I am using my old laptop again after it’s been formatted. While going through old files, I found this small bit of writing that I wrote for a canned project. In the rush of an inexplainable urge, I am posting it even though it is dreary and morose. Forgive me!
It was over in a minute. All we had to do was to unscrew the brass urn’s cap, and let bits of Shonu fly off into the Ganga to let him merge back with the elements that had been a part of him, giving him life. He had become a part of them now. We were here in Haridwar on the bridge over the river to bid final goodbye. Strange, since he was going to be with us all the time hereafter.
We had left Alwar eight hours back. Or was it nine? I do not remember these details anymore. What I do remember is that the urn was sitting on my lap during the entire journey. We switched places every few hours, all of us; sometimes in this car or that, sometimes in the co-driver’s seat, sometimes at the back. All through these blurred motions, the only thing I was aware of was this small metal vessel. Just a week back, a twenty-seven year old man walked this earth, partaking of all its movements; but was now gone enough to fit inside this vessel.
His parents — our parents — would probably disagree. He could not be in that urn; twenty-seven years of memories and touch and emotion could not be in that urn. But why did I hear a heartbreaking sound of its contents each time the car turned, or I did? Why did these tiny fragments of our beloved, dear, dear Shonu scrape the insides of the brass vessel so?
Life makes strange paintings sometimes. It paints a canvas with love and tenderness and hope, and then splashes it with a paint so indelible that all that the eye sees in the carefully stroked painting is that predominating, ugly splash.
Standing on the bridge, a little away from everybody, I could see Ganga impatiently attempting to shove boulders away from her path. The green-brown water was relentless, it wouldn’t listen if you implored. It had to rumble, and weather all that stopped her from flowing on. If we weren’t here, where would we be? Haridwar, The Gateway to the Gods, should be a good place to sprinkle the bits remaining.
The May heat forgotten, we let our faces feel the breeze coming from the direction of the Gods’ abode. If there was a God, I thought, I would not be here on this mission, standing on this bridge with my parents. I could see my father looking at a distance, slowly wiping his ash-dipped hand on his favourite towel. My mother had covered her head with her saree’s anchal, her watery eyes searching something on the bridge’s walkway. The rest, my aunts and uncles and cousins, were all doing things live people do. We are all alive.
Image courtesy: http://www.indiachardhamyatra.com
I still find it difficult to sit down an type responses to your comments. Please accommodate my state of mind!