The water is cold at this place.
River flows in its rhythm, fast at places and then in a playful mood. I remain beneath the water, hardly moving from my place. The water is not of bluish tinge as you would imagine, its colour resembles mother earth; or mud to be precise. There are small ripples in between where water dances in joy but everything slowly flows, as if everything is at peace and tranquil.
He threw me, or what remained in the end, into the river but I did not get far. I settled around the bank where many others lied; for years and centuries. The place is cluttered with many small pieces of burnt bones and ashes but I feel lonely. There is no one to listen to my stories. Perhaps loneliness is death; or this silence; or when everything stands still.
My son did his best to throw me far but he is a frail boy. He is tall and somewhat thin and is not at all as smart as I wished him to be. He does resemble me when he smiles but he often doesn’t do it in front of me. I have seen him laughing aloud with his friends with whom he would spend hours idling. Yesterday too he was with them when he heard the news. He wept like a child and they consoled him. Some of them even cried and had they not been there, I wonder how he would have taken it.
When he came to the pyre, his eyes were swollen red and he looked like a little clown totally out of the surroundings. He looked strange in that shining bald head and white wraparound. I so wanted to hug him and say all would be fine; I do not recall when was the last time I did it. When he was small, he would come running to me and embrace me tightly; now he would not even laugh in front of me. When I saw him yesterday, a frail sixteen-year-old boy accepting condolences, I felt he is not yet prepared to take on this world.
Shama wanted a large doll house, the one she had seen in movies. They are magnificent and large, and extremely expensive. She would often make unreasonable demands and then force me get everything. For a twelve-year-old girl, her father means everything. She was more angry than sad yesterday. She was angry as to how I could have left her like that without warning, my sweet little princess. Her anger betrayed helplessness and disbelief. Her dad who could have never been wrong left her disappointed.
Her life will be different now and she would never get that Doll house. She would also not get many other things and all that will be left is a big vacuum. I know her well, my little angel. I know she would want that doll house all her life. We never give up on our unfulfilled desires, do we?
The sensation is unique. I cannot describe it but I do feel the stream. It is like your hairs being ruffled by the wind. The sky is dark but you can see some stars, they are shining brighter tonight. When was the last time I looked at the sky?
Will I lie here till eternity?
I wanted to say many things to my wife. On a rainy day, we sat together in a veranda and watched it rain. Occasional drizzle came on us with the wind and brought taste of rain. We sat there for long, quietly and still at ease. I held her hand all the time; I can still feel those water droplets that came with the wind and softness of her hands. Whenever I think about our relationship, that day comes to my mind. Our relationship was probably those held hands, or that comfort of being at ease. Our relationship was probably being we.
She was a young bubbly girl when we got married. On her first day at our place, she was surrounded by ladies of the neighbourhood and she looked uncomfortable in a gaudy wedding saree. She looked at me with pleading eyes and just fainted. In that crowded house, she was sent to rest quietly in our room and I was asked to look her after. As I entered the toom, she opened her eyes mischievously and smiled. That day, I fell for her smile.
Yesterday too she fainted twice; a dead body lied in her front that resembled me. The body was swollen and strange; and almost ugly. She often looked at it and closed her eyes and a tear would trickle down her eyes. Her face was sweaty and sad and she was no longer that young mischievous bride she had been one day. She was the lady who shared my joys and sorrows; she was the lady who shared my life. I wanted to hold her hands and sit beside quietly. I have this eerie thought that I will never be able to do it.
When they lifted my dead body, I also walked along with the crowd. They were busy doing their worldly things and I waited for all that to get over. At times someone cried and I found his face funny. How people look different when they cry or smile! When the pyre was lit, I saw the flesh burn and bones crumble into small pieces. Within less than an hour, all that remained of this body were few pieces of white. My son carefully separated them from wood and ash and then threw it in that river. It was almost midnight.
The stars are twinkling in the sky. I remember nights when a young boy would sleep on his rooftop and look at this sky. Some days his grandmother would tell him a story and on others he would count stars and constellations. He was timid and shy and lived in myriad dreams. He loved stories.
I see his mother kiss him on forehead and he cannot hide his smile. She is now caressing his hairs. His dad is full of joy looking at him. Next, he is sitting with his friends. He laughed till his cheeks started aching. There are memories long forgotten but they came back too.
I remember a night when stars twinkled in the sky. There were houses far across and their illumination made them look like Christmas lights on a mountain. It was cold outside but her presence comforted me. Music and wine made everything more beautiful and I softly held her in my arms; her eyes acquiesced that she wanted me too. I held her tightly as if I could always keep her close. I felt her body full of life, her heavy breathing and the fire that lied within. After we made love, I rested my head on her bosom and closed my eyes. If I was ever alive, it was in that time.
I guess I am floating. I am young, I am old, I am not bound now by the restraints of time and age. I am the wind, I am the sea. I am also a song that someone is humming far away. I am a petal, I am a cloud, or I am one strong memory of a song or a smell, or of an embrace. I am the cold wind, I am the heat, or I am chill of the morning, and fog, and mist.
The end is just a beginning!