(Nagamani – my wife and my associate in Kennedy High School that we managed together. She passed away on January the 17th two years ago. She was fifty then. I started my blog a year and a half back documenting my memories of our thirty-four years of married life. On the eve of her second memorial I put across my gratitude for her and how much my children and I miss her).
‘It has been two years since my wife was laid to rest. Although I have fairly settled, indulging in a motley of hobbies to scare away my solitary existence. It started from a month, for no useful reason, I tried to figure out what changes I saw in myself since then. My introspection revealed a few healthy-looking adaptive regimens. One good nature I have developed: the fine art of remembering, the efforts I’m investing in recollecting and conserving the episodes of the years we spent together’.
I carved out an emotional box to collect, the treasured memories of the past and dreams of the future. I never missed a day, to forgather the peaks and barbs we shared – all the subtle affairs: laughter, pains, and happiness. These intimate elements bound us together as a thread enwrapped gave us a sense of safety for our children, you and me.
I gathered every day, from the nostalgic past, like a gardener who plucks out flowers, with a good touch. I sieved out all the negativities picking only the guiding blossoms of our common understanding. It helped me to remind the responsibilities you left me to handle – the care and comfort of our children and grandchildren. You have shown the way, ‘I’m first to understand them’ type of attitude you stressed in the conversations about our grown-ups Neelima and Aditya. Today, I follow with patience, the same guidelines. Although it seemed impossible to create a mother like you, the love you reserved for them, I learned in two years, how much of experience and patience and caring you have forged around them. I took a chapter out of your silent teachings about being sensitive for our children. I resolved, with all my mighty attentiveness, never to let into their thoughts, ‘Our mother is not with us.’ I also showed them the fine memories I have been collecting in my treasured box as essays of hope for the future and hard truths of the past. It’s put together as a colored collage I’m composing as heartily as I can. My idea, I believed, whenever they long for you, whatever the time of day, they can hold close to their tired minds the worded tapestry of their mother’s valiancy.
The box is full of muses and memories of our family. Which I enjoyed with you, I take them as my best doctrines which I carry on as a norm. The past when I bring it forward I find it brimming with the lessons you taught me: the cautions you forewarned when my mind took a wayward course; the image of charity you have modeled. There are like threads of foothold so intertwined, when the days seemed dull, mind sunk to a bottom of hollowness, they weaved a cord of forbearance to prop me up.
I knew it had jammed you with unshared fears when my business proposals are adventurously risky. In every crisis, you counterbalanced my rashness with your well-timed prudence. Call it your spiritual vision or intuition only a woman like you can own. At such slippery moments, your actions are like a gear stick in an automobile. It controlled the speed according to terrain and slope: something like the upheavals we have had tamed whatever the stormy situations. I remembered you sat next to me; a tenacious companion at all times, when the road ahead looked up troubled, facing the uncertain, distant view.
Although, slowly, I took time, to remain balanced impervious to sting and singe of your memories and your absence. My honest belief in meditation, an urge not to become a slave to unproductive emotions prompted a shift in my thinking, my stance looking at my loneliness. Again your lessons of courage, insights you spoke about the spiritual trust, helped me to keep going with a comfortable nerve. Today I see myself more resilient, and stronger. The similar traits I learned from you; your courageous conviction, you uncomplaining doctrine – none of us, who are taking care of you, shouldn’t wither in sadness. Even in your cancer treatment, though your suffering ran deep, your assurance for us never faltered. You’re singularly a formidable rebel for a more dreadful disease, cancer – unafraid, never self-conscious throwing yourself combatting it.
Two little ones, with their glowing faces, searching eyes, will never know they arrived two years behind time. They will never see the beautiful smile of their grandmother. I imagined the two toddlers giggling looking at your photographs, clapping their tiny hands, waving their arms. How I wished you would come back hoist them into your arms; Kaushal, the oldest suddenly nudged me. I come out of my relishing reverie. My little trip down the wishful memories interrupted, hurtling me back to reality. It’s a painful certainty; they never can reach your embracing hands caressing them. Kaushal and Abhiram, our grandchildren, are the two miracles; bundles of joy are the annexes of our two children – Aditya and Neelima. Aradhya was the lucky one who enjoyed your caress, smelt the fragrance of your affections.
Tucked in the library, placed across my writing table, I looked over the albums neatly stacked up in the almirah. Within the pages, I sweep my hand upon hundreds of photographs: the mementos of our frozen memories. These are the pieces of evidence of our life together woven around the school, and the family we raised. Whenever I visited them, I savored quieter moments of joy; a deep reassurance how blessed I’m to have shared my life with a beautiful soul like you. In one instance all the traces of remorse melted away, restoring my faith in myself, help me dream, “I can lead stronger, healthier, creative life in your absence.”
Silent remembering is a form of a prayer. Although I bring myself together, early mornings, late evenings, to stay free in a state of serene solitude. I’m washed over by optimism I’m not alone at all; I’m deeply engrossed in recalling the glorious days. Memories go past by our daughter’s wedding celebrations, in our son’s Aditya marriage event, confined to a wheelchair, the way you organized everything with ‘I never give up’ attitude. The very many school’s events, meetings, charity assignments, music, spiritual gatherings, mystifying life confessions – gather in my mind like spindles of yarn all mixed up, in sober colors. And I sit and extract, identify each thread, seek to decipher the magic embedded. Holding the colorful threads of our past, meticulously, I’m on an enduring mission – translate the faithful memories to a draft of written words.
I suffer from a maddening passion. Looking back make me queasy, but it’s not the way I want to remember you. I want to live in the present and write about the past what I see now, how I survived. It’s something similar to weaving a thread locating its origins retrospectively –examination of the roller-coaster ride in the entirety of our three decades of life together. In my writings, I discovered a renewed relationship with you. A new you. I’m telling our story publicly, to the people I liked, to the people who admired you, and I want everyone else to know about you – what a courageously beautiful soul you are. How reverentially I just wanted to pay my homage to you and celebrate the person you are. And helping along myself with the memories that will stay with me till I live. And, in my writings forever.