Little things


Once the all encompassing sorrow recedes after a major loss, the wave of grief leaves behind little memories, which, like little pebbles, scratch open the scabs of the wound for some slow seepage of intense pain.

Little things like the absence of a daily wsapp message to ma “ki korcho?” (What are you doing?) And her unchanging response “TV dekhchi.” (Watching tv).

Little things like the urge to tell them about moments I loved or moments that made me sad.

Little things like something I read or a piece of music that all three of us listened to when I was young.

Little things about Sahana or Ryan. Things that only they would care about other than us.

Little things like opening up Facebook and checking if baba was active. If he was active, I knew he was well. The day after he contacted Covid, he went active on Facebook for a while. I turned to Sean and said, “He must be feeling better, he is posting on Facebook.”

Little things like checking when wsapp was last seen by ma.

Little things like teasing ma about timing my phone calls according to Rani Rashmoni’s show times on television.

Little things like planning our Kolkata trip.

Little things like connecting to the hotel wifi wherever we traveled and letting them know we have arrived wherever we were supposed to arrive. “Pouche gechi.” (We have arrived). And their response, “khub enjoy korish. Chobi tulish dekhbo.” (Enjoy a lot. Take a lot of pictures for us to see).

I realized these little things even more on our recent trip where the two anxious people thousands of miles away who waited for that message of arrival are waiting no more. My cousin sister, however, said, “I will be waiting. Write to me when you arrive.” So I wrote to her.

Little things like the constant realization that neither of them are physically there any more – living their life, showering me and mine with love.

Little things (not a little thing, this keeps me up at night) like I could not say goodbye when they left.

The “goods” in the week of August 2nd.


The weeks and days seem to blur for me and it is difficult to remember the “goods” of this week. Did that good thing happen this week or the last, that is the question. Anyway, here is an effort to remember the “goods”.

My book club met this week after 2 months. Last 2 months were horrendous and I did not have the mental bandwidth to prepare discussion questions for books. However, when we met and discussed our selection for the month of July, I realized how much I enjoy meeting with each of those participants every month. How much they enrich my understanding of a book by their insightful input.

One work day I had lunch with a dear friend and coworker. She asked me how I coped or continue to cope with my losses. She has both parents living but both are elderly and she shudders to think of the eventuality. So we discussed. Sharing my thoughts with her was cathartic. I will write a different post about that conversation.

I went to the farmer’s market on Wednesday with friends.

Sahana, yet again, cooked delicious fried rice for our lunches. I am grateful for her love of cooking as well as culinary skills.

We got to pup sit for my friend’s puppy. She is my therapy pup.

My flowers look lovely and the African daisies are in full bloom. So are the gladiolus plants.

All of a sudden, I received a gorgeous dish garden from florists. A coworker sent it to me saying she continues to think of me and prays for me every day. I thanked her. Grief is lonely but it helps when one is enveloped with love.

Ryan is enjoying a couple of weeks of free time and is hence much nicer to be around. I am even getting occasional hugs.

Lastly, Sean and I embarked on a road trip down south. We hit Durham and Raleigh. We are now in Charleston and will visit Virginia beach before heading home.

As Sean and I sang along to the Spotify list that Sahana gifted Sean with our favorite songs as we drove down Interstate 95, I realized how much I love being with the man I married.

Although thoughts of ma and baba are never far from my mind and although there are several moments of sadness off and on, I am happy to be away from home and seeing something new with my favorite person.

This morning I asked Sean if he minded me talking about my parents to him so much. Talking about them, even their death and my sadness, helps me. He said “Absolutely not.” His eyes teared up along with mine.

Hope your list of “goods” is long and hope you have a great week.

Wait, I am gonna cry….


The conversation was just general. Before the library opened, my coworkers and I were doing our regular work that we do every day to get the library ready for public. Between pulling online requests for materials we often chat, catch up, listen to music as we do our treasure hunt of books, cds, dvds. Two of my friends asked me about our plans for Sahana’s birthday and I began to tell them. Out of nowhere, I had an overwhelming surge of grief that overpowered me within seconds. Do you know the feeling when your nose starts itching and you realize a sneeze is coming? It was the same feeling except the stinging was in the eyes and sudden grief was suffocating. Instead of a sneeze, tears started rolling. If it was not so sad, it would be funny really.

“I am sorry, I am going to cry.” I said and I did exactly that. I started crying. And while I cried I walked towards the restroom for napkins and water. Once the tears eased up, I wiped my eyes, obliterating the carefully applied kajol in my eyes, splashed water on my face and joined my two friends. And they welcomed me back without making me feel even a tiny bit awkward. As if it is completely natural for someone to burst into tears between general conversation.

The point of this blog post is to acknowledge that I have some people in my life who simply take these outbursts in their stride and continue loving me. While I grieve my loss, they allow me the time to do so while standing by with their quiet love. I guess that is what friendship is all about. They don’t tell me not to cry, they don’t tell me to be strong. I am grateful that they allow me to be vulnerable but I don’t break because they hold me up with their love.

Little Bud


My friend gave me a bag of gladiolus bulbs at a time when I was indiscriminately planting flowers to nurture some form of life after losing 2 most precious (to me) lives to Covid in quick succession. I had never had much luck in growing plants from seeds or bulbs but I was mentally exhausted to think about what would thrive and what would not and somewhat fatalistic about planting. I needed to dig holes, separate roots and gently place them in the hole with the hope that it will draw nutrition and grow up to radiate beauty and yes, joy.

To be honest, I had forgotten about the bulbs till I saw young green shoots emerging from the soil. I think I was weeding when I noticed them. They certainly looked different from crab grass and I stopped myself from plucking them from the ground. Could they be…? They were! Gradually they grew to be long green stalks, some grew more than others. They were just that for a long time though – long green stalks. Sean and I wondered if that is the end of their journey. And then we saw some diamond shaped patterns on the head of one stalk. I kept close eye on it. The next metamorphosis that I noticed was a deeper shade of purple just underneath the green. And today, when I walked out to go for my walk, I saw this.

I want you all to meet Little Bud. Welcome! I have been patiently waiting for you. You made me happy and you are one of my “goods” this week.

My ‘outrageous’


On my day off, I went to a local hair salon and spent close to 2 hours to dye a streak of my hair green. My hair, once upon a time, used to be raven black. Now it is generously sprinkled with gray yet it took forever to bleach the natural color off that streak of hair to apply a mixture of 2 shades of green to get the fluorescent green that I wanted. I had not told my family that I was doing this. This was my ‘outrageous’. This was my getting some control over what just happened.

I am a naturalist. I had decided at the onset of graying that I will naturally let my hair go white. I was (and am) even looking forward to it. According to my hair stylist, who I love, I only have 20% of graying and still have a long way to go due to the volume and abundance of hair. Lately I have gone completely natural in my beauty regime. I have stopped using moisturizers for my face and body. I only use natural oil. My shampoo and conditioner have coconut oil. This ‘natural’ me went ahead and bleached a streak of my hair of all its natural color to apply a chemical! I am very happy with my decision although it is only the second day. At the end of this blog, I may even post a picture of my green head. But I was wondering why I did this. Why did I feel this need to go against my purist beliefs? And I deduced this was an act of gaining control. My life spun so out of control last month with such disastrous consequences that left me dumbfounded. Why did this happen to me? Why couldn’t I prevent it? Why was I so powerless? I have been restless trying to find answers to those questions. I think I am also slightly unstable in my thoughts, slightly crazy even. This silly act of coloring my hair with a ‘loud’ color is my way of manifesting my craziness and also asserting some control on my own self. I can do this. I can change the color of my hair at least. I did it.

Guilt


The seven stages of grief elude me. Is guilt one of them? If it is then I have arrived there. I am at the phase where I am questioning myself if I could have saved ma if I had made different decisions? Am I even that powerful or that thought is pure hubris? A couple of friends had given different suggestions of hospitals, I chose one and both my parents were admitted there. There was and continues to be a huge shortage of hospital beds along with ICUs, so I opted for one where 2 beds were available and ICU option. The hospital was horrible and today the government closed it down as they were fleecing people without providing service.

Did ma die due to their negligence? Is that kind of thought useful? I don’t know. I keep telling myself I made a decision and I paid a steep price for it. It is on me. Ma always said “Do your best because that is the best you can do.” That was her mantra. That mantra is ingrained in my brain and I tell my children the exact same thing. Ma knows I did my best with the information and ability I had at the time, being thousands of miles away. And if she died because of my decision of choosing that hospital, I hope she knows how helpless I was and sees my love and desperation to save her and baba.