Forgotten Moments

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!

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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!

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14 thoughts on “Forgotten Moments”

  1. i dont know what to say,except i hope your brother is in a happier place..this week,has seen the loss of two extremely talented and well liked people from my industry…and a very close family friend is seriously ill…so feeling bang in the centre of death….big hug priya..

    1. It must be difficult for you to face a family friend’s serious condition. I hope all goes well.

      I think my brother is in a happier place, but I sometimes wish he’d come here so that I can yell at him and give him a piece of my mind for having left so early. And then maybe give him a big hug thereafter. 🙂

      Hug right back!

  2. Dreary and morose, you call it? Not I. I call this metaphysical prose, philosophical poetry, heart reaching for the beat of another heart. Terrifically moving. I imagine, as you look at your little child, you miss Shonu even more.

    1. Yes, when I look at my daughter, I miss Shonu even more. I am waiting for the pain to reduce, but it gets deeper and stronger with time. (sighs)

      He must be looking at me from somewhere and clucking in impatience at my childishness. “Fool”, he must be saying. But then, what does he know?! 🙂

  3. Dear Priya,
    Oh my oh my what heart-felt writing. I can imagine how hard it must’ve been to write this. I send you (((hugs))) and kisses on both cheeks.

    Last week Shonu, a twenty-seven year old man walked this earth… now he fits inside this vessel.

    I apologize if I have to repeat myself when I say what a gifted writer you are. You’re so skilled with words you play with them as though they were jugglers balls, leaving us your readers heartbroken with a heavy weight on our chests and water that runs down our cheeks.

    1. Rosie, it’s been my attempt as a person and as a writer to make people smile. But I somehow always come down to talking about things that either make them cry, or frown, or move a brain muscle. (sighs) Someday, someday I’ll be able to make you feel good, lighten your heart instead of making it heavy…

  4. You bring beauty to sadness, Priya. May you find comfort in the words you share with us, as I feel a sense of peace when I read what you’ve created. And, may you find Shonu’s light in the eyes of Bela.

    1. The words I share give comfort, yes. And your words provide even more comfort, so thank you. You seem to know things, Lenore — I do see Shonu in Bela’s eyes.

  5. I know what it is to be haunted by that sound of ash and bone inside a metal container, Priya. But they will always be drowned out by Shonu’s words and laughter, and the love you had for each other. And you’re right: life continues, even when we think the world should stop and grieve with us.

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