Thursday, August 27, 2009

What’s the four-letter word that impacts us the most?

I am sure; the answer to my question would differ from person to person. Needless to say, depending on the frame of your mind or the emotion consuming you at a given point, your response might fluctuate. I know mine does. It could be love, hate, glee, loss, gain etc. This week’s blog post is a journey through the four-letter word that shook up my world last week: loss. Again, loss can be emotional or materialistic or physical or just about anything that creates that black hole of deprivation. In my case, it was the death of a very close family member.

Irreplaceable. Unattainable. Unmatchable. Such was my mausi’s (My mom’s only sister’s) allure. She might not have been the world’s most loved person (ONLY because love is relative and biased and mood-dependent), but she definitely was the most adulated female. I do not exaggerate when I say women envied her beauty and emulated her; men were enamored by her elegance and hospitality. The common thing I heard from everyone last week was, “She was born a princess and lived and died like a queen.” So much so that her funeral was attended by as many people as a regular Indian wedding.

This past one week has been one of introspection. I am still trying to understand the “Battle with loss of loss.” Why do we humans remember some losses more than others? Think of anyone you’ve lost (I sincerely wish there is someone out there who hasn’t lost anyone dear to their heart, ever, but let’s get real!). Out of all the people who have passed away, how many of them do you remember clearly? Each moment spent with them. Or at least a few cherished memories? I, for one, have lost quite a few dear ones. But what pains me most is that my brain can only hang on to a few reminiscences of those gone. Everything else seems to get replaced with illusions manifested by desires. Sometimes, you can’t explain why you remember some people or instances more than the others. For instance, I vividly remember my dada (My father’s dad). He died when I was five, but I have memorized (unintentionally) every single incident associated with him. His last words. His last few actions. If I were an artist, I could sketch his tranquil face in a few seconds.

My dada, during his last days would write a request, for me, on a piece of paper. He would want me to sing this particular “bhajan” (religious song) to him. It was our little connective tissue. Every evening, in the hospital, I would hum for him, and he would shed tears of appreciation—his unique way of applauding my performance since he’d lost his voice. My mausi was the first woman from my parents’ generation to read Pabulum, my first book of poetry; get it autographed from me; and discuss every poem in it with me. I still remember that she’d cooked my favorite pasta entrée and delved into the journey of the book less than a year ago.

I have dug through every layer of unseen emotion to figure out why is it that I remember my dada or my mausi. Is it because we humans tend to gravitate towards people who showered that special love on us in their dying moments? Or the last time we interacted with them. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think in my quest for finding closure, I chanced upon my answer. My last communication with both my dada and mausi was when they made my ordinary moments extraordinary. Even if subconsciously, don't we humans seek that experience?

More until next time.

Copyright © 08.27.2009

"Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live”- Norman Cousins


Anonymous said...

For me the four letter word that impacts me most is Hate even coming from a person you barely know. Love is something that is shared mutually by people that surround you no matter who you are and what you have done.

J said...

JUST BEAUUUTIFUUL Sweta. Very well written.

Anonymous said...

very touching.

S said...

This indeed is very touching...we are on the verge of losing a very dear Uncle who played a huge role in my literary growth. This blog surely hits home!