Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell, 2011

Goodbye, 2011. I shall never forget you. You have been the most eventful year of my life so far. Comparing you with a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement. More. Much more. Way more happened. After all, births and deaths do not happen on rides. A ride only lasts a few minutes, and the effects wear off after several more.

You began on a grim note. Bapi was unwell... slipping away every hour, every minute... Can anyone describe the feeling of seeing someone you love die slowly? Seeing the life ebb away... seeing the murderous cancer suck away the cheerfullness, the joy, the storewell of affection that Bapi was? Can anyone understanding how it feels to see some one who was fitter than most people half his age, suddenly grow older by 30 years in a span of 3 months, despite getting the best medical care possible, despite poring over thousands of internet pages in the hope of chancing upon a useful piece of information, despite conferring with numerous doctors, despite infinite tears, despite sleepless nights, despite... everything? ? Can anyone understand the pain of knowing that the time to say goodbye is here, when you cannot even say it, because you have to give the appearance of radiating hope?

No, I do not think so.

Death and the act of dying puts people at unease. It is something they would rather avoid. But social mores require them to be civil... and hence the 'appearance' of grief - which hurts even more. Crocodile tears... empty promises... decorative statements... Why can't people just be genuine?

The preceding months were spent trying to make every moment count, each little occassion was celebrated with undue gusto. Every opportunity to dine out, go on a drive or watch a movie, was grabbed with both hands. Life passes surprisingly fast when you do not want it to. And people talk of 'killing time'... ha!

 Bapi left within a week of your coming into being, 2011. And I was... transformed... changed... vaccuumed... lost... flung into a flurry of emotions I never knew existed.... right into the yawning gorge of despair and hopelessness.... seeing life as it really is perhaps - a meaningless rush of sound and fury... wanting to shut myself out and dissolve in nothingness...

Just two things dragged me out of that spiral of meaningless ennui - my husband, and the tiny life beating inside me. I was 6 months pregnant, and getting bigger each day. Yashvi was a good kid even then... she never gave me any trouble. Her tiny kicks and punches were getting stronger by the day. And then I could feel her body movements too. It's more than fascinating to know there is another human being inside you, separated just by a few layers of skin... Even then she used to sleep through the night, and wake up at around 6am, when she would start kicking happily - a habit that continues to date. She was the anti-depressant pill that we all needed. She was the occassion we all looked forward to. And sure enough, on 21 April, she arrived - lovely, beautiful, adorable - just perfect!

2011, the following months just flew by. Days dissolved into nights and vice versa, as my lil baby adjusted to the big bad world. Ma was a huge blessing as she turned into a super-grandma, typhooning (couldn't find a better word) around the house completing chores, managing my diet and putting Yashvi to sleep. Vijay emerged as the strong, dependent, doting dad I always suspected he would be. I mean, he could be the mom if he had the milk! Oh... I am so proud of him! And I discovered the mother in me through some hiccups, mixed emotions, feeling overwhelmed by all - joy, fascination and the duties of motherhood.

2011, I couldn't even have grasped that you were on your way out, watching Yashvi grow into the most adorable baby I've ever seen (Oh yes, I cannot not say that!!!) Soon it was November, and over a phonecall, my sister announced that she was getting married! Those who know, know that she deserves all the happiness in the world. Chirpy, pretty, caring, my sis would make an awesome wifey. And in December, your last leg, 2011, we had a wedding - small, meaningful, beautiful. We came full circle.

In all cultures including Hinduism, Birth, Marriage and Death are considered landmarks in the course of one's life. Is it easy to accommodate extreme grief and extreme joy together in one heart at one time? No... it is complicated. Was Time giving me a crash course in life's ways in 2011? Perhaps... as per Western Astrology, Saturn, the great task-master, is in the 12th house for all Scorpios until sometime in 2012. The 12th house is considered the house of mysteries, the closet in the mind... Did all these incidents tie up in some way to give me some sort of an insight into life and myself? Perhaps... Will I ever be able to elaborate. No, I don't think so. Even this attempt at verbalising the experiences of 2011 woefully falls short of the real thing. It is but a mere diffused reflection.

So, 2011, I wish you farewell, with mixed reactions. And I look ahead at you, 2012, with a much calmer, equanimous mindset. What life will bring, only life will tell. And I will live, until I die. Only that can I promise...


  1. awww anu a warm hug for braving the tumultous phase

    and wishing the best for the days ahead you have with all the wonderful people around you