When someone leaves your life, its not as if they disappear completely. They linger, they remain, but most importantly, they leave a person shaped void inside your heart which is difficult to fill by anyone else.
You see the things that belonged to them- shirts, sarees, shoes, files, papers, combs that still hold their tangled hair. You eat the foods they used to love, listen to the the songs they used to sing, you even read the books that lined their shelf. You try, in every way, to fill the gap between what used to be their daily life and yours. But there is always that distance. The fine line of mortality separates us from them and this line treads on heartbreak.
But what if you have something of theirs, what if you succeed in keeping such a lively, tangible part of them with you that it seems as though they haven’t left at all?
There she was, dressed in a brilliant jade sador mekhela and simple gold bangles. Her silver hair was styled into a bun, fastened with clips. In her ears, sat gold earrings and on her fingers were stacked multiple rings. Her gaze still fixed on me. Small wisps of silver escaped her bun and crawled down her neck. I inched forward to greet her.
Under the glorious October sun, I hold her hand in mine. Soft, aged, wrinkled. And as I’d held it, I had felt the beat of her pulse pass through; regular and timely. Silently counting them in the same way one would mechanically count the stars that made up a constellation, I’d imagined each pulse to be as brilliant as a star. Each such star, I’d further imagined to be a verse of a poem. A poem running through her veins, mixing with her blood. A constellation flowing into the sky. This is what I have of Ma. And nothing beats this.
Today is Ma’s birthday. She would have been 63 today. I would have hugged her tight and she would have cupped my face with her soft hands and planted kisses….one on my forehead and each on my eyes. And we would have hugged each other for a long, long time.
Be well Ma!