It is hard to leave without wanting to say goodbye.
Day #7 Naina Devi
Naina Devi, a famous historical temple of mythological Goddess Sati
Located on a hilltop in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh in India.
Deluder of difficulties, dedicated, disciplined, devoted and divine – The elder.
The younger daughter-in-law upset because the elder is a better everything.
The younger picks up a fight, her son comforts the elder. As he approaches her,
She dips a ladle in the earthen pot, pours some water, turns to offer the glass.
“How did you know I was thirsty?” asked the stunned son instantaneously.
With lowered eyes the elder replies, “Seems like my biggest flaw, my strength.”
Hearts filled with love and compassion, eyes spoke and silence understood.
His apology was sincere. The elder daughter-in-law’s forgiveness sincerer.
In a henna coloured tie-dye Bandhani saree she had appeared in his dreams asking for a lemon.
In person, after caressing his full head of hair, she ties the dream lemon with green chillies on his bed.
Day #6 The Kettle Is Always Hotter Than The Tea
The family day out at Shedd Aquarium was sort of fun.
A little girl ran around tapping tanks to get the fishes’ attention,
Trying to discipline her delighted niece, the newly married begged for a visit.
A trip to the States had helped Grandpa’s health. And she was happy about it.
She offered to hire help but the husband wasn’t convinced.
As they stood by the seahorses, she tried again, for a possible trip abroad.
The niece ate her ‘Happy Meal’ while the family waited for their tea and Samosa;
Trying to ease the husband while she was the one most needed to be comforted.
The day ended with the same request it began with. He refused to bulge.
A week later she receives the call of loss from overseas. She stands arid for 107 seconds,
And resumes her kitchen chores saving the Chai, just in time, from spilling.
The newly married sheds half a tear. The other half dries in her eyes just like her request.
Day #5 ‘Living Spirit’ Ambassador
It’s rattling noise dies as the auto-rickshaw comes to a halt.
The Living Spirit ambassador’s heels kick the gravel with hate.
She had longed to step on the holy grounds of Incredible India
But the longing was washed away by the pain of the purpose
The words, “Love and Light” leave her lips as Kanti opens the gates
“Minister Vicki?” says the mother, smilingly, sitting by the bedside.
The ambassador brings a fresh lotus flower neatly nestled in Stafford’s singing bowl.
With great difficulty she sings “In the Land of I Am” just for me
Tired self tries to join but fails, a faint smile sits on my pale face.
Mouth covered by her palms, she bursts into tears. Nothing could contain her grief.
The ambassador had lost her husband, and most recently her mother.
Looking at the Dying Spirit, she knew she was losing her angel.
Day#4 Four Weddings And A Funeral Arrangement
The cousin storms in after silencing his blackberry. “Are you nuts? Or you are nuts!”
In his unintelligent affectionate ways he expresses what he could.
Satara Queen, the designer cousin, follows him with a bedazzled outfit
An outfit I would be buried in. She was in charge of the funeral arrangements.
Yet another cousin stands there dumbfounded & motionless. His wife holds their new born.
Next to a mini jar of fennel seeds, Shanta Baa murmurs mantras employing her Rudraksha rosary.
The newly married never makes it. Dollar puts her candle-making class skills to work.
Her tears trickle south to meet the wax as she tailors 107 tall black taper candles.
They would go on a Christmas tree-like structure at the cemetary. Aadi misses the domestic flight.
With eyes, red, Dhara boards the red eye & hand knits a scarf on the flight for me.
The band was to play theme song from The Golden Girls followed by the Bridal March.
I could feel their love and the sadness of their upcoming loss at the same time.
Day #3 Expect The Exceptional
With specific specials 2 USPS boxes arrive. One marked Florence, AL; other Nu Joysey [sic].
Deepa Masi opens the first box, uncovering the contents with caution and care:
‘Humming Days’ – Flute music CD. Blinged tambourine signed Gibson, Simonds, LeBlanc, Hill.
A poem Miss America wrote especially for me called ‘Mistah International’ [sic].
Cheese straw filled ‘Sex & The City‘ cocktail glass, tagged, “Missing you – Ms. Su, Ms. Lou & Kat”
In it’s signature robin egg blue box, a gold band inscribed, “No More Drama. Love, TDR”
The aunt from Baroda peels package two unfastening the touching tokens of fond recollections:
Touch drawing titled, “Sundae” aka “Angel”. H&M Spring catalogue sent by PK.
Pink Cadillac keys from Muse Murphy. 3 sweat shirts – Michigan, Oklahoma, Seton Hall.
The ‘Fabulous’ necklace from Sister Act. Miniature Mallard, marked “Sorry” at the bottom.
Sand filled box, Yin-Yang symbol on it & 4 word cards: Abundance, Harmony, Eternity, Violet.
Volume of poems ‘In The Cradle of Nature‘ signed, “1st copy. Yours as promised – Jan Mulligan.”
Day #2 Luck Was A Lady That Night
Make-A-Wish Foundation® had rejected the application. Several times.
However, a diet-pink-champagne limousine pulls up in front of the house
The driver opens the door to reveal a tall former Miss Universe
It was dark yet dark shades were on. She walks in looking for my father
“Mr. Mamtora? Mujhe aapke bade cousin bhai ne bheja hai. Where is your son?”
Convinced to dissent it wasn’t her I kept looking perplexed at my Dad
My entire being wanted to jump up with joy on meeting my role model
But all my body allowed was a slight twitch of excitement.
Affixing her shades on the head, she gives me the purest smile ever.
She comes to my bedside, holds my weak hand, and says, “I Am She.”
Day #1 The Guardians And The Guardian Angel
Losing a child is any day more miserable than losing a parent
Incapacitated to care any longer; my Guardian Angel, Saarthi, sheds it’s feathers
My entire body felt like a fruit waiting to wither away
One could slice me and no drop would drip. I was 96 lbs. Finally!
Just like Eva Longoria, but for the most incorrect reasons –
Cholangiocarcinoma. A word no one could pronounce, let alone spell.
I blinked a blink that took forever to come to shut.
ONE bead short, Shanta Baa realizes that the Rudraksha rosary was strung wrong.
ONE second scarce. ONE taper less. There was no time to delay to decay.
When one seals the tomb the pain doesn’t go away.
It stays in the womb, around it & in places everywhere.
The hour of love upon this earth was over, this birth was over.
Day #0 Blessed Be
The chalice pendant hung on her neck. Final inhalation. Final scream. Final push.
As the shepherdess thrusts the baby out, her cell phone rings. Dave picks it up.
She had once saved my life. Unsure whether to rejoice her newborn
Or mourn the loss of a livestock, she spends the night pondering
“I would like to change the baby’s name to his,” requests the shepherdess.
The husband just stares. He divorces her after the fight over the baby’s name.
Objection being, “I’ve lost peers too. But I’ve not rechristened.”
He wins the custody battle with her condition that the baby be called by my name.
Post-maternity she would deliver a sermon – ‘Fabulousness: Fashion & Spirituality‘.
A ‘Name That Sermon’ the transitioned had always wanted to bid.
Day #(-1) Hope & Faith
Alive with little love and lot of light, everybody wore white.
They held the tall black taper candles picked up from the tree-like structure.
The mother looked stunning, just like the son had always pictured her.
She stood up, adjusted her milk white saree, and began to give the eulogy:
“My son was beyond fabulous, always cheering up everyone around him
He asked for ONE promise, “Mohini, don’t ever cry!”
I’ve never smiled so much in my life because I believe in his legacy
My child had a dream to adopt children. I picked up where he left
I’ve filed for adoption and decided to name the girls – Hope & Faith.
Although he knew how much I loved him, I wish I had loved him more.
Aashaa and Shraddha will one day know how fabulous their father was.”
The tombstone read “Fabulous” as my middle name.
It is hard to leave without wanting to say goodbye.
It is harder to say goodbye without wanting to leave.
– Pratik Mamtora, Managing Editor
Pratik Mamtora was born & raised in India. He has lived in London, United Kingdom for three years & absolutely loved it there. Pratik has a Bachelor’s in English from India and Master’s (ABD) from UNA. He loves to read and write, especially poetry. Pratik enjoys coffee & conversation and is passionate about serving the community. He invests himself in understanding the needs of the modern world and the evolving spirituality within. Pratik is known to walk that extra mile to make others happy. If you ever meet… or when you meet him, Pratik will make you smile.