Nightingale, sing us a song

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As I slipped into my bed, surrounded by the smell of pain relief spray and placed myself on the hot water bottle, I forced myself to sleep. It'd be wrong to say I was growing fond of the sedatives prescribed to curb the allergy but tonight's the kind of night where I need to calm the fuck down in all honesty. In the middle of breathing exercises I tried, my mind wandered off elsewhere and that just fucked my mental equilibrium. I can't fucking manage backache, it drove me mad in 24 hours. She suffered for five years, Multiple Myeloma they said. Cancer of the backbone. It didn't spread but the ordeal was harsh. No one ever survives cancer, either ways man is mortal but cancer is assuring yourself, "your time has come buddy".

It was during summer vacation that she fell down and could never sit back properly. After getting her checked from every possible doctor for every possible test, she had really become sick and lost consciousness during a physiotherapy session. After getting her MRI reports cancer was confirmed and I remember each and every day- when these events took place and what went through our minds. The doctors gave a very merry picture of how this is nothing and will probably be fine, just that she wouldn't be able to walk properly. Seeing her from the brave, independent, fiery person to that someone with bed sores what we all lived through here is just something that I can't bring myself to write today. I find myself incapable to describe her pain and what she was going through. For someone like her, not being able to walk/sit was the biggest punishment ever. More than her health, she lost her will power towards the end. The fighting spirit that kept her moving was gone and we were left with merely hope.

Tears trickled down. Just the thought of going through those years brings me close enough to a nervous breakdown. As a pre-teen I've seen it all happen right infront of my eyes. Frequent hospital trips, chemotherapy, hell-hole nights where everything seemed fucked up. While others were planning their Greece vacation, we'd be placed at the hospital bench waiting for our turn to see the Doctor and see the last bit of hopeful advice. From an active singer to a skeleton, I've seen her become right infront of me. Why it was harsh for me probably because she raised me. Ask anyone in my family and they'd tell you all the stories about my childhood related to her. She was my mother as my mother herself claims. I've never been vocal about it or never discussed this with anyone after she passed away, probably because it changed me.

I've been living on the edge myself with the continuous falling sick and being on medicines of different kind. Somehow, I've never really cared about myself after she passed away. I guess a part of me lost hope in medical science. No, not blaming anyone or anything here. We gave her the best we possibly could have. She passed away right infront of us, infact, the way she wanted to in company of all her grandsons and granddaughters, everyone from the kin was around her.

Somewhere, I felt the need to be aloof with this. There are things on my mind that I can never bring up and talk to anyone about. There are things that bother me about my growing up now. Would she approve of this bit of clothing? What would be her take on my post graduation idea?I've lost her in time it seems and choosing to avoid speaking about her and bringing her topic in discussion at some level gets me very pretentious with what others would discuss. I'm incapable of talking about her to anyone. I remember clearly when we were sorting her closet after her demise, I asked my mother to hand over her diary and spectacles. Never had the courage to open and read. Something as basic as reading the birthday cards she'd make for me and my sister- a ritual that I miss completely- puts me back in the time. She'd make the card, compose a poem and ask everyone else to write on that card so that'd be a family thing. Each birthday eve spent with her is as fresh as it happened yesterday. For that matter, her birthday or anyone else's was altogether a different thing. Now, ofcourse, things have changed, me and my sister have grown up, got my bit of social life sorted all these occasions simply remain an excuse to run away from haunting memories, the memories of growing up. I drink and let myself drown to fall into the time where I grew up somewhere, without her being around. That me as I know it is a completely different person than what that 13 year old was who saw her grandmother pass away and accepted it because there seemed to be no option whatsoever. It was harsh, growing up then. Metamorphosis was truly difficult. Never spoke about this to anyone, it's very difficult to go back in time, scrape the memories of recent past to travel down to the time where every night I'd fall only after listening to 1o new stories made my her and I'd come home loaded with comics after each trip I'd make with her.

The decision to take Hindi for my secondary exams was somewhere inspired by her in way. She was strictly Indian and her role as a wife of a diplomat in Indian Foreign Service didn't change the patriot she was. Now that I think of it, I am thankful to my parents and my grandfather for supporting my decision. It's something that you realise with time.

While I type this out, my mind is overflowing with things I want to and not want to write. Not want to write because I have never shared this with anyone. Even thinking about her makes me weak and I'm not ready to face it. When Tejaswee passed away, somewhere I lived the whole period again. It's then I realised running away from it will not in any which way help it. I've got to live with the reality and it's something that I faced it then.

Talking about her today via my blog is probably insensitive. The handful of people who read this page occasionally may or may not know me and even if they do know me, they wouldn't probably know this aspect of my life. My then close friends, didn't come out and help me cope up. My mother always encouraged us to talk and I've heard her and my grandfather speak about her many a times, living those days when we were a family. A unit. When a trip meant everyone travelling together and enjoying. When people ask me why do I not go for vacation with my parents or why do we take independent trips I don't have any answer. I don't think that vacations can have the same meaning again. Neither can we ever have a "family trip" without her. We've all silently accepted it. My grandfather immediately filled the vacuum created after she passed away but no one can bring back my family time.

Been thinking about it reminds me of this. Also, she was a beautiful singer. My passion for music was probably inspired by her somewhere, listening to old tapes of her sing..

This one's for you, where ever you are Badi Mummy.

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  1. I lost my grandmother to cancer when I was 12. No one knows the impact it had on me, not even my own mother.
    I can imagine the sheer courage required to press 'publish' on this post. There are no words of advice, grief doesn't really go away ever. You just learn to live with the void.
    Hang in there.


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