Wednesday, October 29

Amma

I just came back from meeting my extended family for Diwali. We really have such a clean scene, no one drinking or playing cards. If I compare these people to everyone I know in Delhi, they seem like from another planet. It's become intrinsic to lose a lot of money on Diwali via gambling, apparently the more you lose, the more you gain back by Lakshmi luck. Yeah. Right. But festivals are for everyone I guess. I know of plenty of people who'll get deathly bored at my house. Playing cards on Diwali is so 'required' of everyone, I see ashen faces everytime I confess ignorance and deep disinterest in the whole activity. What?? You won't play? WHY Come we'll teach you. I figure I have enough vices to last me for some time, no need to add to the package.
My grandmom has become unrecognizable. She used to be fat like all old women and be so embarrassed of it. Now the skin on her arms is stretched out and hangs, as if there's nothing inside her to support that many layers. I held them up and saw deep scratches on them, from mosquitoes or boredom I don't know, but she knew she was hurting herself and she didn't remember the reason. It's so lifeless to feel her arms, her face. Is there even a person inside that shapeless clothing? She's not aware of anything around her, and everyone pretends as if she doesn't exist. The basic things that are required to make her live through the day are taken care of, but no one really knows what to do beyond that. I don't blame anyone, I know my chacha has done things few sons could even think of. Even if he complains all day over it, he'd be inhuman if he didn't. What can you do with someone who talks in her voice from childhood from the last 4 years. She wails all day, she forgets what I told her 2 minutes back. She once didn't remember her sons. But if you sit with her, you won't feel it. It's close to going back to when I was 3, she tells me fabricated stories about people and places, confusing incidents and histories along the way. She'll make up conversations that never took place and give dialogues befitting her opinion of that person. So if I hear that she met someone yesterday who asked her about my marriage plans or how long will I rot in Pune, I know she thinks it's high time I come back. Patience is easy when you meet someone for five hours. I would be a different person if I had to live in that house. Old age is the most horrible disease. There are many who enjoy and live through it peacefully, and most of them have the perfect partners. Amma had the all the right things in life, if only she had a man who loved her enough through all this, she would be fine one day. I really think all it takes is something sweet in the morning, and before you sleep at night. After so many years, that's all it takes to keep your faith in living through it all. If that doesn't happen, then why would someone not cry all day if it's anyways expected of you by doctors and family alike. I've told my mom that it would be alright if it all is over. I think I'm old enough to know when someone really wants to go through all this. Anyways I'm not the one taking care of her, so it's not a question of burden. But why would I want that woman, who had green sparkling eyes and a luminous face, who used to listen to me bitch about my parents and chuckle, who had an interest in every person in the family and wanted to be a part of every small festivity; be turned into this stranger who impersonates her and breaks out into desperation so that someone will notice how unhappy she is. Everything is so crazy, sometimes your freedom and your life feels so close and real to you that it's euphoric, and there are times when it pulls you down to the worst corners. For all you know, this could be the best place I'll be at.
I hope she sleeps easy for the rest of her nights.

6 comments:

The Dude said...

Ive often heard the phrase "Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life." and I think that in some ways applies here.
But life is unpredictable and uncertain and more often than not its unfair.
Thats chance. The nicest people may suffer and the worst may bask, ir vice versa. Its one of the things that makes fate seem redundant for there is no justice when you see things like that you describe.
In the end i guess, there is little we can do to change what is, but we can make an effort to soften the blows. Family should spend more time with her, indulge her fancies - what does it hurt? Think of it like a second childhood maybe and she is a child lost in her fantasy world.. let her be what she is till the end and don't leave her alone.
That is the one must. Loneliness can break even the hardiest of hearts and souls.

You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
- Douglas MacArthur

Cheers..

The Dude said...

In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long.

That is what she is going through. If you understand that, it makes all the difference in your interactions and attitudes to her as a family. Be not merely dutiful, be loving.

White Magpie said...

Umm...Your post reminded me of Sophocles quote, "Not to be born is, past all prizing, best" But then despair breeds disease so quickly pulled my self out of that thought..

It's quite unfortunate that some people go away slowly without a bang for uncontrollable reasons. Perhaps the only solace we can offer is compassion.

zypsy said...

so i'm not the only one who's not updating regularly:-)

White Magpie said...

btw...i am having a hard time landing on your blogspot..it automatically goes to another website..

and yes...start updating..

White Magpie said...

Fukk shit!! Your page keeps taking me on to another page. I jad a tough time backspacing to be able to post this.

Time for another post and dont be fuckin stingy.