Then and now

Photographs have a way of making me melancholy. I look at pictures from my past and relive the moment the picture was taken. Sitting on my desk at work is a picture of my dad in his blue collared tee shirt with red horizontal stripes spaced wide apart. He has a nice smile and his eyes are squinting in the sunlight. His spongy white hair is combed back and he looks smart and young. I remember the moment that picture was taken. We were visiting the mall at Easton in Columbus Ohio. It was a bright, breezy, sunny day. The kind of day that make you want to run wild in the fields with your dupatta flying filmi style behind you. The kind of day when kids fly kites. The kind of day that is perfect for a stop at the local ice cream shop. A day for bikes and picnics.

Tired from walking around the mall, the entire bunch of us stopped to watch kids cavorting in a cool fountain set in the middle of the mall, out in the sun. Ever ready to pose for pictures, we all sat by the ledge and squinted into the camera, smiling and thinking happy thoughts. Amma, me, Appa and Saathi in that order. Me holding appa’s arm, face puffy from the travel and vaira thodu glinting in the sun.

No one could have thought a year later, appa would just be a memory. Or that Amma would feel this lost without Appa by her side. Memories of Appa rush to my mind at the strangest of times. Like now. I miss him in ways I could not have fathomed. Thinking of him makes me fear for all the things I hold dear and will lose at some point in my life. It makes me philosophical. It also makes me quiet and melancholy.

11 comments

  1. I’ve had the same experience with my grandfather. It’s been 10 years now but the loss is still so fresh. When we watch old videos of family functions, we feel bad that so many of the folks in the video are no longer with us.

  2. I can see that this post is from you heart. Thank you for sharing it with us. Reminds us that nothing in this world is permanent,… even what/whom we hold dear to us.

  3. A really touching post, makes my heart heavy… it scares me all the time, thinking about loss… imagining certain scenarios send a shiver; Thank you for sharing.

  4. @Rekha: True. I miss my grandparents too but losing a parent seems so much more heartwrenching.
    @Anamika: Can’t add to what you said. The fear is so real sometimes.
    @Mitr: Nothing can really prepare us for the eventuality. It does hit hard.
    @Suman: Thanks. On days like that I could do with some hugs.
    @Spillay: Thank you. Sharing it is the only way I come to terms with my loss. Not talking about it makes me feel like my dad’s memory is being relegated to the background and that makes me very sad.
    @JustSomeone: Welcome. It is scary but having said that, I truly do not believe we should go through life fearing the worst all the time. Being aware of our mortality puts things in perspective when we go through a loss.

  5. *hugs* I can understand what you have written about. I am really scared to think of a time when my parents would not be there. Though to me, it is just harrowing to think about anything that might happen. I guess we should try make the most of it when they are around which at times we forget and end up cribbing/fighting or arguing, hurting them. Later on, we end up thinking how much we might have hurt that someone! So trying hard to not let negatives get in and try enjoy the time with people who I have around me & care about me 🙂 Just my take!

  6. Laks,

    Hugs dee. I read this post yesterday, but it moved me so much and I was unable to write anything here. I hope you are doing okay today. Think of all the good times you shared with him and that will help a bit.

    I lost a very dear periappa 12 years ago. That pain is still fresh in my mind. Everytime I eat a mango I remember him. Everytime I wear a green dress I remember him because he gave me my first green ghagra choli. Everytime I see a tennis match I remember him because he wanted me to learn tennis.

    Nothing can dull the pain, but thinking of the good things we did with them will help us relive the past at least in our minds and that may take off some of the pain.

    Once again, hugs dee.

    Lakshmi

  7. Cheer up Laksh. I know it’s difficult. But my heart goes to your mother, how will she go about the rest of her life? Will she be able to express herself like you have? I know that pain very much because my mother became a widow at 28 itself and now I’m also seeing my mother in law always thinking/talking about my father in law, nobody to turn around for comfort, now back to Chennai to her lonely life again. Life is so complicated with no right answers.

  8. @Apar: I understand. It is scary!
    @Laks: Thanks da. I know it is hard.
    @Madhuram: Thanks for sharing. I totally get what you are saying. It is indeed a complicated life.

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