Grief

I have not known grief of this sort! I am not really a stranger to death per se. I went through losing my grandparents. My maternal grandma passed away early last year. She was someone who supported me unconditionally. She always said the only thing I must change in me is to not be so short fused! “Kopamu kudathu” she used to say in Telugu to me. She is an inspiration (was). Married in her teens to my grandpa not an easy man to live with but someone I adore ( to this day I will say he is the best man I have ever known). Though he was not good as a husband which just helped showcase the epitome of patience that ammamma was! I miss her every now and then. When I know how supportive she would be in situations, encouraging me always. To her I was awesome. It helps having someone like that in your corner.

Though this is not about losing her. It is losing my amma. She decided to leave the mortal world on 6 August. After being in the hospital for a week. I went to see her there only twice as I could not bear to see her with an oxygen mask, struggling to breathe, not opening her eyes. Her stats were improving. Everyone thought if that continued she will be back home. She had other plans! I was lost when the nurse called me to say she is gone. I was alone in the house. Rest of the family was on the way to see her in the visiting hours window. I called them told them. Next call was to A.

Went and all I kept telling her was please get up and scold me! My mother & I didn’t see each other eye to eye ever since I was a teenager. The number of flare ups!! That said I have spent my entire life trying to please her. I failed. I have been a huge disappointment to her. Now she is not around for me to try fix that. Friends of mine who have seen her when she was active remember her as an intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable, generous woman with a big laugh & a sense of humour while being relentlessly strict. I agree to the view and add that her favourite is her son. She is gone!! She taught me a lot.. hated so much of me I am quite sure as I am not the girl she wanted me to be. I am what I am because of her – the good & the bad.

My mind knows she is rid of her physical suffering. She had not walked on her own for nearly 18 years. The dependency on others would have been soul crushing yet she was helpless. She was a very strong woman. This grief is coming in waves. I don’t even know what triggers that catch in my throat and the inevitable tears. I wish she were here scolding me quoting Shakespeare! So I can retort by yelling & screaming at her or going on a hunger strike. She has always been the one I went and told everything to. I remember she used to say I was selfish cos when I got back from school I had to tell her everything not bothering about who was around. This carried on. Off late I hardly spoke to her but if I had something important in life good or bad… I told her. She would not relate cos she had not met the people in the story but I still told her everything. This time around she could not walk away as she was bedridden.

Among all at home, I have spent the maximum time with her. My father should have taken that position but he had been away in the Middle East most of my growing years. So I get that spot! I find myself talking to her. I ask how she had her mum till she was a month short of 100! But she leaves me when she was 75!! I need at least those 30 more years right?

I feel even more lonely now! Yes my father is here and going through the grief of losing his spouse. I will be there for him. Yet I feel like I have no one. A is far away and I don’t know when I can hold him in a tight hug, ruffle his hair while pulling his leg. Now amma is in a place I can’t even do a video call… she never was someone into physical show of affection. She always kept us at a distance yet I know I have lay on her lap weeping when I went through divorce. She didn’t approve of my marriage and definitely not my divorce. She was that kind of woman.

I have no idea what I have ranted here. All I know is this hurts. A lot!

I hope her next janma she is happy, pain free and has a daughter she can be proud of. I am sorry amma I never lived up to your expectations ever. I am a huge failure and I have no chance of redemption with you! I have yelled and spewed words filled with anger but all I wanted was your approval, your love and attention.

I know you missed A and kept calling out his name before you went to the hospital. Please bless him and keep him safe. He is all I have in my life! Yes I am selfish that I want this for him from you! I love you amma! I never said this to you and you don’t like such proclamations but I have to say it here & now!

This pain I am told will become dull and hurt on triggers. I hope that somewhere I had pleased you even a minuscule percentage and not been a total failure that I feel myself to be! I am sorry for all the hurt I caused you.

Unrest

I do remember this space exists. I have just resisted the many times I wanted to pen my thoughts. Why have I returned? This is a period of time I have been writing about almost since 2007 if not earlier. Time when A will be off to college. We are a week away from his departure to college.

That was a milestone I kept looking at and never beyond. I always felt my purpose ended there. Now that it is around the corner, it feels more so. A lot has happened over the years. Many lows and not many highs to report. At this juncture all am left with is unrest. I have no clue what is next for me! I am a proud mother, my son is admitted into a good college in a course of his choice. He is flying off with a promise to work hard, prove himself and do well. Wish him all the best and nothing but the best!

I have no clue what is ahead any more. All I know is I need to move and right now I feel ever so stuck – no door no opening anywhere. I am in a place where hatred towards me is quite tangible. I just wish I never wake up when I go to sleep! Am done. Duty is done. Nothing left any more. There will be no one who will miss me when am gone!

Futility of it all

I have not been in this space of my life for a while now. When I check, it is since mid-February that I have not been here.

A has finished his public exam. Waiting for those scores was excruciating. Admission into junior college was not smooth. Had to change board of education. Trying to understand how it all works, coping with the change. Change definitely seems to be the only constant thing. All the best to the kid, hope he finds his niche and he fits in well. That is the update on the last post.

I am chugging along. Grateful I do have a job, especially during these times. That said and done, why do I feel it is futile? Everything feels so.

I came back to this space where I pen things down, rant like there is no end. I doubt there is anyone out there who even reads this. One part of me hopes this gets read and I get some positive vibes. Another part thinks it just doesn’t matter, I put this out and it is just out there! At least it is off my chest. I have been holding back, not reacting, biting my words down for a long time. I came back here to let off the steam! Release that pressure a little.

This also does seem quite useless! I realise I either just shut off or snap at people. To not snap, I shut off more. It is not easy for a person like me but I also know this is all there is. I need to learn to cope, understand I have no one I can open up and be me – express what I feel as I do not wanting cliched reactions. Probably just some wise advice. I don’t know! Lost as a lamb. I have been waiting to bounce back which just is not happening. That made me come to this space of mine. I am going to just finish now. I would say God help me but long since I stopped believing in the existence of that entity.

PS: This probably is one of the most incoherent posts of mine! If someone is reading this – apologies!

Threshold

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!

Andrew Carnegie

Public exams in the Indian system of education. The first major educational milestone that lays the foundation to what lies ahead. A starts his tomorrow. Here is wishing him the very best.

I have toggled between relaxed to a typical middle class Indian parent through this year. Stressing over his marks and wondering what would happen if he doesn’t score. Every test he had leading up to this set me on that yo-yo path. I believe that he definitely has a whole, clear, glorious life ahead! I have no doubt of that yet, these trivial exams and scores set me back a lot!

A is a wonderful child, caring and understanding comes naturally to him. My friends who know him ask me…hey what are you saying? when did he grow up to face board exams?? Seriously, when did he grow up? He is such a sweet kid. Still loves to be cuddled, would stretch out his arms any time for a hug. He does have his teenage grumpiness, moodiness and above all laziness! I am blessed to have him in my life who has been a rock to me through really tough times. I am very aware of how it should be the reverse but he has truly been the driving force for me.

He is putting in the effort, studying (Indian parent head saying he should study more!). I have no idea what scores he will get but a great life he sure will have! He deserves it!

Do send in all your best wishes, thoughts and prayers to him and all his friends. May they have a calm, cool and collected mind!

Invisible

A question that is asked often. What is the super power you would choose? Invisibility or strength to fly? I have heard many choose invisibility! I never could choose rather never bothered to even think which one I would prefer.

I realise that I am quite invisible. Most don’t even realise my presence even when I am right there. A different matter that many don’t want me around! It was quite a revelation that while I had been sitting right there and was asked a day or two later whether I had even been there!! Yay me?? I have a superpower??

Why doesn’t it feel like one? It just makes me feel left out. Like I don’t matter. I guess I don’t. I have been wondering if it is time to change that semicolon to a period.

Loser

This is a word that has been resonating in my head off late a lot. “Loser”.

I never thought too wonderfully about myself ever. My mother was one of those parents who had the philosophy that it would be bad luck to appreciate one’s kid if she did well. When I think about it, till date, she never has said I have done well in anything. No. I don’t blame her nor would say I would spend time talking of how bad she was as a mother when I grew up. On the contrary, she has never stopped me from doing anything. I am what I am, good or bad, majorly due to how she brought me up. She didn’t coddle me. She always asked me to be bold, face life. Yes, she also was afraid of what society would say and caution me….a lot!

No! this post is not about my mother. It is about me. I have not posted anything in a long time now. I have wanted to. I used to open up the blog, even start drafting and then cancel. I stopped myself thinking who am I kidding? Why am I even posting this? Who even reads all this? or give a rat’s ass on what I post/think? Well…same thoughts going on right now too!

So, what has been happening? A lot on the one hand and it also feels like nothing at all. I enrolled into a fitness camp thinking if I move, I will become fit. Guess at some level, I was getting better. It just was not a visible betterment. So, now I decided to give up. I have written before on how people comment. It has always been the case of damned if I do. Damned if I don’t. So, when I didn’t work out, it was always hey start running, walking. When I signed up, it was whoa! that place is expensive. I had to say it feels like I am investing in my health and it is worth it. No visible changes, it was why do you even bother? Now I am quitting, why quit? I am tired!

I have been told I must not care about anyone who comments. It is easier when you have people in your life and you can value only comments from those select few. When you live like I do, being a people-pleaser, it hurts. Feels like I can never live up to anything.

I am a loser. Just not losing what I want to lose…weight. Lost a lot of everything else. Something else I have lost is, trust in people. A few people make me take that step back in terms of trust. I lost faith that I would ever get the money I lent back. Come to me with a story of how badly you need money, that you would return it. I trust and lend it thinking the person will realise it is hard earned and slated to be spent on A. Lo behold, I am that loser friend who can be taken for a ride! Not just money, any other help, call…Apar will do it. Then we can take her for a ride and smear her too. Story of my life! Don’t get me wrong! I love helping friends out, I just don’t like it when I get trampled all over and feeling used.

I am growing older and definitely not wiser. I feel like I was a better person when I was younger. Definitely less cynical. Work, health – nothing to write about. No progress, and at times makes me wonder if I am worse of now. I probably am.

I stopped reaching out to people. I respond if someone pings me and at times, I don’t do that too as I don’t want to be that person who answers am fine and lies to the question how are you. The new found cynic in me is pushing people away while the other part of me craves for company. A person from my past whose words & opinions still have a sway on me, will say I am suffering from bipolar disorder.

If you have been reading and come this far, you deserve an award. This is probably one of my top ranking depression filled rants. I have done this earlier. I know I will do it again.

Thanks to those few who I still trust and are still enduring me, my depression and pushing me to live through it all. I am indebted to you as it gives me a sliver of hope.

I don’t know when I will post again or even if I will post again. Doing it now, and that is it. Again, if you have come this far, please do leave a hello and let me know you were here! It means a lot to me a lot more than you would realise.

Reminder!

It has been 14 years since I was handed this bundle of joy ! A second year teen now!! He had never been trouble. Not the whiny bawling baby. He was a friendly kid. He showed signs of empathy even as a wee baby! Many occasions to prove just that.

As years went by there were times friends used to kid saying wonder who the parent is!! I wonder where I got this mature understanding young man! He loves hugs! He takes care of me!! When I am unwell he is there making sure I have my medicine, giving me hot packs, bringing my food. Yeah I wonder who the parent is too!!

So why is this post titled “Reminder”?? Well just the other day I was in my room working as usual and A was right in the living room watching a movie. Happens to be the old “Baby’s day out”. I had to scream out asking him to keep the volume down. Then I noticed through the closed door. Laughter. It was a child’s laugh. The joy of innocence! He was laughing out loud & that reminded me that he is still a child. He acts very mature but he is a child. One who loves being cuddled, pampered, loved. As much as I wish he always retains this in him, I know that it will be his maturity that will be cancerous.

This birthday of A’s I wish for him to always retain this child in him which can let him laugh , let him trust a little more, let him love with all his heart. I wish all the pain he has endured and hurt he may have to face( yeah I know he will) doesn’t affect him too much. I hope he realises he always has a few of us right there for him come what may! In his corner pushing him & wishing the best for him!

I will not say don’t grow too soon! I will say never let go of that child in you! I may not say it so often or so loud – I do love you

PS: I keep kidding with him saying “hey A! I don’t like you”. He has his watch engraved with a little correction. It says “I don’t like you I love you ~ Amma”

That faint ray of hope

It has been ages since I even opened my space here. Life has not been still obviously. It just moves on, most of the times monotonously. It seems to chug along!

People met, jobs done, sometimes connections made. I have been drowned deep in work. It has been work, work and more work. So much so I missed even wishing friends on their birthdays, missed meeting some! When I lay in bed fighting to not stay awake and fall asleep, I am left wondering what I am doing! What all this boils down to?

On the rare occasion I made to a meet with schoolmates, a friend said they were planning on a trip to see the Northern Lights. A few from the US and she from Canada. I joked saying yeah may be I must join in with A. This took shape and form. I did push this idea and hopped on to the plan. Extended the bookings they had already made to accommodate the two of us. Countdown began. First hurdle was to get the vacation approved. Then it was fun talking of what we intended to do there. Main topic of discussion was – food!

Me, the eternal pessimist was waiting for something to blow up. Me not getting the visa or something else. Well it all did eventually fall in place. Again a colleague said “you do know that it is all luck to get to see the lights! You are there for Diwali so take a few diyas and light them just in case!” So there I went thinking nah am surely gonna miss the lights! The first night there cemented that thought. Cloudy amongst the fjords in a beautiful boat. No lights.

The next day went up to the mountain on a cable car. No lights for a long time on a cold night. Giving up not wanting to miss the bus we trudged along and there the sky lit up here and there with streaks among the clouds stopping us in our tracks. I was thrilled so was A! While someone in the group said she was disappointed that this was all there was. Guess my attitude of something is always better than nothing helps please oneself!

The next few days again we did get to see the lights. One of the nights was just fabulous by the lake. Dancing. Once in a lifetime experience indeed. Trying to track activity through apps, seeing that it is better in Canada and Russia while we were in the middle in Europe. Then the sudden bursts were thrilling.

A got to experience the cold weather, the snow, museum visits, treks and wonderful company. He learnt how all in a group may not always have the same thinking and how one needs to adjust/ignore and avoid conflict even at times. I definitely prefer cold weather!

We ended the vacation thinking it got over too soon ( well don’t we all do that!?). I was left thinking I must ensure that A& I take a break now and then (maybe not this exotic *read expensive :p * nevertheless a break!) Oh also I am yet to read the travelogue A has written!

Being in thought mode I guess the adage is true. Patience helps! The lights sure did test our patience. Hope shines through?? Boy that is too positive for me!!

Here’s to more such trips / adventures. Cheers!

Maybe…

I am penning (ok typing!) this as I sit in a place where I have spent many a summer. Memories flood in. It feels the same yet so different.

I am sitting in a corner, sipping on some coffee. People watching. As I said it feels the same yet different. Am not ready to engage in conversation with anyone. A lady walks by asks if she can sit next to me. Says she is waiting for someone. I smile and just nod. I return to my book , happy to catch up with my reading at last. The place is definitely noisier than how I remember it. Familiar smells from the cafe wafts in wishing I get up and get myself the cake. I desist. Back to reading looking up and around at all.

I feel a hand at my shoulder. Startled I look up to see A. His class was on a break. Asked him if he wanted anything. Gave him money. He comes back with the cake!! Exclaims that piece of cake was ₹50!! Told him to just eat :). Smiling knowing he will offer it to me. And he does!!

He goes on about the hour and half of what has happened. Told him it was time for him to get back. He rushes off leaving a huge piece saying finish it off amma!

Back to my book and cake! Thought will pen this memory down as A also enjoys his classes as I did when I was a child younger than him. Hope he cherishes this place as much as I do.

I probably am in touch with just two friends who shared the times I had here. More so because I went to school with them too. Days when all didn’t have phones. Forget mobile phones we didn’t even exchange landline numbers :). Boy I feel as old as I am!

Yeah I do wish it was quieter and cooler like how it used to be. Change with times I guess.

What suddenly strikes me is how I didn’t want to say hello to anyone, if I saw someone look at me, I just smiled and went back to my book and now my mobile. Have I changed? How is it that I don’t feel like striking up a conversation?? No one really seems interesting enough for me to engage. Maybe I am just too engrossed in memories. Maybe it will change in weeks to come as I will be here for the next three months. Maybe…