A Kiss of Peace even after Death Do Us Part


Lately, my senses often pervade with thoughts about death. They bemuse my thought form. Could it be that undiscovered ghoul lurking in the neighbour’s attic? Or, a morbid phantom floating about in an invisibility cloak? Coursing its next prey, even as we fantasise about the weekend on a soporific Monday morning. Would it sweep you off like it does in the movies? Or, drop you dead when you’re in the middle of hosting a cheerful banter at the monthly kitty?

The loss of kindred has become a frequently uttered syllable under the living roof. That are residing both, within and beyond the national border. Whether belonging to the direct bloodline or further down the ancestral twine. Its revered occurrence induces an unexpected, recurrent mulling over. Beckoning me to wonder if there would soon come a time when I will be led into enduring an experience alike. The one of having a beloved snatched away. At the snap of a finger.

As inevitable, loss of life is sometimes accompanied by a preamble. And at others, unescorted by any tip-offs. The bottom line being, there is no ideal way to deal with it.

My uncle passed away a few days ago. News as such, particularly when unforeseen, reels the memory lane into an instant flashback. If spieled off over the telephone, the voice on the other end starts drowning out. Because the moment you hear that laconic choice of words, you descend into your train of thoughts. In less than a blink of the eye. It is like staring at a wall that is devoid of any artistic suspensions. You don’t know what to think. And yet, you visualise stray thoughts creating vague smokey patterns.

I tried to recall when I had last heard he was unwell. The cells in my cerebellum countered the idea. Because my memories of him are short-lived but great. And none confined to being in bed. Even otherwise, I had not known him to be a troublesome person. Or, meddlesome. Or, even a handful to tackle. His opinions were never on offer over the counter unless asked. For he was a man difficult to impress. His regards for certain somethings meant eye-tied reliability by the family. Amidst the six siblings, he was neither the eldest nor the most bedridden. While suffering from a bout of viral fever, his pulse had reached a decision. That it wanted to stop ticking. Even before the crack of a daybreak could stretch across the horizon.

It had to be coped up with. Period.

The voice on the other end of my phone fluttered in and out. Enumerating treasonous reasons of his abrupt departure. Showcasing roots and its causes. It didn’t make a difference.

You may avoid looking me in the eye. But, how will you evade my reflection that’ll pursue you like a shadow? :: Reflection of the moon on the floor

The handset kept buzzing afterwards, and the recital of the monologic discourse continued. Priorities unbuckled. For, the rays of the sun now seemed to shine from the reverse direction. No matter how hard we tried to set our vision straight. Reasoning failed to ruminate over sense and sensibility. Kith and kin flew in on the same day. Still, nothing helped alter the matter-of-fact. Nothing could.

Amidst themselves, the siblings reinforced of all the support they had rendered. With superfluous vigour. The focal points of their chattering began to steer in an unanticipated direction. The drudgery of fulfilling the ceremonial rituals. Their resilience to the persisting fatigue since a couple of days. Lingering ailments that needed looking after, henceforth. The daily duties and chores he attended to imprinted an irreplaceable void. Hued and cried about. It could have easily been a staged avenue hosting chattering parleys. If not, these may have passed as talks that induced some warmth. Neither helped rewind the series of unfortunate incidents.

What had to be done, had to be done.

If only.

The moon indulges its admirer in a game of hide-n-seek, leaving behind its streaks as a teaser

This eponymous togetherness also brought a version of my uncle whom I had not known to exist. Of course, it wasn’t as if he had, on a fine morning, sprouted into adulthood. His quirky mischiefs as a child were fondly recalled. The nature of which belonged to another era. The fear of their father catching him in the act was rekindled. Added to it, the terrifying aftermath of thwacking him all over, if caught red-handed. Recollections of favouring and conducive group work amidst the similarly aged siblings, when young, were enamoured. So were his telltales of naughtiness and gang-like shenanigans.

Our lifestyles today cause us to separate with families. Stitched to the tag of a promising future. Muddled and meddled with machines and technology. Family get-togethers for arbitrary prattling befall by prior intimations or appointments.

If only, there is a chance to get to learn about people. Even if, blood relations. If only, their kneading revelations are brought to the cover pages when it matters. When they are alive. Maybe, it helps minimise the leftover void. The same vanity that nags you to know someone when you have a lifetime stretching ahead of you.

Sadly, when you hit the end of the road, there beckons a designated diversion. One for each. That you’re meant to take. And when you oblige, you part with a knotted feeling in the pit of your stomach. For having known them barely all this while.


Photographs: Perungudi, Chennai

5 thoughts on “A Kiss of Peace even after Death Do Us Part

  1. This was a really wonderful and thoughtful for piece, and you are an extremely talented writer. I thank you for including a link to my writing within.

    I am sorry about the loss of your uncle. The way I connected to this is that I am far away from family that I had been so close to growing up. I lost my grandmother earlier this year, and going back home to be with family is very comforting, but all my cousins have grown up with lives that are so divergent from my own. And while we reconnected with ease, nothing changes the fact that ultimately, even though I was the eldest of all the grandchildren, I am a non-entity now and not someone that they would look to for friendship or advice when they need someone close to cry on. I think the distance physically makes a difference, but often even when living in closer proximity we can become disconnected. It seems sad how adult life seems to do this. The truth is that I feel much closer to many others now than those that I grew up with. My aunts and uncles who were so loving to me as a child rarely see me, and I feel like I’m not around to be as good to them as they were to me, and it makes me a little sad. I made maybe it’s sort of the way of the world as new generations grow and old ones fade away, but also part of what makes us humans is that those generations can be alive at the same time and connect. I don’t know, the world seems not quite right at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww, thank you, Swarn. This means much. And the pleasure is all mine. You’ve got a very lovely blog out there.

      I think it’s fair to assume that this generation is caught up in the dilemma of guilty living. You do not opt to live under the same roof as your parents, but you’d take a place two blocks away from theirs. Lest there arises an emergency. You rent/ purchase your property, but you prefer living in the same city as your parents. Or, vice versa. You want to stay close, but not to the point of prying in on each other. You want the tag of independence, yet that blanket of comfort every once in a while.

      It’s like you love getting wet in the rain in that playground with your gang. But you do not want to soil your legs on your way back.

      And the trickier part being, this generously depends on your mood. That has no undoing, once you reach a decision. A ticklish world indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you, but I think the impetus of this guiltless living is that life is more convenient, and wealth, ease of travel, it allows us to stray further from home with safety. Something 500 years ago which would be extremely uncommon. But I think you are right that we don’t often really think about what we’re sacrificing, we just assume it will be so easy to stay in touch, but it’s more effort than we think it will be. Older people have better ability to care about themselves as well. I guess it’s ultimately rooted in that constant conflict between safety and risk, hanging on to the past, or adapting to an ever changing future.

        Ticklish…that’s a good word. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Your thoughts will lend me a smile :)

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