Saturday, December 24, 2011

One month already.

Today we concluded two days of religious ceremonies for my mother-in law's first month anniversary. One shanthi puja and two "masikams" as we call it. For the first one year, it is a monthly event. The adage is that the soul travels in steps (majilis) to its final destination and what we provide every month, makes for their meals at each step. I cannot believe that I've already gone from having dinner with her every single night to providing meals to her soul, so fast :(

After everything was done and the purohits left (they came in from Hyd), we just sat down, my father in law and I, and were thinking how it has already been a month, when we saw the time, it was exactly to the tee - 2.45 PM. One month ago (the Indian calendar's one month coincided with the Roman calendar's one month this time) on the same date and time, my mother in law passed away. Sometimes it feels very long ago, sometimes it feels like yesterday. Swinging emotions. It has been an eventful month for sure though, with lots of things happening, lots of things learnt, lots of things done. We feel like adults now, performing last rites and death-related rituals, with people coming and staying at our place etc. I was telling Subhash, we need to expand our inventory in terms of kitchen utensils and bedding, we have officially moved into my in-laws' league. Too early, too soon :(

One debate we have been having is whether or not we should do the monthly rituals at home. The first month and the 6+ month one are important, and except for those, Subhash's dad says (and rightfully), that it will be a lot of work to do it every month at home, we should just go to the nearby Raghavendra Mutt and do it there. But I want to do each of them at home. For a very special reason.

When my father in law's brother died, his sons did the monthly event at home, every single month. The older cousin is a CEO and the younger one is one of the top executives in his firm. Both busy, working guys. And my mother in law used to tell me that she felt so good seeing them doing the rituals at home every month. And she said this multiple times, over the few years it has been since. The older cousin got all the yearly dates ahead of time and would plan his travel around them (he travels a lot) so that he would be in town when the date came around. And I think she particularly loved it, that sons, who were so busy, in this age and time, took the time to do it this way. If my mother in law is indeed on the journey to her final destination (and that is what our belief system is), I am sure she will be happy, proud and content that her meals are also coming from home. So at least I have emulated the cousins in the first step, taken all the dates ahead of time and put them in my Outlook. Now I hope I have enough strength and favouring circumstances, so we can get this done properly, every single month, at home.

We see her in everything at home and sometimes it really tugs at the heart. I had to prepare the madi sarees yesterday and I only have silk ones so I had to pull out a couple of her sarees and both Subhash and I were sighing at the sight of all her clothes. Here was a person we were living with, day in and day out, talking to, looking at, eating with, and suddenly, it is just thin air, no person. I still look in the fridge every day and see that dabba of chutney that she made, and wonder where she is now. I have never experienced anything like it. Grandparents, uncles etc have died, but we never lived with them constantly, they were never part of our day to day routine so it was sad but in a distant sort of way. This, on the other hand, is right at home, affects our very daily routine and it is not easy to get a grip around it. For a long time to come, this is going to linger and hurt.

I hope you had a good and satisfying meal ma. Unfortunately, you are not around to tell me how much you loved it :(

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One more milestone

Yesterday it was three years since we had the house-warming for this house. At the risk of driving away all my readers with repeated melancholic posts, it reminds me about Subhash's mom. As per our traditions, the oldest couple bearing the family name is supposed to walk in first, break the pumpkin and perform the initial few rituals. We were extremely happy that they were able to do all of these especially since she always used to get nervous before any big function and wonder whether she would be able to pull it off. She had an oil spill on her saree that day and got very nervous about whether or not she would be able to get it cleaned especially because it was a saree I had given her for my father in law's 60th birthday ceremonies. She was happy that we settled down closer home, bought our own place and had a properly planned and elaborate house-warming. I think she was quite proud of us. Going forward, I don't think anyone would celebrate our successes, big or small, so vocally or visibly :(

Monday, December 19, 2011

Many thoughts

The past few weeks was a whirl of activity. Going to Hyd for the last rites of Subhash's mom, then coming back, doing some pujas at home, settling back down into routine, Rohan falling sick, then breaking his nose and lips etc etc.

He fell flat on his face when a mattress which was propped up against the wall fell on him when he was with his back to it. Not sure what transpired, the dad and son were upstairs, but almost 99% sure that he went and gave it a nudge or something. Subhash got him down and by then his nose and mouth were streaming blood, and it was a horrible sight to watch. We took him to the ped near our house and she said, since he is not letting her examine him, to wait, give him some ice, and watch if the bleeding persists and then show him to an ENT doc. The bleeding stopped after 10 minutes and he also fell asleep but his face was fully disfigured what with the upper lip being super swollen and the nose likewise. Lip got back into shape in 2 days but nose is still swollen. We took him to his regular ped this Saturday and he said nose looks ok and so does lip. No fracture of nasal bone and that the nature of injury will cause his nose to remain swollen for at least 2 weeks. Its been a week now, got to wait and watch for another week. Kids, and their injuries, it nearly makes the heart leap out of the body and bleed. My little baby!

He again has a runny nose. He keeps getting this every 15 days, and at least now we found a good medicine which controls it quickly, so at least he doesn't end up throwing up food for weeks together. Still, coughing through the night, not sleeping, not letting us sleep etc, gets a bit much to handle.

Sometimes still cannot come to terms that Subhash's mom is no more. Somehow it feels she is someplace else. When I think about the fact that she is not alive anymore, somehow it feels very surreal, as if it is something that is not possible, sometimes it is shocking, sometimes it feels final. Yesterday, an old friend of theirs had come home (his wife also died in Manipal nearly a year ago, succumbing to a neuro complication made worse by her ERD as well), and when her last days were being discussed, it filled me with sadness. For the first time in almost a month, I was close to tears again. The confusion of not knowing where she is or what she is doing, if she is able to see/hear us etc is sometimes bothersome. But at least I feel better in the fact that when she was still around and able to listen, I made my peace with her, she was happy to be with me, happy for everything I did for her, accepted my good-bye and died knowing that I'd take care of his Dad, acknowledged it with her tears, precious and hard to come by in those last few hours. Sometimes I think this peace is the only thing that keeps me from going insane over her death.