Skip to main content

Ahmedabad scribe's view from New Jersey... Loved and lost: dedicated to the grieving

RK Misra in New Jersey
By RK Misra*
“Grief is a lonely and confusing experience, even in less troubled times. But in the current season, death has been turned inside out; the bodies are crowding together at makeshift morgues, and the bereaved are left isolated in a tomb of loss”, says Belinda Luscombe writing on ‘Grief During Caronavirus’ in the April 27, 2020 issue of "Time" magazine aptly titled, "Finding Hope".
Belinda recreates the pathos of a New Jersey home in America where a son is unable to hug his infected mother on the virus -- induced death of his father. "Corona has taken away thousands of years of traditions for dealing with death -- the hug and the touch”, Belinda quotes the bereaved son as saying.
I am in the same New Jersey, locked down with a loving daughter and our dotting family. A journalist from Ahmedabad in India, I watch from the secure comfort of a secluded home as morbidity clouds the air. More than death, it is fear of death that rules life. A sneeze scares and touch is taboo. From a distance, I too have watched a dear one corrode to an untimely end and be denied the respect of collective grieving. Countless have borne the brunt. More are in a queue, waiting.
Life is benevolent when it gives but brutal when it takes.
On the shifting sands of time, the footprints of man are but a passing phase. They last for just so long and no more before the cyclical order of nature sets in motion its own perpetuity. The frosty cold of winter must yield to the warmth of summer and the chirp must perforce return to the chill. Love suffuses into joy as the new born wails his arrival and gives way to tears when the same kindred spirit sails after an eventful journey.
As is often said, grief never ends… but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith. It is the price we pay for love. Where there is deep grief there was great love.
Even when living them, moments acquire a machine like momentum of their own, adding into minutes, hours, years, decades until suddenly the clock stops and man becomes a memory.
When ‘is’ becomes ’was’ does one look back to feel the enormity of the change. The ever present sights and sounds have slipped away from before the eyes to the mind and physical form is now mere mental images. No wonder there are these finite divisions of past, present and future though the crowning irony is that there is no future, only a present which melts into yesterdays leaving all that is unknown to be bunched together to give hope in a name. The future.
The human of the species -- both man and woman -- live to die and die to live. Brought together by fear, fervor or pure happenstance. Two people with a genetic baggage of suffused legacies that can be traced back to the evolution of the race come together to forge a family of their own. They themselves are the sieved results of endless combinations and permutations but sail forth to create a personal bubble . And thus is formed a world of living beings, laughing, crying and merrily multiplying. Of brittle bonds that seek permanence in a transient world and elastic ambitions that want to scale a wall of flowing water in paper boats.
I watch from the secure comfort of a secluded home as morbidity clouds the air. More than death, it is fear of death that rules life 
A mind may be constricted by the palpitations of the heart to function within a flesh and blood frame but its flight is limitless, as it cruises between the terrestrial and the celestial with equal ease while shut in cramped quarters. And this is where all journeys begin.
The voyage into the unknown starts when spawning loins seed and the warmth of a womb nourishes life through feelings to form. It is a hand and it’s hold that defines every phase. The soft reassuring touch to helpless infancy gives way to the supportive finger stretched to a dependent child, in turn yielding to the assisting arm of blooming teenage and therefrom the firm clasp of an equal being who now ventures forth in search of his own buttered bread.
Philosophers and Fabians alike have long held that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the fun of life lies in the journey. And as all journeys begin with a single step, it is our dreams which propel each one of us in our travels. These figments of our imagination grow along with us, acquiring concrete shape and ultimately define our lives.
This kernel or core is part inherited, part forged. When two people come together to raise a family, they bring to their new entity the best ‘practices’ of their respective upbringings, these are then merged together through an evolutionary process to form a new core and then imbibed into their own family ethos.
Every journey is a store house of personal memories, a vault of vignettes amassed over a lifetime, of distilled values, of bonds made or marred, of moments cherished or charred .-a monolith under constant sculpting like a rock in a fast flowing river evolving new forms, even breakaway sculptures of its own…
Thus it is that for every sun heading to its zenith, there is a corresponding shadow lengthening on the lawns of life. If zenith has a nadir, tides flow and ebb, the moon waxes and wanes so should the vainglorious walk of ageing shoulders turn wobbly for handholding roles to reverse... as life withers on the road to final redemption.
But no one ever dies…they live on… in those they sired. And not just amongst the gene-bound, blood- linked replicas , but also in bits and pieces of themselves passed onto peers and proteges, dears and darlings…a myriad monuments strewn across a lifetime…
Ellen Brenneman sums it best:
Don’t think of him as gone away-his journey has just begun,
Life holds many facets, the earth is only one.
Just think of him as resting, from the sorrows and the tears,
In a place of warmth and comfort, where there are no days or years.
Think how he must be wishing, that we could know today
How nothing but our sadness, can really pass away.
And think of him as living, in the hearts of those he touched.
For nothing loved is ever lost. and he was loved so much. 
---
*Senior Gujarat-based journalist, currently in New Jersey. Blog: Wordsmiths & Newsplumbers

Comments

aarkp said…
A lovely read. Life is lived. Death is unlived.

TRENDING

HSBC shareholders seek exit from funding Adani's 'contentious' Australian coalmine

By Our Representative  In a move that may embarrass India's top business house known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shareholders of HSBC, a British multinational investment bank, the largest in Europe with total assets of US$2.715 trillion, are likely to decide at its AGM on May 28, 2021 a plan to exit coal financing related to the Adani Group, as it begins digging the Carmichael mega coal mine in Australia, reports Melbourne-based South Asia Times.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ciminalising 'tool' created, name: Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020

By Varsha Bhagat-Ganguly, Rejitha Nair* The year 2021 in Gujarat opened its account with 647 alleged land grabbing cases under investigation, 16 FIRs filed against 34 land grabbers within 35 days of Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020 (GLGPA), as informed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Gujarat State, in a press conference on January 22, 2021. He further informed that of 647 alleged cases, 605 applications of land grabbing were received by different collectors who have initiated suo moto proceedings in 42 cases. The total land in these cases is estimated to be around 1.35 lakh square metre, worth Rs 220 crore as per jantri rates (ready reckoner of land prices in different parts of the state). By March 15, 2021, at least six even cases are before the Gujarat High Court. Of about 11 cases reported in the daily newspapers, in three cases, grabbing of government land is charged, and the rest are land disputes between two individuals. The promptness of the district collect

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.