Sunday, May 23, 2010

Death is the informant

We all grew up listening to this quote from Shakespeare: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The quote is simple, yet it carries a slightly altered meaning depending on your age, time, and place. For teenagers infatuated by their sweethearts, summer vacations explain this quote. For immigrants, the annual or once in two years trip to their motherland might hold the same meaning.  And so forth.

Up until this morning, I didn’t realize death would have the same effect on me. Today is my mausi and mausa’s wedding anniversary (My mother’s sister and her husband). My mausi passed away in August of 2010. And for some reason, her death has affected me in ways I didn’t know were possible. It’s not like she and I were best friends. In fact, her daughters are much closer to my mother, in an obvious sort of way, than I was to my mausi. But there was always a connection. Her smile had different warmth for me compared to my other cousins. I could sense it even though I couldn’t comprehend it.

Some emotions betray eloquence; they are simply felt.

My mausi always made my small moments special. A few months ago, I wrote about how she celebrated my first book of poetry. Unlike most others from her generation, who were happy for me but ended the joy with a thoughtful email, she actually discussed my book with me. I appreciated her gesture then, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss her after she was gone.  I have a new book of poems coming out soon, and I wish my mausi were alive to discuss it with me.

Today, for breakfast, I made something that was my mausi’s favorite dish. I remembered how she and my mom would enjoy a cup of good mid-morning-coffee along with Indian savories. The flashbacks from my childhood have consumed me all morning. All in a good way.

I am not exactly the most emotionally expressive person. I don’t condone public display of affection. I write about things more than I partake in face-to-face conversation about emotions and stuff (See, I couldn’t even complete the sentence eloquently). You won’t really hear me say “Miss you,” “Love you,” and all that. So, aside from complimenting my mausi on her ridiculously good looks and awesome collection of saris, I never said anything “meaningful.” Sometimes, it’s the death of a person that makes us realize how much they meant to us. I hope my mausi can hear, what I haven’t articulated, from wherever she is.


More until next time, 


Copyright © 05. 23.2010

"Absence and death are the same - only in death there is no suffering" ~ Theodore Roosevelt


rajiv said...

This is not unusual ; in fact I'd say its mandatory for most of us to realise the value of our losses AFTER the loss.
Of course that is no condonation - mere acceptance of one of the harsher realities of life. There are really very few people we value DURING their lifetimes - only those we are in close / regular touch with. The others who have given us unadulterated support go unsung TILL they stop singing.....

Rujuta said...

So true....

Are you saying August 2009 instead of August 2010?

B said...

Dear Sweta,
It is just GREAT.

Dinesh said...

Dear Sweta: it is very expressive - sad and joyful simultaneously. Makes me wonder who Mausi is..

My two cents said...

Yes, Rujuta. I did mean August 2009. Thanks for reading and noticing.