Tag Archives: Grief

Grace in the time of grief !


It is not something I would write about on a normal day. And yet, it is something that touched me. I write this to remind myself, that even in the most unlikeliest of situations, grace is possible.

A very very dear friend of mine lost her husband exactly two weeks ago in a road accident, when he was heading back home after a bikers trip. This happened in a place a few hours away from the city. A local called up the last dialed number and traced the family, meanwhile their bikers group went back and did all they could to bring the mortal remains, with some family members help.

It was unexpected, cruel and unnerving. My friend was totally inconsolable. The children refused to believe it happened. His daughter refused to see his face. I grieved, like never before, that day. Theirs was a cross community marriage, my friend, a Tamilian married to a Bengali. He was the only son to his parents. His parents were quite old and his father was already undergoing treatment for cancer for several years. My friend was dreading to tell his parents about it. They were flying down, unaware that he had passed away. They were told he was hurt as under the circumstances that seemed a better option until they came down.

So apart from grief, there was a certain restlessness in everybodys mind as to how his parents would take it. My friend was nerve wrecked.   Finally a couple of hours before the cremation time their flight landed. One of his family members, who went to pick them up was informed to sound them off before they reached home.

So they walked in, informed during the journey from the airport, of their loss. His mother, was naturally shaken and grieving. His father, an old man went to his son, looked at him for a while and then reached out to his daughter in law with a warm hug and said, “we lost our son but we still have our daughter and grandchildren. Now you mean the world to us. We are with you and will always be”. That, and I mean that, graceful gesture turned around the terse atmosphere. He called for his grandchildren. Again their granddaughter refused to come. So he went out to meet his grandchildren, spoke to them, like a man, a dad, hugged them, assured them and came in. He then tried to understand what happened and went with the flow, cremation rituals, etc.

Had he reacted any other way, had he broken down at his age, it would have worsened the situation that already was. Surely he grieved too. But he knew it was beyond him and went on to handling this crisis in a kind way. I was deeply touched by his graceful act, in this most unlikely situation.   Somehow it reinstated in me, that sometimes a little act of selfless kindness could make a lot of difference.


Its Dark!

To define the times of pain and grief
What could be more right
Than the rhythms I see in those nights?
Doing this and that,
Scurrying hither and thither,
Meeting her and him,
With etc, etc filling in…
All so possible during the day,
Just to fritter the time away,
While deftly and desperately
I make an honest attempt,
To avoid those daunting thoughts.
And then….
The darkness, as it sets in
Lets the sinister silence engulf me.
It forces me to watch, my own pandoras box,
Oh so brilliantly displayed, by my relentless thoughts.
The creepy shadows,
They play around shamelessly
In the teeny weeny hours of the night
Changing their forms and the games.

I only meant to watch
But they drag me along
With a force so demonic
That am soon sucked into the grind.
Now I start playing those ‘you will never hear about’ games
With the myriad shapes and forms,
And so involved I grow to be
That I notice no more,
That the shadows aren’t there any more.
It is just wholly, purely and solely me now,
And the games have seized me completely,
Leaving so so little to intellect,
Until a point, I can bear no more.
Then I scream out so loud
Yet no one can hear
And I look out wishfully
For the slightest ray of the morn!
Was it a night mare
Or the Satan on a mare,
Embarking on a joy ride
In the gloom of the dark?

Cosmic Connections!


November 1, 2011  – Veena was at her wits end.   The day had barely begun and Shreya  was throwing tantrums and  driving her up the wall.   Fortunately for Veena, her dad who lived closeby , dropped in then to take Shreya to his home. Veena gladly let Shreya go.

Veena looked around.   The house was so messy.    Every room had Shreya’s stuff strewn over.  One glance around the house and one couldn’t miss the sight of Shreya’s clothes on the chair, shoes outside the rack, cycle in the middle of the living room, books on the bed, toys on the floor, crayons on the table…..the list was endless.  It left no trace at all of the efforts she had taken to spring clean her house the previous day.

Veena sighed!   This was a back breaking routine.   She plunked on the sofa.  Her head was reeling.  It was going to be a long day.  She had invited some guests later in the evening for dinner and had a lot of  personal work to complete as well.   She was trying to mentally organize her ‘things to do’ list when she realized she was sitting on what felt like paper.  She removed it and noticed it was yet another precious work of art by her dear daughter.  A little girl and a taller girl watching the moon.   Below was a line “Mom and Me”.

Veena smiled.  Shreya made her life so worthwhile.  And to think she could have missed it all, made her shudder !

26 December 2004 –  It was a Sunday.  Ram had gone for a morning walk by the beachside as usual.    Veena had not even woken up.  It was her day to relax.   The next thing she knew, was her parents waking her up, giving news about a Tsunami in chennai, a word she was hearing for the first time.   She just realized Ram had not returned.  The man she had courted for three  years and married about a month ago,  never returned home from his morning walk.   Search in every direction proved vain.   Everybody told her the Tsunami should have engulfed him.    Nothing of him was found.  Not even his body.

That left her in a state of shock.  She refused to believe that her Ram would have left her.  With every new day came renewed hopes of him coming back home.  She would never leave home for months hoping to be there when he returned.  She took a sabbatical from her work.

Days passed thus.  She felt soul-less.   She even took to alcohol and dope for a brief while, hoping hard it would help her  forget and she would go beyond. But nothing worked as it seemed.  So there she was holding on to her dream!   She would crunch,  she would crouch every night, as she wept.   She took pills to sleep, but they failed as well.   The scar created by her loss was so deep that she wondered if it would ever heal?

After about eight months she resumed work making sure there was someone at home just in case Ram returned.  She moved on in a very uninvolved robotic fashion.  Nothing interested her any more.  Not music, not books, not friends, not family.  She wanted to get away to a place no one knows.

Nearly two years from the fateful day, in November 2006, Veena ventured to take a break from the routine for  two weeks with her friend Maha who was with a NGO and had work in some villages in Nilgiri Hills. But two days after they arrived, Niligiris faced continuous heavy rains.  The televisions gave out horror stories of numerous landslides reported to have occurred at the early hours on 14th November in Niligiri hills, disrupting traffic in NH 67 and blocking of Mountain Rail track.

Once the rains subsided Maha and Veena joined several other volunteers around the villages to help out the landslide victims.    It was a heart rending sight to see houses and families displaced over night.   On one such visit to distribute food packets she came across a weary young woman who had apparently fainted in the middle of the road.   Beside her was a baby about a year old, crying and wailing.

The fainted woman was immediately given some water and food.  She became conscious briefly. The woman said she was looking for her son who was playing when the landslide occurred and was  missing from then.   They took the woman back to their quarters to nurse her to health.  Veena attended to the little baby while  Maha was nursing the woman with the doc.   Unfortunately  the poor woman passed away the very same night.    No whereabouts about the lady was established.

Veena was so filled with compassion for the woman who passed away.  She could identify her own feelings with those of the woman looking for her son with a baby in her hand.  Her plight suddenly seemed much lesser.

It was not certain if the baby clung to Veena tight or the reverse. Veena did all that she could to lessen the misery the kid must be going through without her mom.  The kid took to Veena almost spontaneously reciprocating her gestures.  Through her tears Veena would manage to smile and make faces to see that most beautiful smile on the kid’s face.

After a week  Veena and Maha had to  get back.  Maha planned to take back the little girl with her and leave her in an orphanage run by her NGO.   All through the train journey Veena and the baby were inseparable.  The love and warmth Veena felt over the last few days from the little one was beyond description.   The kid refused to go to anyone else.

Two hours to reach Chennai, their destination, Veena made up her mind.  Here was a soul just like her , pining for love and attention, as she was.  Here was the one who could make her laugh and cry at the same time.   Veena felt every streak of life in her getting back with an enthusiasm to have the kid grow with her.    A feeling that could match none other.

That was how Shreya came into her lap.   It was a rebirth for Veena.    Life had never looked back after that.  With a tiny tot to attend to, Veena gave her all to make sure Shreya had the best mom in the world.  Destiny brought two craving souls to meet, compassion bound them together.