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Friday, April 9, 2010

Grace under pressure

“With black wings spread wide, when my soul wanders as a crow released from the pits of the hell called ‘puth’, who is there to offer me gingelly seeds, tulsi stalks and drops of water “

“ the cancer cells clinging to and growing in my uterus like some fungus..an amorphous mass, like the milky way, spreadeagled across my stomach”

‘my children..my tenthousand and one children.. my tiny, tiny dear darlings…they will offer me gingelly seeds, tulsi stalks and water..sure.

(Mathrubhumi Vishu Pathippu Vol XLVIII-No-4-April-12-1970. Page 11 “Shishu” N.S.Madhavan, University Department, Trivandrum.)

Yes. We will offer you water….and gingelly oil…. and tulsi stalks…and sandal paste.. yes we will offer you all these to wash your face, to clean your teeth, to cleanse your body..to adorn it. For we are your children…. the once amorphous masses which lay spreadeagled across your stomach…. like the cancer cells now. Yes we will try to release you from the hell called ‘puth’ much like the cancer cells are trying to do…

Synchronicity always had a very dominant influence in my life. The magazine containing this story which I first read when it was published in 1970, came to me again in September 2009. My mother in law in one of her cleaning sprees had shifted this from her collection to Krishna. I read the story again and a few days later mother called from Ottapalam to complain about her itching!

The black crow which banged against the glass pane of the bed room in the Guest House at Arakkonam where I was dozing off one afternoon last week….the crow which dived towards me with a raucous cry the next day morning… Oh, it was just some mother crow trying to defend her nest although I could not see any nest in the nearby trees. Possible… but I like to believe that it was some soul who lost his partner some twentyone years ago trying to persuade me to let go of her.

And the silent message conveyed through the tips of my finger resting on her left hand.. left shoulder.. Raju let me go… let me sleep..let me rest.

Yes mother…we will not detain you here any longer. Time for us to answer for our deeds without your protecting arms, time to account for everything, time to atone….Well, you have been a great help. And hark! Isn’t that the Indian tree pie calling again ‘saudaaamaniiii..

“Indestructible” that is how I always thought of you. Like some solid rock against which the waves spend their energy futilely. A survivor. Scarlett Ohara is the nearest character I can think of.

Death priced out the larynx of your first born and crushed the larynx of the last born son. He took away your companion. But it did not succeed in breaking your spirit. Because you decided your remaining children needed you for some more time. Until an unseen enemy started gnawing on your entrails. Much like Arjuna hidden behind Shikhandi.

Nobody can conquer Death. But you had subdued him and made him wait. He came with his buffalo and rope in December. You said, “Wait, I don’t want to spoil my granddaughter’s wedding. Moreover the brave, like Bhisma, dies only during the Northern equinox” He tried to take her forcibly a month later. She said ‘ you are not man enough. I am the daughter of the Sun and will consider going when he is only at his zenith’. Although severely wounded, she won again. She said, " Iwant to wait for my son to come home from Abu Dhabi"

Then the bird came again and started chirping. “ saudaamaniii….saudamaniiii..” Unniettan was calling again." Maani, twentyone years is a long time. Some more of our children will join us in half that time. Besides, if you wait for Medam, you risk leaving the world on “Pancham” bringing the possibility of another death in your family in short time. Better you come. Maani.

Yes, I think I will. Children, those of you who can hear me , do hear. I am leaving

“ Earth, my mother, Air my father, Light my companion

Water my kinsman, Sky my brother, my final salutations

Attaining pure knowledge and enlightenment thru’ contact with you

I relinquish all material desires and merge with the Absolute


She did one final thing She commanded the fierce Meenam Sun to hide under a canopy of nimbus clouds so that her sons may not have to suffer, even while flames licked at her battle scarred, emaciated body.

Goodbye Amma, see you soon.

3 comments:

  1. Yes, the biggest of all losses.The lines you wrote transported me back to those few melancholy minutes I spent helplessly near the deathbed of my mother in an ICU in a Calicut hospital about two decades back.

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  2. The only finality of life " Death ! "
    Sad, no other word can describe this more pognantly.The lonelines can be unberable,having lived like that for 30 years, Mom and Dad are again the only people in this world who will give to you until it pains.

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  3. Yes..my amma did the same ..she just found the right time to leave..after fasting shayana ekadshi day, it the lambs and took the flight to vaikunta.. Thanks for sharing your excellent note..

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