From one lost soul to another

Whatever has to happen, will happen! Whenever, wherever, however, it’s supposed to.

Though, I have some really nice people around me at the moment, who have gone out of their way to ensure, I don’t loose my mind, sometimes one needs to hear an outsider speak, to realize things.

The same thing, though, was said to me by a person, I respect a lot (it’s a rarity trust me) but today it made more sense. I was added to a spiritual group by my aunt. Though I logged into zoom late (the meeting had already begun), the conversation they were having was about relationships. They were talking about how one should not react but respond to others and always try to converse immediately when there’s a problem. So one person, put up a valid point. What if someone is being unreasonable? Isn’t silence better. So the teacher responded, ‘ raise your own frequency! Your peace can’t be created by maintaining distance. The distance is making you feel that you’re at peace. It is your destiny to be in this position. There’s some learning there.’

Though, I was just a silent spectator, it hit home hard and then it occurred to me. Six years ago I had a complete emotional breakdown, someday, someone who witnessed it might tell you. But it was the scariest, loneliest time of my life, up until then. Six years later, one is in the same spot, scared, alone and feeling totally pushed into a corner. On the edge of insanity but something has changed. There’s a natural resistance to not wanting to go there. Though, there has never been a dearth of men, there’s no one whose shoulder one has been able to cry on for a long, long time. For a person, whose always needed a man, always, it has been the most self reliant time, of my life. I don’t know if it’s really by choice or by design.

Now, one is here. All those who care, can’t physically be with me. The one’s who are in the same city, are further away than they’ve ever been. The sense of it dawns, on me now. After my breakdown, I slogged my ass, got my life back on track and until last year, I tried to be a little in shape too. Now, one is a baby elephant, but no body shaming, allowed. In the past six years, I reconnected with old friends, made some new ones, got my work into a museum, travelled throughout the country, got an award for being me and started my own company.

So, that breakdown was a wake up call. That isolation was rewarding. So, if it all seems out of control, lonely and scary, there’s a part of me that’s also become stronger. That realisation is a gift. I may have the wall, to keep people away but I only have me, to hold myself, brush off the dust and rise again.

If things were not going, the way they are, I would have never started sharing my current state of mind on my page. I would have never received the lovely messages I have received from strangers of encouragement. There’s always a silver lining.

So for all you lonely souls out there. This is a request from one lost soul to another. It may seem lonely, the world may seem harsh but know that you will rise, like a Phoenix from the ashes..

If you’re ever told you are difficult, know that you might be different. If you’re told you’re weak know that you’ll regain your strength. If you’re told that you are not beautiful enough, rich enough, thin enough or smart enough, know that you are more than enough. If you’re told you’re looking for sympathy, be glad you have enough people you can talk to and enough opportunity to do so. If you’re damned when you are silent and damned when you answer your phone, know that you’re that important. If your silence is a game and so are your conversations, start playing chess, you’ll be brilliant at it.

Normally, a part of me, SB would say, also kick some ass. That’s the part that keeps me going. But my mother’s daughter, will say, don’t! The spiritual teacher, too said the same thing today, don’t! Aap apne sanskaar, karo, dusro ko apne karne do. You do the right thing, let other people do whatever, they please. You learn to forgive, knowing that other people bring with them a lesson, you need to learn.

‘Well, my mother was nice and forgiving, what the hell did she get in the end? Very few people came to see her, in the past few years of her life!’ argues a part of me. But it’s not about other people, it’s about you and what you will want to teach your children about this world. That’s what you need to figure out. Keep the eye on the prize and know you’re not alone. You be you, dull and depressing when you want and full of sparkle whenever you want! Shine on you crazy diamond ’cause we’re all lost souls, living in a fish bowl, year after year!

Ma’s birthday

How rapidly things change! Within fourteen years, one’s lost three family members. First Dustu, then Raahat, now Mom and one’s left with just the one, who is hell bent on drinking himself to death. The one whose left, said to me, today, he thinks I’m strong enough to take it. Apparently, my tongue fools everyone that I can take all of it, without cracking.

Strength! What is it? ‘ You’re so brave, so strong,’ SB hears this, all the time. ‘Sher aaya, Sher!’, the men in the house chant in unison as I walk down the stairs ( I ain’t making it up). SC looks at SB, quizzically, ‘Are they talking about US?’ ‘Yup, that’s because I’m in charge!’ she replies. ‘Why don’t you start playing the song from, Gully Boy, when I come downstairs?’ SB asks them, cheekily. The Sher notices the excessive drinking, that makes her the natural enemy.

SC retreats back in to her shell. After the events of the past month, she knows she’s too much like her mum, to be able to survive the world, in one piece. The other day, while chatting with an acquaintance at half twelve, she realised going forward, the dominant personality will have to be the more aggressive one. ‘You care too much about what people think about you!’ says the acquaintance. ‘ People have been talking about me, since I was nine! But I do feel terribly hurt when they choose your weakest moments to wag their tongues knowing fully well that you are vulnerable in that moment. Next time, I will expect it.’ she replies. There won’t be any ‘Et Tu Brute’, moments!

‘This is all your fault!’, SB tells SC. ‘Have you not learnt, anything?’ ‘I don’t want to be a machine like you, always analysing.’ snaps back SC, knowing fully well, it’s a long way home. She just wants her lah, lah, land…her spot on the side of the Boulevard, a tazbi in one hand, staring into nothingness, away from prying eyes. But at the moment paradise is too far away.


So she dressed up like this on Karva Chauth, deeply unhappy that she couldn’t fast. Due to her medication she wasn’t allowed to.

I kept the first Roza, of my life, today. At last! I’d been saying for over a decade, it seems like a fascinating process to put your body and mind through. So, this year, since Mum’s just gone and I am home bound, I thought I would try keeping them for two days before her birthday. I don’t know how people fast for such an extended period of time?

Mama’s Muse

So while she was my muse when I became a photographer, I’d been her’s my entire life. I had to pose for my Ma whether or not I liked it. Sometimes, I got slapped too, for not posing, hence so many crying photos from my teenage years. Before you start feeling sorry for me, trust me I was ten times more difficult, then. Those were the only times, my dad would step in to pacify the situation.

I never said she wasn’t flawed but she could melt your heart with her charm. My Amma, could abuse like a madam in a brothel, in fact my Dad never used bad language infront of us. My mum had a sailor’s mouth and very few motherly habits. She woke up late, didn’t let us play, I don’t recall her fussing over me, when I sick ( atleast not after I became a teenager) . In fact each time, I was sick, she would pick up a fight and not speak to me. But she loved in her own, unique way. Obsessively, possessively and immaturely! How I would love to hear, ‘ Diya, you bitch…whore….mar ja musebat!’, just one more time. Funnily enough, at fourteen I was dragged to a family counsellor who suggested I shouldn’t allow either of my parents to hit me. I came back home and told my mom. Got nicely whacked, again.

All those stories, that make me a great patient for a shrink, suddenly don’t seem so bad. One suddenly misses all the yelling and the drama. The silence is deafening. Thankfully, I came to peace with all that she did, when she was alive. I hope she’s at peace with all that I did!

September 2017

Growing up I was my mum’s muse. She loved making pictures. When I was younger I loved it but as I grew older, it didn’t always please me.

Though, when I started making pictures of her, she never really did mind, irrespective off where she was and how she looked. The DSLR made her self conscious, so I ended up making most of her pictures in her later years from my phone. I think she visited a hospital, at least once every year or once every two years.

It’s ironic and I am so grateful that she passed away at home.Though, forever I will wonder, how and why? With no specific disease and suddenly…having seen her husband and not a stranger for the last time! My grandmother passed away like that, she took one look at her husband, said, ‘tussi aa gaye ho!’ and crossed over to the other side.

For the love of Red!

My mum was an intensely passionate woman. She loved everything in shades of red and pink. From her nail paint to her lipstick to her lingerie, everything spelled seductress.

I on the hand, hardly ever wear nail paint or lipstick but the love for everything else,is the same. It’s tough for women, to be sexual beings and in her day and age, it was a bitch! Sometimes, when I find life to be too hard, like I do these days, I find myself reliving my childhood. Maybe, it’s the photographs or the isolation, maybe it’s the general disappointment and hopelessness but mum’s life, inspires me, to not loose my mind.

A funny thing about writing about your life or someone else’s is, you can’t really truly be honest. You can’t really say it exactly as it is or was. One can be generic, ‘she was intensely lonely in the last few years of her life’, is permissible. But you can’t really say specifically what the equation was with each person, why suddenly everybody, vanished from her life in the last few years. But they are there lurking in your memory, having left a lasting impression about the world.

If my own experiences were not good enough for me to learn, mum’s life definitely teaches me. In your strong moments, the world stands by you. In your weak one’s whether you are as sweet and as loving as my mom or as chudail type like me, you’ve bloody well had it. So, look inwards and befriend your solitude. It will never stalk you, throw a fit, give you the silent treatment nor will it unfriend you in your most trying times.

Suicide, na, no way, is another lesson. It’s taken me a long time to reach here, her death has definitely driven the nail through that coffin. Someone asked me, ‘I hope you’re not going to do something!’ SB was dormant, at that time otherwise, she would have replied, ‘ Now if I decide to go, I’ll take a few with me!’

Giving without a thought and loving without reason, was what made my Amma amazing but I have no intentions of repeating those mistakes. Six manless years (talking and hanging out doesn’t count) can turn into sixteen for all I care but in matters of the heart, I am going to use my brains. My Amma spent forty one years with a man, I don’t think I can even manage forty one days at the moment. But I should try to commit to someone and be in it for the long haul. Like my parents were in it for worse and better, someday, I should try that. It’s seeming less and less repulsive, since she’s gone.

While there may be a lot of people who abandon you in the winter of your life. there are some who stand by your side. A childhood friend of mom’s, was in her corner till the end. I should learn not to be so cynical looking at that or from even my own life, the wonderful childhood friends, my aunt and the ex assistant are a constant source of support, at this time. I haven’t learnt but I should. ‘You got to trust somebody’, said a friend. I should give that a shot.

It’s also inspired me to doll up a bit. Next time you see me all dressed up, know that it’s for the one who will watch me gleefully from above.


There are a lot more people on the street. But it’s a bad idea to go out, since most people are not maintaining social distance. This increases and poses as a risk to not only your own existence but also to the existence of the people around you. I think I should just stay home and not venture out.


I’ve heard God only gives a soul as much pain as it can take. I would also hear from people, while my mum was alive and ofcourse after she passed away, ‘She must have done something in her previous life, to go through so much suffering.’ By that logic my grandmother lost three children and a grandchild before she passed away. What a sinner she must have been! I love when people talk about life, death, rebirth, God with certainty. The only thing I’m certain of is I don’t know, I don’t know whether there is a God, or what happens after death or is there reincarnation. If I was a religious being I would be certain of something. If I was a follower I would know but a seeker, always seeks, without a conclusion.

But when you love someone, that’s a scary thought. Normally, for myself I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass, the devil has my soul but I pray like an old superstitious, woman for her’s. It’s a bit nuts and is filled with heap loads of hypocrisy, but when someone says something, I’m like ‘ya, ya, let’s do this!’. I don’t care whether it’s right, wrong, nonsensical, I ain’t taking a chance with her’s.

Though, when I put aside the cocktail made of fear, mixed with guilt and hopelessness, I do wonder why would I think, my mother’s life was anything but a glorious existence? Yes, it wasn’t like a lot of people’s lives, easier ( materialistically) and harder otherwise. Warrior women have battle wounds…it’s an honour to be a part of that tribe. My mum had many ( her entire chest was burnt, she went into battle with her darkness). Most people don’t even know, they have a dark side. My mum delved in deep, into her’s , played with the devil and came out, giggling like a school girl!

While my darkness tries to encompass me, I realise, sometimes it isn’t that easy to get out of it. One wrong move and I will go sliding down quicker than I can imagine. I may not emerge stronger, but may get lost there. So, I’m grappling with things, looking for alternatives.

First things first.. I went back to my page. I’m sure a lot of people would be feeling like I do, right now. I’m sure they must be feeling worse, since I have all the privileges in the world. It’s the best thing I did. It activated the need the shoot, so I took out my camera and most probably I will try to go back to work, as soon as possible.

While I had all kinds of drama unfolding around me, there were people who were sending me love and light. Amongst those were childhood friends, who couldn’t be a part of the last rites. While my soap opera of a life is, entertaining people around me, I started focusing on the people who didn’t have that need. Though my aunt and my ex assistant are the legs I stand on, I don’t know if it’s the lockdown or SC, requiring a lot more care than I can give her but I started by thanking the people I had, in my life.

Worked like magic! The beautiful messages I received in the past month, were resent to me in one day. On a day, when I needed to be reminded of something nice, of support, strength and love, bam it came with such a powerful force. It may not have meant as much to the one’s who wrote it as it did for me to read and hear it. All of us are watched over (by I don’t know who, God, angels , some power) and as soon as we ask for help, we get it.

Truman’s Show

It’s been almost a month since my mother’s passing. 18th of March, she suddenly passed away, leaving me shell shocked.

Have you ever been on stage? Imagine being on stage with an interactive audience. In the sense, you are delivering a line and the audience starts commenting on each line you deliver. Or better still, have you watched the movie- The Truman’s Show, now imagine being Truman. Well, I’m Truman. Yes, that’s what I have been turned into, someone whose life, pain and suffering are for public gossip and consumption.

Imagine packing up 40 years of someone’s life, in a month and turning it into a gossip magazine, that people consume, while you grieve because, at the moment they assume, you are too weak to retaliate. I want to know how you would like that? Am I overreacting, being oversensitive or immature?

How would you like it, if the day your Mum passes away, your death is fantasised about? How would you like hearing fantasies about adopting a male heir, since the only person, who was opposed to that is dead. I’m sure you would love it.

I’m sure, you would really enjoy it , if your friends and family, sit and rip off not only your existence, but aspects of your mum’s death. I’m sure you would love it. I’m sure, when your house is turned into a tavern, where drunk men, sit and gossip that would please you to punch. I’m sure a couple of days after your mum’s death, you would be able to handle it. I’m sure, in that state when you try to get away from it, a whole tamasha is created and everybody you know is called, you would be so pleased with the world. I’m sure you wouldn’t feel like a wounded, trapped animal with nowhere to go.

I’m sure, while you try to adjust to your mum’s passing, everything that she saved for your marriage, it’s discussed how, it is going to be sold. I’m sure you would be okay, with it. I’m sure you would be okay, with conversations about remarriage, as well. I’m tu padeyshi crazy, everybody else would be able to handle it very well.

Imagine confiding, in people, as we all assume, we should, to keep ourselves sane and that turning into a game of Chinese whispers. I’m sure you would love it! I’m sure, a man who you turned down for a romantic liaison, many months ago, when he picks this month to go all kkkk Kiran on you, nothing about it would scare you. I’m sure when for a few days , everyday, from five in the morning till late at night, you are sent from sweet, to nasty, to obnoxious, to apologetic, to threatening messages, to sweet again ( which you just stop replying to ) you would think all this is very normal, to put someone through. I’m sure, at this time, you would not expect anyone to stand in front of you, to block the onslaught. Someday, someone should read the messages I have received from so many ‘concerned’ individuals in the past thirty days and know what it feels like to be me. They’re priceless gems!

I’m sure I’m crazy, immature, victimised, egoistic, horrible, mad but I swear to God, I’m tired of the niceness of this world. I really am! I’m so glad, I don’t have a shred of niceness in me and last night, SB came out raging to go. This is her time, she needs to stand up and be Kali, SC can wait for the wall to descend, or for her loving bua’s messages, before she comes out again.

The Wall

Happy birthday! Thank you for taking such good care of my mum, in the hospital and at home. She loved the crystal pieces , you bought for her. She loved you and GD a lot. I know she made you promise, that you would take care of me. I think she had a premonition, it would get this bad.

She must be heaving a sigh of relief, seeing you and my bua, fussing over me, like mother hens. For checking up on me every single day (for the past month) , reading the fatiha for my mum’s soul, for watching me break down in pieces, yet letting me be and for saving my life again, thank you. You have literally saved my life more times, than I count, now. Sometimes, I think, if anybody, anybody, saw me as weak and broken as you have seen me, I would have gotten royally screwed.

Thanks for being so good to SC and somehow, miraculously knowing how to deal with SB. That makes you a rarity. Thank you, for never wanting to win my trust. For saying, ‘I know you can’t trust anyone, it’s ok. No problem.’ For explaining this to another man, how should I thank you?

While people have tried to be my kandha ( especially now, when I am vulnerable) you are my wall. Someone who stands between me and the world, while I cry, scream, panic and sort myself out behind the bricks, that act as protection. For letting me be, for letting me weep, for keeping me sane and more than that for keeping me alive, thank you.

P.S- Yeh sabh padke zyaada hava mein udna ka nahin, he mamu and I know you find SB hilarious but don’t you laugh like a jackass, mein tenu paan deyanga!

KASHMIR- the famous saga (2)

In most of my pictures from Kashmir, you’ll find me dressed in a four hundred rupee phiran, with a cap on my head and filthy shoes. The girl in dirty shoes was produced by this beautiful, stylish, woman is hard to believe. The epitome of elegance.

I rejected my femininity, quite forcefully, after a certain age. I most definitely rejected the clothes, my mom made me wear. I went from wearing the shortest clothes, to wearing anything that made me blend in, it made life easier and with time the job too. This was all to my mother’s dismay. She liked nothing better than seeing me, all dolled up.

Kashmir- the famous saga.

Sometime after this trip, to Kashmir, Mum lost herself, somewhere either extrinsic or intrinsic. I don’t know, if it was due to the amount people talked about it ( which even I heard) or because she had begun to slip into her darkness. But her inability to handle the way everyone spoke about her- her family, her husband’s family, neighbours, friends, didn’t help.

I remember hearing so much about her clothes, her behaviour that not only did I end up resenting her but also the rest of the world. My dad says, I changed drastically, after mum fell ill. I don’t know, I only remember this misanthropic version of myself. But when I look at these pictures, I realize how difficult it must have been to be overly sensitive and to hear such sharp criticism, on every aspect of your personality. For the longest time, till her son’s death, she was the original, rebel. Though, the household revolved around her, completely, by many she was considered the wasteful, good for nothing woman, who was a cause of her husband’s misery.

Her son’s death redeemed her of her apparent sins. I’m so glad she didn’t die with that tag, most people having forgotten that version of her.

For the love of cake

After I think the age of seven or eight, my relationship with my Mum became strained. I’d grown up, I could figure out what was happening around me and she was beginning to fall ill. The colour of my skin, also became quite troublesome for her as I grew older.

Hailing from a Sikh family, I was expected to be white, as milk and my skin and hair, have a life and mood of their own. Girgit ki tarha rang badalta he. Depending on how long I have been out in the sun, whether my eyebrows are done or not ( unlike my mother, I hate going to the salon) and if I’ve gotten enough sleep or not, I turn from wheatish to chocolate brown. So from 7-8 to 15-16, I was a chocolate brown colour, to my poor mother’s horror. She had to hear plenty from her family and I had to hear plenty from my brother and mum, ‘kali, Kali’ they would chant.

It’s only when I grew up, that I realised she didn’t know any better. I still have more than enough relatives, even friends, who look at their white skin, the way my mum would look at hers and think it’s an achievement. Thankfully, I didn’t grow up with a complex about it but I wish it wasn’t an issue. I wish we won’t have wasted time on so many trivial things.

Cuteness Personified

The cuteness quotient in 26 Hemkunt, has reduced to zilch, as the baby has transformed into something else. They say your loved ones turn into stars, I think our baby has turned into a rainbow or a butterfly.

The Beauty

Like I have SB and SC, two extremely stark personalities, my mum too, had many, many shades. Though, her darkness was all encompassing- with suicide attempts, violent behaviour and addictions always at the fore, her brighter side- the upswing, was what most people remember her by.

That’s a successful life, to not be flawless, to be quite imperfect actually but to love, so cheerfully and fully that the flaws seem inconsequential. If you ever want to know, how it feels to be loved wholeheartedly, obsessively and imperfectly, you had to be loved by my mum. Her love was full of sunshine and rainbows, with little dances and lots of kisses. If she loved you once, she would love you always!

There’s a song by Sheryl Crow, ‘are you strong enough to be my man?’. At the worst times of my life, I have listened to that on repeat (yeah, yeah, I kept believing in Prince Charming till I turned 35. Someone said something about finding a soul mate today and I said-‘ Mine’s committed suicide. He took one look at me and thought, ‘God, am I going to be stuck with this?’ Trust me on an incorrigible romantic fed on story after after story of family members, eloping, that’s the only thought that works) an umpteen number of times.

I suddenly remembered that song, today, when I was looking at mum’s pictures. It takes a special kind of man, to deal with a woman so full of spunk. I wish her companion would have been that for her but we all have our limitations. What she really needed she never got but surprisingly though it diminished her, it never did mitigate her love.

The calm before the storm

My Amma, had a very tumultuous existence. In the beginning there were a few happy years, though I was too young, I don’t recall them. I think like me, she was born with a void inside, that she kept trying to fill- with family, friends, medicinal drugs but she never could. Though, she smiled a lot, her eyes always wandered away, from people, like she wasn’t there, like she was meant to be somewhere else.

Prayers for me and you

When the heart hurts pray. Pray for your heart to survive the pain. Pray for the one who has departed. Pray that the one who has departed is happy wherever she is. Pray for the world to heal. Pray for all the other people who are in pain, may God relieve them. Pray for everyone you have ever loved, may God protect them in these trying times.

If you are a spiritual being, there’s an interesting app, I’ve been using Meditation +. There’s of course the Chaupai Sahab, which makes you feel stronger, during your trying times. But collective praying, in a jamat, is a powerful tool. In the times of social distancing, video calls, help. My Sufi friends were nice enough, to do a couple of sessions with me of the zikr on whattsapp and the ex assistant reads the Fatiha for mum. I try to follow, along.

These are troubling times, physically and emotionally for all of us. For some of us, it feels like the world has come to an end and this is when we have to remind ourselves, that, we are very lucky, to have all these luxuries. It’s not necessary that our heart will agree with all that our mind knows. It will want to wallow longer, get lost in despair, want someone’s hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, it will want to be ungrateful and childish. That’s when prayer helps, fake it( positivity, gratitude etc) till you make it. Sometimes working on the outside, helps to change the inside.


There’s a story, I heard about an experiment that was done with rice. Somebody took three bags of rice and started saying nice things to the first bag, nothing to the second bag and bad things to the third one. The bag to which good things were said, lasted longest and so on and so forth. You get the gist. Humans, animals and plants are like that. You can alter anybody’s behaviour by what you say to them, consistently. Words are very powerful.

With overly sensitive people, such as my mum, the change, was very dramatic. This understanding played a large part in altering our relationship, made us closer in her latter years.

Someone said something, about that to me today,’ how little it takes to actually please you, most people just miss it because you scare them away, with all your yelling’ that I realised, this trait of mine is so much like my Amma’s. How fierce, she was, when we were little! Though she was a hoarder, she loved things but nothing pleased her more than a smile or a kiss.

I remained locked up in a room today, trying to calm myself down. The praying, the books, the instrument calmed down my nerves and so the BP, was comparatively normal. My mum would gulp down bottle after bottle of cough syrup and lock herself up in a room, where there was no ventilation, to get away from the games people played. But I promised myself, I wouldn’t turn into that version of her. Plus, though she had a terrible temper, there wasn’t a vindictive bone in her body. I thankfully, have SB to count on.

The retreat in my case is usually a preparation period. The sharpening of the saw- cry, introspect, pray, talk to only those who can have a positive and healing impact on your existence. All of us thankfully, have a few people like that. In any case, this lockdown is a gift, from the Universe, to us and Mother Nature to heal ourselves, to understand that everything we need is within us.

P-S- The last person my mom saw, before she passed away, was my dad. A picture is worth a thousand words! No guesses about how in love she was with him.

The stages of grief

Someone said to me the other day, ‘ You lost your brother at such a young age and took it in your stride. You’re older now, you should be able to handle this better!’

Maybe, I should. But I suck at most things that are practical and come naturally to others. So I’m wallowing in self pity, while people are dying outside. My personal grief has taken over any part of me which is capable of watching, hearing, knowing or empathising with another.

Yes, I know, I should be shaken and whacked. As my Bp shot up yet again today, the Diastolic levels upto a 111, SB kicked in. ‘ Enough!’, she yelled at SC. So here we are, trying to figure out, how to get our shit back together. If I don’t stop myself now, I’ll fall into an abyss. I do have concerned friends and family, who are just a phone call away but other than a loving aunt, who messages regularly and an ex assistant ( now a very close friend) who has seen me go down that rabbit hole, no one will be able to drag me out, from that place.

So, I look at the Alprax the doctor prescribed, look at my mum’s picture when she was addicted to Corex and say, ‘Oh no! We just can’t go down that road!’ If you are genetically inclined towards addiction (which in my case, I am from both sides) when you’re grieving is when you need to stay away from drugs, pills and alcohol. A few sleepless nights, ain’t going to harm no one. So let’s see what we can do.

There are five stages of grief. Some even suggest there are seven. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are the five, Elisabeth Kubler- Ross, wrote about in her book On Death and Dying.

In her later years, she discovered that these are not necessarily, linear. My first reaction, when I feel helpless, is anger. SB usually kicks in with full force, so the more hurt I feel, the angrier I get. Maybe it’s due to the lockdown that I am more melancholic than pissed. Which is a bit scary and exciting.

To know that you are on the edge of your sanity-alone, terrified and tired, cornered just because you are a single woman and the only child of your parent’s ( if my mother didn’t own stuff and had been in and out of hospitals for 31 yrs of my life, trust me, the story would have been told differently) is in a way terrible but empowering. No? After all, how often do you get to play the hero, of your own story? So here I am trying to keep myself in one piece. If I fall, I’ll make a lot of people very happy, if I rise, I’ll be defying all the odds. I just have to find the white horse and the gleaming sword, within and rise to the occasion.

2 weeks later

My Chottu

It’s been two weeks since you left. Your pink shawl smells of me and not of you, anymore. The blue and white frock, still carries your fragrance…a mix of dettol and talcum powder. At last I could get myself to go through you stuff. I don’t know if it was the process of trying to give some of your stuff away or being taken to the same hospital and spending two hours in the same ICU, where you passed away, that gave me some closure.

I think the whole episode, of my discomfort and the abnormality with my ECG was only, so that I could spend a couple of hours, reliving the day you left me. I don’t think that day will stop haunting me, but for now, my heart feels a little at ease. I looked at a video of your’s where you were dancing and I laughed so hard…only you and your son could make me burst, into those kinds of peels of laughter. It should be a sin, to be so damn cute!

Hope you’re having a good time. I’m not having, such a great one, without you. Remember, the first thing I used to do, when I would return home, would yell for Dusty ( when he was alive)..’Dustu bhaiya’ and he would walk down from the second floor, smiling like a jackass, thrilled to bits he was so important. Since, you shifted to the drawing room, if I entered the house and even if I went to the loo without meeting you, you would get so upset. The first thing I had to do was, come in, say ‘hi my chotte, I love you’ and plant a kiss on you. That would thrill you to bits and you always gave me the sweetest smile and would say, ‘ I love you the same’. I hate entering the house…it reminds me no one will ever, look at me and smile like that again.

P.S- Look at this photo, reminds me of what the lady at the parlour said,’ yeh aap ki mummy he, itni gori he yeh to!’ How amused I was and how offended you were.