I didn’t know what grief was. That hollow feeling of helplessness and despair is consuming me now. Ever been to a casino and despite knowing the high odds of losing, felt the situation will be in your favor? It’s like you know the uncertainty yet don’t fathom its nature until you lose. Though I was acquainted with the uncertainty of life it is not until now during this pandemic that it is stark clear to me.
The coronavirus is still holding onto my chest, not treating me so bad but its effect on my family has got me weak in my knees. It was pretty late until my family realized corona had us in its radar which led to a series of unfortunate weeks and long hospital bills.
My grandmother and dad were hospitalized and the rest of us were quarantined at home. It’s this week that I realized how cautious we are to be of our frail lives, only one chance on existence. People spent a fortune on lives and not to my surprise my mom could spend an entire night sleeping on the administration room sofa in a Covid-19 ward while she was healthy to make sure my dad’s oxygen levels are in control.
I distinctly remember the scenario; it was almost midnight when my mom felt it was necessary to take my dad to the hospital, in the midst of the night on the streets of the once bustling city which was now dead, my mom rushed out with him during the curfew. You could only see the beaming lights from the sirens of patrolling cars and cops on duty making sure the curfew rules are strictly followed. No one was allowed to leave their homes after 9:00pm and so my mom was stopped by a cop but considering the emergency she was given a grant. On reaching the hospital and admitting my dad, it was so late, around 1:00 in the morning— there weren’t any Ubers available and it wasn’t safe to leave then,— and so my mom was left with no option but staying the night at the hospital despite the prohibition.
I guess I was never the loving kind, took the little things that people do for me for granted. I wasn’t very appreciative of the love I am often showered with and failed to notice its magnificent impact on my life until it was my mom with her immense love, who stood by us in our times of despair to rekindle the word grateful in my heart. I realize after having fallen multiple times, how important it is to notice and be expressive to people, as finally relationships are the reason you wake up every day with a smile and sense of comfort.
I kept hope imagining this phase to be a passing cloud, since everything is supposed to be temporary after all. However little did I know this pandemic was going to leave a mark of permanence. It got my grandmother.
Each night I slept looking at the void space on her side of the bed. Today I noticed the abandoned bird feeder and the weary wilting plants that have lost their lush in her absence. Right now, I peek down the balcony wall to see Kali our lovely black dog pressing on the bars of our iron gate, wagging his tail, still waiting to welcome her back from the hospital; little does he know she won’t return.
Battling through life’s harshest fights and always winning bruised but with an aura of bubbling confidence, I could describe my grandmother as invincible. Her sparks could make anyone’s day , so right now the steel cold silence that surrounds me is a reminder of her not being here.
Walking through our backyard now, where we use to spend a lot of time gardening together, I really feel lonely. I grew up eating her green chutney and pickles made from the mint leaves and lemons growing in our garden. I remember holding her hands when I was a child while she described all the herbs and plants in our garden. Her hands were always warm, a bit rough and sturdy. She had some scars which told great stories. She uses to tell me a lot of stories and I could see them come alive through her scars and her wrinkled hands.
She was a lot like me; fearless and full of energy, she used to tell me how she would climb on trees to pluck juicy fruits, how she had petted all sorts of animals she really adored and had seen mystical things I loved hearing about. My grandmother was nothing short of sunbeams, she used to light up the entire bazaar as she cracked up chatting with vegetable vendors, and catching up with the shopkeepers who adored her. The pandemic stole my greatest source of joy.
The surreal nature of this kind of loss is its contrast, with it being the most normal thing in life, everyone has to die. Yet strange; a coliseum of thoughts, dreams, and inexorably unique persona has been dispersed and will be a memory.
I can only promise to keep kindled her spirit of liveliness and bursts of energy, keep her love in the things that stay alive in her presence. I’m writing this to remind you lives are frail, change is constant. In this pandemic dark times are inevitable. Everything is temporary but our spirits shouldn’t die, just like my grandmother’s will dwell, the only thing that is permanent, the only thing that is not temporary.
Geetanjali Purohit is a fun-loving girl with a radiant personality. She loves to be the reason for someone’s smile. Having an array of interests from coding, writing, hanging out with her freaky friends to gardening with her grandmother she could be described as an amiable person.