Death was no concept for me
Till one night
a storm hit our home…and,
The whole world suddenly became cold… so cold.
My mother sat still
Her silence broke my twenty-five years of peace in that house.
I had no right to talk, nor to appeal, or to plead.
Baba was lying on a bed of blooms,
tended by some of his loving hands,
The heady smell of the tuberoses,
marigolds and sandalwood
Tossed the barque of life around me!
It was the first death I saw …a real death...
A reality- a destiny that reminds you're a mortal.
Even an unbeliever has to sit under it.
My heart rattled inside the rib cage.
All in a flux- I softly rose
Lit a lamp in front of my father,
and squatted down beside Ma.
Ma’s hand brushed my face, it was cold.
Cold hands, silent as a safe, gently shivered,
And perched on my shoulders.
How complete, how secured, how reassuring they were-
I looked up, clutching her palms,
We stared at each other without speaking;
A muscle pulsed in her cheek…a little pearl trickled.
And both of us fell under the water’s thrust.
The night hardened ..; I realized,
Every nerve, every vein
Is a time bomb
Ticking slowly to its zero hour.
Memory is just a keepsake-
At my father's (Baba) death-bed, I learned what death looked like!
In Hinduism, after death, the dead body is prepared for its funeral rites. The body is wrapped in white cloth (for men and widows) or red cloth (for married woman) and is showered with final offerings from loved ones.