My father died three days ago! And I had to miss school for three days. And all I was worried about was my homework! Sounds inhuman? Yeah! It was! A dead father does sounds more humane! Isn’t it? Nevertheless! Equally inappropriate!
I lived, every second of it! I never knew the intensity! The intensity of losing a father! I was too naive to understand what more it could take away! Back home, my mother was getting fits every other minute, her eyes felt weak, sleepless, yet dawning into an abyss of hopelessness! She wasn’t able to comprehend the fact that her husband won’t be able to breathe anymore, and according to me, I felt her husband had been dead for three years! Sometimes, death is a messiah that saves you from the misery that makes you human! Well of course misery brings you closer to what being human is! Weak! Don’t ask me if weakness is the natural state of humans! Ask me if humans are humans because they are miserable. And I will answer, that misery makes humans! And what are humans other than being weak, humble?.. compassionate? My father was humble, compassion drained of his soul, and what was left, rained over him as pity! Disease, his purpose, and dreams, his unattainable cure! He couldn’t even use the loo himself, all he could do was hold mums hand, never making eye contact, as she slid his pants down his knee and sat him down on the toilet chair! We weren’t allowed in the room at that moment! It smelt like shit!
It was his will to live!
I often saw in his eyes a sense of hopelessness, he had beautiful brown eyes. Eyes which now seemed to be walls of parched earthen wells, inside which were bodies of farmers and workers, who couldn’t bear life anymore, so they ran away into the afterlife! Not knowing if only it exists! And I wonder if in life we are afraid of the threats which are known, or unknowns.
Does that mean if we close our eyes in the dark, darkness will cease to exist! No!
I guess, No. Father knew it! It was his will to live!
I had to look sad! Sadder than I’ve ever been! As I walked through the gates of my school, it loomed upon me that my face had accepted that I was to be sad for the rest of it! The rest of it could be a period, a day, a year, or if life is exaggerated, then a lifetime. I was naive, not foolish!
I had lost things previously, for instance, the willow of my cricket bat had been burned knowingly, unknowingly? when on someday, we ran out of kerosene for the stove. I was told we didn’t have any other piece of wood that could have been used! I never asked if we could have bought some! Some Wood! Of course, not kerosene!
I had lost my toy train, my favorite television show(the dish connection was hazy), my bey-blade fell out of my pockets into the commode(new bey-blade) one day, few pencil colors, and yes, I always lost my school belt! And once I left a blazer too! Which I was to get back later, father found it actually in the lost and found section! He said it was mine, I didn’t feel like it! Mine was loose, this one was a bit tight on the shoulders! He said I must have grown overnight! I guess so! It’s an age where our body sometimes changes drastically!
And I understood that sometimes what you lose, you never get them back! So my inner self felt, I could deal with the anguish and disappointment of losing a father! I didn’t understand what more it could take!
The first period passed astonishingly fast! And brisk, and while the teacher was taking attendance and I had answered my roll call, she looked up from her register and inquired as to why I was absent! I had almost animatedly searched for the absence letter in my pockets and gave it to her! She had unfolded it irritatingly, and while reading it she demanded eye contact. I didn’t!
I didn’t know what was written in it! Maybe, that my father lost his will to live!
Pity! Rained again! This time upon me!
With lives unnecessarily moving from one realm to the other, the energies do stay! And our imagination walks out. Our will walks along and our fears remain latched to these inconsequential happenings! What we believe, doesn’t matter and what we know, doesn’t exist! We dwell in our mishaps wondering to be free! Free of life in the most coherent way! Chained in the most prominent of it! The grounds below me were moving and I didn’t bother! With it the universe writing my life’s assortments! It happens in the mid of a breath, the realization that it is what it is! And It will be what will be! And we can’t undo it! I swear I didn’t understand it at all! I was wearing a sadness so close to me that will define my future after layers and layers of unnecessary clothes and the winds were soft, softer than they ever were and ever would be! An indication of the storm! In these four hour of my escapade, I didn’t realize the zeal of it! How could I understand it, tell me I won’t ever get to eat ice cream and I’ll understand!
It was me, who has to die from now on! It was my mother’s turn! It was my sister’s turn! And I didn’t know somehow we’ll have to share the death, the dying, the wilting of our hearts! Day by day. It’s what one death takes away! It’s what one life leaves!
School can be tough, especially if you haven’t completed your homework. Today, it all seemed unnecessary. It felt like the universe gave me a day off! Gave my conscious self a day, a day without burden, a day where things would be easy! A day without sorrow or worry! And then a lifetime together. A perfect love story!
The day felt ideal! No unneeded attention! No one called me up to the board to solve any math problem! I wasn’t called for talking to my friends! I ate well during recess! A thought did cross my mind while I was about to open my lunch box, as to who must have prepared it. I thought of mum, but no, not her, not today! I guess! She was all grief! But love thrives in grief! And a mother’s love! You could never know the extent of it! Four neatly arranged sandwiches, some biscuits, an apple! And I knew mum hadn’t prepared it! She would never give me biscuits and sandwiches for lunch! And she knew I didn’t like an apple! Someone else had! But I don’t know how, after finishing my sandwiches and biscuits, my hands automatically went on to pick up the apple, feet took me to the water cooler, where I washed the apple, and took a bite! I wonder if it was acceptance!
The number of eyes that looked through me troubled my inner self. I was in pain, but no one knew about it! I didn’t know if I should have at least told my friends. Whatever pain meant to me at that moment, I was in it! It didn’t hurt me a lot, but still, it felt it would grow! And no wonder why it felt like a seed, which with time would grow, grow into a fruit-bearing tree, and who would be blamed to have plucked the fruits and enjoyed! Who would dwell upon sorrow and sadness!
We eat what we sow! Or we eat what we let sow! And some we eat to survive!
It was the last period of the day, and then I would head back home! Whatever of it was left! A home where my mum would be lost, looking everywhere for one, knowing ours was burnt, and no more than ashes! Home, where my sister would too return to with a lot upon her back, some inside her head, and with fear in her heart! A home that once was, now only an establishment where alive people who are soon to be made dead, live!
Fortunately, unfortunately, the subject teacher was absent because of a death in her family! Everyone moaned when we came to know of it! We were told that it might take a week or so, for her to resume our classes! A death in the family! That seems familiar, yeah, sounds so! But the day was almost over, I kept my head down, and wanted to sleep! The substitute teacher was our former class teacher when I was in fourth grade! She was altogether a different teacher! Apart from our studies, she told us a lot about things which we would need to learn in life! Once, she told us about the story of the spider and the king, how a losing king sought inspiration from a spider who never gave up! And then went on to win the war! I felt it was just a story! It was! We had nothing to do for the day, so she started to talk to all the students calling them up, one by one to her desk! I waited for the bell to ring one more time and I’d be on my way back home! If I would hurry, I just might be able to get a window seat! And I would consider the day to be good. And then I heard my name being called upon! She was looking towards me very intently, excited! I sat up straight, looked her in the eye, and nodded! Reluctantly I went up to her, pasted a smile upon my face, and stood there!
“Rumi…are you concentrating on your studies? She asked.
I lied and nodded in agreement!
I expect you’ll not disappoint your father this time. He was not happy with the way you performed in your exams last year!
I won’t, teacher, I’ll try my best! I lied again! ( But it was the truth) Maybe I won’t ever disappoint my father again!
If you need any help feel free to ask.
I nodded! Lying again. Why would I ask her for any kind of help!
By the way, how is your father?
I didn’t say a word! What could I have said! Lied again?, I wish I could! And then, lie about what, how? I felt the universe beneath my feet, rumbling with realization, the apple fell from my hands, every morsel of the biscuit felt like a lump when I sailed through the day, I could feel the time consuming me, chaining me to this moment, where things will begin and things would end, I could hear the big bang inside my heart expanding, a meteor shower, and fire burning the ground of what had existed! I have to live in what will exist!
I lost him! I said! (Truth)
WHAT..? I could feel her denying it! I could feel myself accepting it! She said it a bit angrily, and the whole class shook, the eyes that wandered around me, were now fixed on me! All the other students were in utter shock and I could hear murmurings, voices wanting answers winds bringing questions, and an infinite sea of self-pity, drowning me!
I lost him! I said again! (Truth)
She ushered me closer, held my hands, and brought them together. I could feel my eyes burn, with drops of horror! The pity that enclosed my father, circled me now! This was my disease, my dream, denial! Reality? Only acceptance!
She was looking for things to say, things that would stop the sun from burning!
I felt her grip tighten, her embrace loosen, her eyes sunken! I could sense two figures behind me, my friends, who didn’t know it either! I had closed my eyes. In belief, that everything would vanish, everything would cease to exist and everything would be over! I was standing at the beginning of things, wanting things to end! This was the start of things! And I somehow knew, it’ll only grow with time! I didn’t know when did the bell ring, what did the teacher say while she left, which of my friends brought my school bag, helped me to the bus, cleared a window seat for me!
I just remember, sitting at the window seat, watching the roads move behind me! And I left a part of me at that moment! Like the roads moving back, in distance, in circles, maybe in time too!
We often stumble upon conclusions, you, me, time, space, and God too! Everyone is looking for a conclusion, and that too a happy one! But deep down we all know, we fear and we understand, we don’t get one! Sometimes we hope for better conclusions, we hope that when the fog lifts, we would see a beautiful sun dancing above our heads! But it often feels like we are too close to it, and it’s going to burn us! I do not know if my father wished for a better conclusion, all I could understand that mum, wasn’t happy with it! And neither were me and my sister! But it is what it is! It was the beginning of our ends, the death of our lives. I will realize this, not today, maybe someday in the future when the girl whom I’ll love would say, that if I had a father, my life would be easier and I could make her life easier, in a different context, yet reflecting! It wrong when people say, that we come empty-handed to this world! We do, but we don’t leave empty-handed, we go back with the disappointment of our ideal conclusion! But, then do we live after death! A conundrum, I’ll write about after I too die! I’m dead at this moment, but I haven’t realized it yet! I will! I understand, three more deaths are to follow, two will haunt me while one lives! No matter who! And for the one who dies next, a decimated dream will follow, a dream to live a happy conclusion.
It is my hope to find a happy conclusion!