Written on 20 November 2007. Posted the next day
I’ve gone into a nostalgic mode since Sunday. It was sheer impulse that made me open my journal last night. (Yeah, I maintained one for a few weeks last year.) I was surprised at how many pages I had filled up and how much space Hubby (then a crush) had occupied (half of it by scale). My writing style too surprised me a bit. Maybe one day I'll post some of it here.
Life was so different then. I spent almost all my weekends travelling and catching up with friends. To fill my week, I commissioned authors for a prominent (smug look) publishing house. Wow! Ever noticed how talking in past tense about an ex-office renders it an aura of glory. The office wasn’t all that great when I worked there. But hey it did give me enough fodder for my online chats with Hubby. God bless my ex-boss for torturing me :) I used to look forward to our chats. God bless G-Talk guys as well. Our daily chats always left me feeling happy and unhappy at the same time. Happy for having spent so-and-so-many hours chatting up with him and knowing him better, and unhappy for having to end it. These chats normally started around 7pm and ended at well 10pm, then 11, then 12 and then even later. (Can you see a correlation of the ‘closing time’ with how our equation developed?) OK guys more later. I have this immense urge to digress.
It’s 20th November again. Papa would have been 60 today. S I X T Y! That’s a lot many years older than what he was the last time I saw him. On his pyre. Or was it at Har Ki Paudi in Haridwar a few days later when the priest said the ceremony was over, but I refused to leave until I saw all traces of him washed away be the strong current of the Ganges, and when a part of him got stuck between two stones, I edged forward and ensured it broke free and flowed to I-don’t-know-where.
I’ll always remember that cold winter morning. Not just because that was my last physical contact with him, but also because we had let him down by saying goodbye in a typical Hindu ritualistic manner, the one he avoided, in fact shunned, all his life. I wish there were rituals to say goodbye to non-believers. Come to think of it, one doesn’t really need rituals. They are just ways of spending money on pundits and feeling smug at having fulfilled religious (really? Or psychological?) responsibility. As Papa used to say, the real responsibility is when people are alive and you can look after them, especially in their old age. “No point crying over your dead who-ever-is-dead if you were not around when he/she was ill or happy. You didn’t share that then. So don’t show your crocodile tears now.” I almost hear him say.
Happy b’day Papa