Not really gone

It is coming up to 10 months since he passed away. Somedays I don’t believe it, on other days there is no other truth.

His voice rings in my ears. I ache to feel his soft palm around my hand. Somedays I call out to him, aloud, because if I am really quiet, I think I will hear him answer.

The most important witness to my life. The man I loved the most. The one who taught me nearly everything I know. His signature cologne is tucked in my bedside drawer. Some days I take a whiff and then I am 5 years old, on his lap, he is wearing his crisp suit and white shirt and his green eyes are crinkling with laughter and I am safe and loved and happy and my world is perfect because he is my world.

He will forever be the ache in my heart, the silence in my words, my first best friend, trusted childhood companion and adult confidante. The one who got me, like no else ever will. The one who could relay hard truths with grace and kindness and a complete lack of fear. We were part of an equation and now I will forever be incomplete.

Somedays I cannot breathe when I think of how there is now an empty space where once my larger-than-life father existed.

Somedays I wear the watch he wore the day before he didn’t need one anymore. When I see it tick on my wrist, I roll my eyes, smirk a little and say to death “And that is the best you could do?”

 

 

 

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Not Permanent…

My parents have repainted the house that I grew up in. The walls are so pristine now, they do not flaunt the staunch tattoos of another time – pen scribbles and cello tape marks, scuffs and chips from things that moved around in another time. The furniture is mostly new too. My old desk was handed down to my cousin, the old dining table is with an uncle. There are things that were there when I was around, of course there are. The kitchen table has marks from when I left a burning candle without a holder. The dressing table in my room still has the old box with cards and gifts from those I once used to speak to, every single day. A bit of the old and the new in every room – like my parents and Miss A. Who I once was, who I am now, bits and pieces cobbled together to make a person.

The garden, it is overgrown in some parts and bare in others.

“There was a swing here,” I tell Miss A. “And a garden bed here and roses over there.”

I spent years playing hopscotch around the pathways and I used to chat into the evening with the best friend. She is gone too now, but I did get to meet her, we sat on the same step after all those calendar pages, we talked of the same things we did when we were younger and when the world was this strange place down the highway. She went home after that and as I waved goodbye, I knew I was not staying either.

Homes are not permanent. Only the times spent there are. That is the way it is for most things in life but why would childhood teach you such a harsh lesson!

My parents still talk about the day in the early hours of dawn. Outside the sky is black but a bit of pink is creeping in from underneath the doors, a bit of light is pushing against the curtains. They talk about the day that is yet to be and the day that has since been.  About the hibiscus in the gardens and the coconuts that need to be stored in the spare crates. About how the old water tank will need a new pump set soon. The winter outside their window and how two quilts aren’t enough because the weather forecast was wrong yet again. They complain of how the new teapots these-a-days have bent handles and how they need to stock up on some kind of light bulbs. About the squirrels raising a ruckus in the garden, and the back tiles that need scrubbing. It is a soft muffle, their voices, laced with sleep, in the early hours of an incorrectly forecast winter morning

Then they switch topics and talk of politics and cricket and mull over election results in some far flung north eastern state. The tea boils over in the meanwhile, in the teapot with the bent handle, and the cups go clink-a-clink. There is a scraping sound as the biscuit tin is opened and the door to my darkened childhood room opens just a little bit.

“Do you want tea?” they whisper. “It is cold outside.”

“It is 5 AM,” I grumble and disappear under the blankets.

“I could get you tea here,” my mother says. “You could go back to bed after you drink it.”

“I am in bed,” I say. “And I don’t want the tea.”

This has not changed, this bit, we have had this dialogue for years. She walks away closing the door behind her and suddenly I want the tea. But then sleep, blessed and warm, beckons and it remains unsaid and discarded, this morning wish. Tomorrow, I tell myself, tomorrow is when I shall say yes to the tea.

Like so many childhood things, like so many grand plans that never make it to the cusp of the day, that tomorrow slips away too. Some things are meant to be done later, some things come postmarked with a future date.

The garden is sleepy and agreeable in the afternoon. The air is woody and has a tang – it it smells of the cold in the way only my hometown does – it is heavy with the memories of a thousand past afternoons. The winter sun is at once plump and meagre, a marvellous contradiction of sunlight. I fall asleep on the swing this time, and the road, it stays quiet like it did when I was a child here. A bird chirps. A tap drips. A door bangs three houses down. I fall into a dreamless sleep because when you are home and safe, you do not need any other visions.

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Somewhere in the middle of the nap, I wake up to find myself covered with a blanket. Dregs of sleep in my eyes. The street still a quiet child, waiting to be given the go-ahead to talk again.

“Do you want tea?” my mother asks. She has, I suspect, been staring at me all along, waiting for me to wake up.

“Yes,” I say and her face lights up.

She brings me a cup almost immediately and we drink tea on the porch, me on the swing, still under the blanket, she on the side chair. Occasionally the swing bumps into her chair. There is nothing else to do on afternoons like this. And so we say little and yet there is such a crowding of memories.

A week later I pack my bags and Miss A’s and we cry a little bit on that same swing. There is so much to say when you part for a while, there are so many incomplete stories that beg to be finished when you open the gate to leave. Instead I joke about the garden and I fuss over the luggage. I try to pretend I am not leaving the house behind. It knows though, it has seen my pattern over the years. So I crane my neck and try to gather in the walls, the jasmine creepers, the errant hibiscus, the mango trees, the faithful swing, the neighbours with wet eyes and wrinkled palms – they all wave back, they do not break eye contact with me. It knows, like I said, the house, it knows that I will go past the bend in the road and not be back just yet. My heart sags, my throat hurts and I do not dare speak.

If they had told me that goodbye was an essential word in the vocabulary of grown-ups, I would have asked the house to hide me in one of its many forgiving nooks, I would have created a tree-house in the old branches, I would have parked inside a tent under the beds. But I am gone now and the house has stayed behind.

And one day, I shall see it again but that day is not today.

There were so many days in my childhood when I wanted to grow up and do things. Big people things, adult things, things that extended beyond the fence and the rusty gate.

Someone opened the gate and it cannot be shut again, I think my childhood escaped when I was growing up and I did not even notice.

And now, I have a key and I can go where I want to but that damned, damned key – I cannot lose it even if I want to.

Homes. Not permanent. Time. Permanent. The twitch in my heart. Eternal.

Sick

Self is crook with a sore throat and mild flu. Blogathon will resume once I am better, I promised 30 posts – and 30 posts there will be 🙂

An Indian Summer ?

The seasons don’t stop after the English August.  There needs to be an Indian summer. A month long story of daily tales. Starting the first of April (you can rest safely, the only fool in these parts is yours truly), I hope to have another blogathon. Are we game? Please, y’ all know how much I thrive on your kindness, so humour me again.

Tell me if you are still around and if you sometimes pass this way. Because come April, we will be back in business. Every single day – for 30 days 🙂

Ciao,

Scarlett

Excuses

No, dear people, I have not forgotten. I will be back soon. What was that? Where was I all this time? You saw me on FB but I wasn’t here, was I? I do have an excuse. I always have one, by the way!

I umm forgot my WordPress password. Like every other week. Seriously, that is a brilliant excuse.

Oh well, you can stop rolling your eyes. This is almost a blog post, see?

I will be back real soon. And I will comment on the comments too (love ya Aria) 🙂

Scarlett

Huh!

Dear Blog,

I miss posting. I have no brilliant ideas at the moment of course, but I miss writing here. It has been a whole 24 hours and I have not updated a blog post. I had no idea that this could be so addictive. This is all your fault. Mostly because nothing is ever my fault. Ever.

Anyways, I wanted you to know that I have had a day where my brain cells have fallen off and disappeared behind damage control and business documents (or damage control business documents). I have had so many long blacks and Pepsi Maxs (is that a word?, it is now!) that I am bouncing off the walls. I feel excitable. And irritable. And if I drink any more coffee, I will probably unleash my dormant power of levitation! I can almost fly.

Which probably explains why I am writing to a blog instead of going home. The world is a gorgeously hazy albeit charged place, Bloggy! There, I gave you a name. Which is a good thing. The name that is. Because I am close to forgetting my own. No, the coffee isn’t helping. But thanks for asking.

I am going home now Bloggy. I will be back tomorrow. And if I finish my business docos, maybe I could write? A bit of a treat for you and me? Yes?

Bye. I suppose.

The Person Who Owns Bloggy.

Thank You Kindly

It has been a month dear readers.  One whole month. Scarlett, of the disappearing fame, was actually disciplined enough to write everyday for 31 whole days (or re-post at times but we must let that pass).  Words find their home with warm readers, otherwise they orbit into nothingness. For all the encouragement, comments,  gentle prodding and time that you have given me this month, Scary says thanks. Sincerely. You people are the best (hint : this is when you say, “No, Scarlett, you are!”). Oh and I  must give out a big shout to Captain and Rajavel –  for being there to comment every single day 🙂

Fear not, I shall be back soon. This ride has been so much fun that I hope not to be erratic in posting again – yes, I know I have said this before but this time I mean it. Not on a daily basis perhaps because I am doing a creative mentoring course that leaves me with much homework to tackle but hopefully I will post atleast once every 3-4 days – okay, make that a week. This is a promise. I promise to be here if you promise to check up on me.

I am all about instant gratification – in case you hadn’t noticed this very endearing quality of mine. So, thanks again and I will see you around.

Sooner rather than later. And oh, please, please, pretty please, if you have been reading and not commenting, please do delurk and say Hello, won’t you? 🙂

Hakuna Matata

This is a repost, dear people. I have a tremendously full weekend – but a promise is a promise, and post we must!  🙂 Please do indulge me and re-read this, even if you had already done so before.

Miss A and I watched “The Lion King”  a while ago . I have liked the movie but it has never been one of my firm favourites. Miss A however is transfixed with the setting, with Simba and with the concept of Hakuna Matata. I have always been cautious of letting her watch anything with violence or anything that could be potentially disturbing. A childhood should be a happy place with blue skies, icecreams that don’t melt on summer afternoons, cotton candy kisses, fairies on the rose bushes outside your window and a soft buttercup yellow moon to sing you a lullaby each night. There should be a fairy tale or two, a smooth pebble hidden in a dark drawer and a friend that blows soap bubbles with you on lazy evenings. Life happens much later, the prelude should be perfect and simple.
She watches with wide eyed innocence as Scar kills Mufasa and Simba watches in dismay. As Simba weeps, she moves closer to the TV and tries to console him. “Shhhh”, she goes, “it is okay”.  She takes in the scenes of Scar threatening young Simba and looks at me with disappointment writ large on her perfect features.

“Shouldn’t we be always nice to people, isnt Scar wrong?”, she asks me.

“That is one way to get nice things to happen to you”, I start tentatively. It is a simplistic truth that my mother
ingrained in me and it is something I have believed in. I know that the truth is often challenged though, I dont tell Miss A that sometimes you can give all you have and you will get nothing nice in return. That after all has been said and all the niceties have been dispensed, you can still be left feeling empty and hollow. That no matter how hard you try, some things will never work out and that there are no nice answers to some questions. That you cant be
assured of goodness merely because you choose to believe in it. But, I dont tell her any of this. Like I said before, life will happen much later, for now it is about the prelude.

Instead, I tell her that she needs to be nice because it is the better option any day. It is the same moral my mother taught me many summers ago and it has always worked for me. Things have a better chance of working out when they are simple, this much I know and this much I believe in.

Miss A leans back and watches Simba sing Hakuna Matata.

“You know what”, she says as the strains of the song reach a crescendo, “I believe that there are more good people in the world than bad people”. And just like that, before my eyes, a new fable, a new truth and a new faith has just pronounced itself. I want to believe in this and a warm cockle of my heart tells me that I do. It is my mother’s lesson, reworded. Miss A may have taught both of us our most important lesson yet.

Sniff, sniff….

Dear three (or was that four?) readers,

Have you abandoned me? Is anyone reading the ramblings of my confused mind anymore?? I thought we loved one another, no?

Come back. Scarlett awaits.

What’s that? Is this the blog post for today? Well, that depends, doesn’t it? Maybe we will add another post IF you come back and tell me you have been reading me 🙂

Love,

Scarlett

Back – I promise!

Good people,
If anyone is still reading this blog, thank you. So where I have been, you ask (please humour me – I would love to believe I have been missed)! I have been writing – seriously. With an aim to get published. A few successes and a few road knocks have further boosted my love for vanity – nothing like seeing your name in print.

And while life and other words were happening, this poor, dusty blog of mine lay neglected. So here is a deal – I will be writing a mini post everyday for the next 30 days. Call it a self discipline of sorts – or the rather audacious premise of making a public declaration with the hope that then, I _will_ have to see myself through this.

If you are around and if you like what you read, please comment 🙂 If you don’t, that is fine too. Let me know you were here – it matters. Much, much more than you would think.

And for those of you that mailed, checked on me and prodded me to write again – thank you. Sincerely.

Scarlett
– is back in town!

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