Monday, 30 January 2012


It’s difficult to talk about him. The memories, fragmented as they are, seem more vivid in retrospect. It has been so long, over a decade. The hurt has only gotten stronger, never abating. I didn’t understand the gravity of the situation then. I didn’t understand the horrible odour of death or that the sterilized blue-green smell of the hospital was not a good omen.
I ran along those hospital corridors, asking for money to buy hot chocolate from the cafeteria or taking a peak into the nurses’ Duty Room every few hours. I remember the downward sloping path to the Canteen and the prison-like gates of the small elevators. The hospital was big, and fascinating. I remember racing around the compound competing with my little brother to find the scariest things.
I remember the day it happened. Or at least, my memory has constructed images that tell me how it happened. I was outside the room in M ward. People were inside, cleaning his body. Ma told me later that there was just so much blood. I was confused at first, they didn’t tell me much. But I made sense of the lulled silence adulterating the hospital’s commotion. I remember Pa’s eyes, wet with pain. I never had, or have, seen him cry. To lose your father, no matter how, is difficult. To lose a father like Chachan, is downright devastating. My father’s strength on that day has remained one of the most compelling memories I have of him.
I remember crying, because I knew Chachan wasn’t coming back. I remember hating everyone, everything for not warning me. My cousin asked me, “Are you crying because everyone else is? Do you even know what has happened?” I thought about it for a while, and then I felt immense anger towards him. How dare he underestimate my understanding of the situation? I refused to explain myself to him. The rest of the memory is hazy. There was an ambulance, I think. I followed it, but they didn’t let me in. There were a lot of people, someone took me away. I don’t remember the funeral. Or anything after that.

There were days when I would sit in my room for hours, just looking through old photographs, searching for your face. Your smile was so pristinely beautiful in those pictures. 
This is the one where I am on your lap. I don’t remember it being taken. I was probably two or three. Do you see the joy in my eyes? You were my hero even then. You left too soon. It’s unfair, I never got to know you. The older members of our family tell me stories. He was like this, he said that, he told me this once. I resent that I have no memories of you to hold on to. It is with a mixture of anger and sadness whose source I cannot plug that my tears rain down making blots on the photo paper. I have resolved now, to create my own fantasies of you.


  1. Such a sadness and longing..and yet there are some memories perhaps..somewhere to find comfort..i hope..touching write..and thank you for your comment..Jae

  2. Thank you Jae, for coming back and visiting. :)

  3. That is the cost of having love in our lives: pain.
    And it is worth it, even though it can wreck us.
    Rock on

  4. Rex,

    I agree. It's always worth it.

  5. This post took me back to my grandfather's times. All I remember about him are such glimpses only. Him being sick in some dark hospital room and me running around. Really moving...

    1. Deva,

      It's always nice to find someone who has felt the same way. Reminds us that we are not alone.

  6. You are not alone. Reminds me of my grandfather too.
    I wish I had some more memories of him.

    I wake up and go to sleep every day seeing his face, his mysterious smile and the thirst for life oozing out of his eyes.

    Keep writing!

    1. It's always nice to have someone else get you. Thank you so much for visiting, I hope you'll come back soon. :)