Why lament for body when the soul is immutable and indestructible.
Chapter 2, Text 25:
Avyakto yam acintyo yam avikaryo yam ucyate
Tasmad evam viditvainam nanusocitum arhasi
“It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this, you should never grieve for the body.”
I never saw soul; I saw the body of my grandmother. I grieve for the body, I grieve for her, I lament her death, I want her back, I don’t conform to this. I’m human, I’m no supernatural being, I can’t see soul, the immutable and the immortal. I see someone beloved dying, I see someone in pain, I see my grandmother, the togetherness of so many years, the love, warmth, I long for her presence, I long for her stares, I want her alive, I don’t care for soul, I never saw it, I saw her, I want her back. I don’t understand the spiritual crux and neither the Godly wisdom, nor the time theory.
A mother in front of her dead child can’t conform to this; she will cry for her child, she will be inconsolable, no one can comfort her, no one can stop her tears and no one can comprehend her pain. It was her child, the one she gave birth, the one she protected all day and night, the one for which she endured pain for 9 months, the one she shared food with, the one she nourished, the one she shares an eternal bond, the bond of enormous love. It is human and is inherent within all of us, nobody can deny, nobody ever wants his loved one to die.
I don’t want her to transcend to krishnaloka or any other place, I want her to be here on this very planet with us. I don’t want her to transform into any other being.
Chapter 2, Text 22: Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
Navani grhnati naro parani
Tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
Anyani samyati navan dehi
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.”
I want her in that very body; maybe I would have preserved body and prayed her soul to come back in the same. The soul is wandering from one body to the other; I will ask it to slow down a little, I will plead it to rest for 10 or 15 years in the same material body. I’ll request, I’ll do anything in return, it was her soul, it lived with her for long time. The soul must listen to the body, both need each other, the soul gives life and the other, form. Both are inseparable. I’ll request both, I’ll cry before them; I’ll show my grief and my longing. I’ll preserve the body. I would plead before soul to turn back.
“Ask thy father who lost his son and that mother who lost her son, Ask thy son who lost his mother and father, Ask a brother who lost her little sister, Ask a sister who lost her brother, Ask my father who lost her mother, Ask all her sons, they cry grief, Ask me, I lost everyone, Ask them all. I will never conform to this, She moves around, searches her body.”
The day was Tuesday, 7 in the morning, muffled sobs and cries filled the street. It woke me up. I hurriedly moved towards the door and came out. You were on the bier covered white on a hospital van. Scores of people were carrying you on their shoulders. I had visited you at night, you were all good. It never came to me as a passing thought that death was so near.
She is dead, we have no elders now. We live as orphans. Our festivals come and go. We mourn each day. We do the rituals. Herath will not be the same. There will be no one on the door at other side saying “Kus chhu, Kya hyath, aerey zuu hyath, darey kothey hyath, rozey hyath, rozgar hyath, dan hyath, pholeye te phuleve”. We live as strangers. Nobody narrates us stories of native land.
I lay on your bed in evenings, the bed you protected all day. The smell is still fresh, of your clothes, of the bed sheet. I tell them not to wash it ever. I want to cry my heart out. I want to cry all day and night. I remember you.
The moment he was snatching those earrings, I seethed with anger. I was listless. I felt broken and helpless. It all appears like a dream. I will never conform to this truth. They are telling lies. I see you every day, moving around and calling us. You longed for water and swallowed pain. I search you; I look for you on those stairs, in your room, on the road and the balcony.
The guilt takes me in and leaves me decrepit. I injured my hand, it still works. The rugged bag, your medicines, the sleepers, red shawl, that small purse, they are all my souvenirs. I have your pictures, I see them all day, this is a dream; they are telling lies. She hated death and never talked about it.
I know it pained a lot, that pipe which ran through your mouth and the other they did put through your nose, it pained a lot. We were all there, but couldn’t share your pain. You showed us with your left hand, you pointed it onto your chest, it pained a lot, and I couldn’t do anything. You were alone. You wanted to say something but that pipe, it never gave you air; it snatched the last of your breath. We cried a lot and even shouted, you were sleeping and never snored, and never moved your eyelashes for even a second. I watched you, the coins put in your mouth, your tongue under the teeth and you were so alive. I gave you water soaked in tulsi, I waited for a miracle, I waited for a movement, I waited for you to stand up and laugh at all of us, I waited for a miracle. I prayed to Nature, I prayed to God, I prayed to all the protective forces, No one obliged, my prayers were not answered. I’m an orphan, I have no elders.
I started scribbling on a paper; it all looks perfect, it’s all normal. The desert cooler has changed its position; it’s on your bed side, but not facing you. I guess you had a spacious bed. I look for you in the pictures, the video transcripts are with me, I fast forward the videos, I look for you, for a glimpse of yours, eating food in one of those, knocking door, showering blessings, smiling. It’s all with me; I look for one glimpse of yours. I’m a mad man, my left hand hardly moves.
I see you walking through us and you seem to be angry. You walk through the rooms all day, you sit on your bed, stretch your legs, wrap yourself in the blanket, you stare us. You shift your eyes, you don’t talk to us, you whisper, we couldn’t save you, we left you in pain. You were hungry, you longed for food. They were calling names, we stood stoned, and they were calling names: Adrenalineavilhydrocortisoneazitazobactumurotube………..we got it all. They started thrusting their hands on your ribs, you came alive, and I noticed movements. I pumped air with the rubber balloon for hours, it was a hospital, they were wearing white coats, they appeared doctors, they moved fast, they shouted, they put injections, they looked serious, they wore white coats, they shared smiles, they wore glum faces.
The air apparatus did something evil, it took the life out of you, that stretcher covered with white linen appeared like a death bed. The machines, they didn’t work, the medicines, doctors, they didn’t work. We did let you die. You swallowed pain, you were hungry, you longed for food. Somebody else is sitting on your bed. It’s all same. It’s a cycle. It’s a drama. Doctors circle around; they call names, the same: Adrenalineavilazitaz obactum, the plastic balloon pump……………….it all looks familiar. They thrusted their hands on his ribs, he survived, and then died. They will all die, every day somebody or other dies. They call same names, people bring names, they inject, and people come alive, then die. A single machine, life saving machine, they say, it sucks life, everybody looks for the machine. Doctors have a mechanical countenance and their demeanor looks suspicious; they gather in a room and laugh at all of us. They call same names, people bring names, and one survives and then dies.
The stretcher at the entrance, the white is all the time stained red. People come and go, they come and die. They cry, slap their faces and call names. The vehicle comes and the dead leaves. Death is outnumbering life.
The machine did something evil, it never worked. We did let you die. You swallowed pain. I will never conform to this truth. They are all spreading lies. I remember the grin on your face a few days back. I did want to nurse your left hand for lifetime. I would buy the working life saving machines, I will keep everything at your bed side, switch them on and off at your ease. You were hungry, I’ll keep water and milk, your favorite dishes on your bed side.
I will never conform to this truth, they are all spreading lies. You walk through the room, sit on bed, touch my face, you look at me. The nails have grown a bit, let me cut your nails, let me comb your hair, the white looks prominent, let me color it.
They prepare food for you and keep it on the wall, I wonder, do you come for it? They say, you were hungry, you were showing something with your hands. People come and cry for you, they prepare tea for you, they live alone and they love you. You whisper in my ear: this is life; people love you when you are dead and hate when you are alive. They come in numbers when you die, they cry out loudly, they grieve for hours, they talk of godly things and time.
At times, I do break, I cry in silence when it gets dark. I don’t have money. I was looking for those big hospitals, people say they give life to dead but they take money. I don’t have money. I stood stoned. I just looked on and you died. I slept all night, I had dreams, you were in pain, I couldn’t gasp that, I slept all night, you were in pain, I ate so much and you were hungry, you swallowed pain, you ate pain, I slept all night, I had dreams. I will have money but what for, you are not here now, what I will do with the money? I will spend the money. I will buy tears, I will buy sufferings, I will buy pain, I will buy diseases, I will wither, I will decay, and I will come to you. I will ask you about your tongue which got bruised. I will share your pain. I promise I will burn that pipe and that apparatus that took the last of breath from you. I will ask you about your legs, I will clean them with soap and water, I will cut your nails, I will nurse you, I will share your pain, I be the doctor, I do everything, I don’t trust them, they share smiles, they laugh at us, they call names, I don’t get them. I will have money, I will buy everything.
At times, I feel so left out, I feel gutted, I feel so alone, so wasted out that i talk to myself. I ask myself, I talk of certain things, I murmur to myself, I feel my pulses racing up, I see my hands shivering, my heart beating fast, even missing a beat at times, the palpitations, I grow weak, I lay down on my bed, falling flat, covering up myself in the blanket, crying incessantly and talking to myself, consoling my conscious. I wake up bad, the tears dried up, lined, forming streaks and shapes, the reddening of eye and the swelling, all so visible. I walk unnoticed through rooms, keeping hands in front of my face. I pretend to be cheerful and happy but I’m so dull, I hardly talk to anyone and even if I talk, I talk only to look normal before you all. Life has its own way of telling you things, of showing you the way, of liberating you from your own self, of lifting you above yourself for a short period of time, of telling you that you leave everything behind, I mean everything, not only material possessions, sons and daughters, but even your soul, as they say. It tells us to plod along the path, the righteous path and the path is nowhere when we reach halfway. You are burned to ashes and dust, to bones, packed in bags and thrown away to rivers, revered upon for a year, offered delicacies and water. The flames, they reach heights, I fear them, and they take it all. The coldness that grips us each day haunts me, I sweat profusely and the heart keeps racing, I grow frail, thin and pale.
I will never conform to this truth. I see you all day; you walk through rooms fleering at all of us. You drop your eyes as if you don’t recognize us. I understand what it takes to be dead, to be not amongst your loved ones, you miss your sons, you miss Vijay (Baay), you miss calling him all day, waiting for him to come early, waiting for him to give you medicines, prepare tea, tighten the scarf on your head, put the blanket on your legs, you miss him so bad.
‘Hot milk, lukewarm water, chapattis, rice, soya chunks, potatoes and pomegranate basking in the sun. Intermittent sounds of birds, flies circling around and the irrevocable longing for dead, unending, never dying. The longing that crops up every day, all day. The other day, boneless fried fish, lukewarm water, fried okra, rice and chapattis. This is food for the dead, from 12 to 5, salt tea, 12 to 5, all day, every day, surplus. No one eats it, the dead stares, chuckles and moves away. The dead is sneering. This is food for the dead, 12 to 5, all day, every day; it’s all same, 12 to 5, everyday. The dead stares, lifts a morsel of rice and throws it back. The dead is sneering. Food packed in polythene bags at 5, thrown away from the stares of dead. There is food for the dead, 12 to 5, your favorite lotus stems and knol khol. The dead asks why it's so much somber here. It's food for you. Death is everlasting. Death is truth.’
They were calling names, we stood stoned, and they were calling names: Adrenalineavilhyd rocortisoneaz itazobactumurotube………..we got it all.
You longed for life, we offered pain, you were hungry and swallowed pain.
Sushant Dhar was born in Kashmir and currently lives in Buta Nagar, Migrant Quarters, Jammu. He studies Microbiology. Sushant writes short stories. He fears absurd. The author can be contacted at email@example.com |