with all our expressions of concern?

Around 5.30 in the evening I saw something gurgling in his mouth. He opened his eyes wide for the first time that day and stared up the ceiling one last time with tremendous effort. The numbers kept on descending. And then the next moment…    the meter had nothing to say except some meaningful/less dots… We knew it was all over.

The days and nights he spent in constant fear of the looming death came to an end. An entity that moved, thought, loved, hated, desired, planned, rejoiced, won, defeated, failed, created, ate, drank, fought for about eight decades finally gave up.

Did he have the courage to go alone?

The body was still warm and quivering with the last vestige of life left. And for the first time I saw an unusual serenity and stillness spread and then linger on his face. He was relieved of all strain and anxieties. Peace!

*   *  *

Even these thousands of miles in between me and his abode is not thick enough to prevent the agonizing memories from seeping in.

*   *   *

Life thrilled him as much as it failed and hurt him. The thrill came from his talents and the disappointment, from his expectations about life and people. He was never short of solutions, ideas, plans, preparations, stories. Nothing irritated him more than lack of punctuality and perfection. Was he punctual? Yes, to the core. Was he perfect? According to his unique parameters, yes.

I don’t intend to go for sentimental eulogies right now. I owe my life to my parents and I am grateful to my father for what I have inherited and learned from him. [Link]

He had been much more than an average human being and the impressions he left will pose real hard work for time to erase. I am not underestimating the powers of time. It’s just a month – obviously too early to forget a dear and near one.

[Link] And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


Sorry, I was busy living…

Sorry, I was busy living
While you were vis-a-vis death
But I have been thinking of you (?).

The problem is:
You are no longer doing anything;
You don’t utter a word these days;
You are tethered to the railed bed,
And rooted to the myriad devices.
Thus you lie there in the ventilator
Day after day, living your death.

Though your body is there
Your presence is slowly fading.
What you have already done
Is of no significance
As there are no updates or posts.

If you were dead, they could declare it
And get through this uncertainty.
But you have put us in a dilemma –
You are alive, but not lively!
You are not dead, but inactive!
You are in a coma –
A comma, not a full stop,
That points to infinity!

What am I to do?
I cannot take time out
And sit beside you,
Staring at your eyes
That don’t bloom.
What are the feelings beneath?
I can’t read them.

Time to go back –
Life is beckoning!
Forgive me, I can’t take you along.
This purgatory is hell-bent
On holding you, it seems.

Moreover, you have no role left to play
In the world of the Living!


(Even celebrities are forgotten when they are no more active. Out of sight, out of mind. Life is like that – so cruel!)

The Last Few Seconds of a Young Man

And in the next moment everything went blank. He sensed the severe pangs of solitude – for the first time in his life, and that was more than his flesh and blood could stand. Adding to his misery, his acumen didn’t seem to work.

Bewildered, he mistook the ordeal for his Doomsday. As if in a trance he shut the doors to faith, while the shutters automatically lifted up to the heights of unnerving fears. Even the last ray of hope had abandoned him.

He couldn’t call to mind the green pastures he came from  – the hilarious occasions at home with his brother, the kind words and the appetizing dishes of his mother, the reassuring looks of his father, the moments he spent in cloud nine with his friends, the compliments from the colleagues, the track of his glittering achievements… Alas, nothing came in handy to alleviate his distress…

The tall wall in front obscured his vision and soon his brain. He neither looked up to see the blue sky that canopied him, nor looked down to see the warm earth that bolstered him. He didn’t bother to see the twittering birds on one side, the fluttering butterflies, the capering crickets and the swaying flowers on the other. He couldn’t get a glimpse of the thriving future that was in store for him – thoroughly overwhelmed by the enormity of the deceptive wall. He did not, or was not in a position to, deem the scores of possibilities.

Had he uttered a word to someone! Had he tilted his head! Had he merely taken some rest!

No miracles happened. Instead..

He just gave up….

His father whimpered, “I could have helped him take a detour!”

His brother grieved, “I could have assisted him to climb over the wall!”

His mother wailed, “I would have carried him in my arms all the way round!”

His friends mourned, “We would have pulled it down for him!!”

After all, just a WALL it was…

An Elegy

 (On the untimely demise of a young colleague)

It’s a journey together
There is happiness, also fights,
Shocks, complaints, tears,
Appreciations, criticisms –
All part of the game.

On the way some diverged
A few took a short break
Some faces are seen again
Some not; some forgotten,
But present somewhere.

Yesterday one promised
To return soon.
We hoped so, she too.
Today they say she won’t,
She could not,
Her role is over, for good.

What were her dreams,
Her thoughts about tomorrow?
Was she aware there was no tomorrow?

So who is rank now?
It might be he or she or you
Anyone other than me
That’s what I think,
He thinks,
She thinks,
You and they think.

I feel I am eternal
Because I have never died.
Always someone else died
Though at times it had come close.

With the suspense maintained
HE makes us play
Our puppet-roles sincerely
In the true sportsman spirit.

N  i n  c  o  m  p  o  o  p  s  !