Monday, February 12, 2007

How can I help you say goodbye



We were her regulars. It’s seen by the way her hands hover over the largest ones in her pile. Our smile makes her decide. And later the extending fingers of the smile roped in her family.

Certain days it would be husband who chopped in quick sure strokes our daily dose of good health. We would see her sit in the shade of the tree they have claimed as their own, nursing her baby. Once in a while her little daughter would stare at us, her small features forming into a prefect scowl.

The unseen cool waters of the tender coconut that rushes up the transparent yellow straw…

And so it was everyday. Only the straw colors would differ. And yes, the scowls too- with varying, or sometimes I thought, deepening levels of intensity.

So when we didn’t see the entire family for some days, we were worried. I think it had to do a lot with the breaking of a pattern. In the many months that we knew them not once have I cared to ask their name or if at all I had to take steps in familiarity it would be to shove their little girl in a warm bath and scrub her to cleanliness.

And she magically reappeared claiming her same old tree with her green bunch of coconuts with their secret waters.

She didn’t appear surprised when we stopped. Holding the chosen ones in my hand, I ask conversationally, “Where were you all these days?”

She leans on the car while she tells me what I shouldn’t have asked.

Her 5 month old baby died. Just like that one morning. After she nursed him and put him to sleep. She woke up as usual, bustled about the house, maybe picked up his dropped toys which she was too lazy to pick up the night before. And when she had to cook breakfast and realized she was short of food, she picked up her what she thought sleeping baby to go shopping with her. When she pressed the cold lifeless body to her bosom, the first realization that something was wrong struck her.

Her final realization after that period of numbness filled with waiting in the hospital watching busy doctors, sicker people, and a proclamation; was of loss.

No one knew what had gone wrong. She least of all.

I think her story stopped long before I realized it did.

She was back to work. She did not have the luxury to dwell in grief.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She was back to work. She did not have the luxury to dwell in grief."

liked those lines. came thru a similar frame few months back..only the people were different..but similar emotions.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Poornima said...

PoornimaP said...

True..... sometimes we dont have the luxury to dwell in grief.....
and sometimes in bliss too......
All that we are allowed to do is, to move on.......

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a family selling coconut water near my house too,. "paniwala dena", i mutter when i visit them everyday, nothing more and nothing less(..yeah my hindi sucks :P)..

..loved your post.
P.S: I am blessed to have the luxury to dwell in your blog all the time. :)

-Manu

8:54 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Anon: I can imagine.

Poornima: I wanted to make a generalized statement like- the poor. But refrained.

Manu: :) Your hindi does!

9:23 PM  
Blogger dharmabum said...

"She did not have the luxury to dwell in grief. "

maybe she possessed an extraordinary sense of objectivity?

and know what, try em without the straws, its a lot more fun that way. but most of all, try em with a dash of vodka - as in, take a swig and replce the lost volume with vodka - u'll be amazed with the concoction :)

3:43 AM  
Blogger Hitchhiker said...

:( I was thinking I wouldnt want to comment on this because it seemed too personal, and because I dint know wot to say :)

But then I got thinking...that's extremely strange behavior! Precisely when I am feeling empathy for another person, I am trying to cover thatas if its some weird emotion. Sigh...Compassion is probably the most strait jacketed emotion these days!

I hope she's doing better. :) Loved your post!

5:25 AM  
Anonymous one among the crowd said...

hi poornima,

irregular but screaming lines. this isn't to you! or is it? not that the post stands out amongst so many of the same genre, but everytime it takes one through the journey of isolation and self-denials. Compassion is not sentiment but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies. so said Matthew Fox. may your lines provoke those frozen minds out of reverie. keep posting....touching experience...

7:21 AM  
Blogger priya said...

good one poornima. The tile is so apt!!!

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*speechless*

well chosen words. crisp writing. well woven. life!

*applauses*

10:07 PM  
Blogger Goldilocks said...

where are u????????alive??????angry?????/do mail me.........

12:23 AM  
Anonymous sarashine said...

oh hello!
i just stopped by to say that I am always an affectionate reader! but i told you I am a "blogger-disaster" in fact I couldn't find your email! but I appreciated your offer of help. I am still trying to forget-forgive. anyway! keep writing please, and I'll keep reading!

3:55 PM  
Blogger Poornima said...

Balu: I dont like spoiling my clothes! :P

Hitchhiker: Compassion. Damn Savage Garden!

OAC: That felt good. :)

Priya: Thank you.

Anon: *Bows*

Goldi: Righto!

Sarashine: There is a profile link on the main page. Click that and you get a lot of useless infor like what movies I like, what books I love... somewhere on that page is my id- a corner is the hint.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Varsha said...

Hi Poornima, i got introduced to ur blog thru one of my friend..and iam really grateful to her for that !! Ur writing style is amazing and i love ur blogs !! Ur words have the magic of touching others heart....good work !!

2:26 PM  
Blogger Sudarshan. A. G. said...

I don't think grief is equated with wallowing... But ya, get what you mean.

'Hota hai' ? :-(

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Think your usage of words is a bit forced and not very natural...

Maybe am not used to your writing style...

Content is strong but you have not done really well in delivering it frankly...

2:19 PM  
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11:43 PM  

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