Hold On To Me: Part II
Hold On To Me: Part II10 mins 10.2K 10 mins 10.2K
I am restless. I am athirst for faraway things. My soul goes out in a longing to touch the skirt of the dim distance. O Great Beyond, O the keen call of they flute! I forget, I ever forget, the I have no wings to fly, that I am bound in this spot evermore
- Rabindranath Tagore
I am Kavita.
Or should I say, I was Kavita?
I really don't know if after you die, you stop being who you were when you were alive.
Doesn't the soul live on?
Am sure you are wondering what my story is. Well, it’s just like some of the stories that I wrote when I was alive.
Or maybe completely different.
You can decide for yourself.
Yes, I was a writer! I don't write anymore, but my repertoire grows every day. I can still tell stories; Many unfold right in front of my eyes.
Getting back to what I was; I was a writer! But that’s not only what I was. I was a daughter and a wife. I was a mother too, but in all my grief ,I totally forgot that. And what I am today is because , ‘I Forgot’.
The ones who got affected most by my recklessness were the ones I loved the most; my daughter Rima and my son Avi.
You want to know my story?
My story is a story of a small town girl; a girl with dreams; a girl who wanted to fly; a girl who was also bound by the rules of the society she lived in; a girl who got married young.
In my story, the girl sometimes forgot that she too was an individual. Her life revolved around her family. There were times of ecstatic joy; there were times of heart-wrenching angst; there were times she was taken for granted; there were times when she was let down; and there were times when she forgot everything that brought her down and smiled.
Then she discovered that she was happiest when she wrote. She wrote when she was happy; she wrote when she felt dejected; the stories she wrote mirrored her life; and when her stories got told, she realised there were lots more like her.
She was truly happy.
And then fate added a twist to the story...
My whole world came crashing down when they called and said, “Sorry Mrs. Singh. We lost Lt. Gen. Singh in a bomb explosion.”
All I remember from that moment onwards is the numbness.
My children were there; they held me and I should have held on to them; hugged them back; shared their grief.
Shocked, I was unable to connect with anyone. I had forgotten that they needed me. I don’t know how they coped.
When they brought his body, I had just stared blankly.
When they were taking him away, the urge to see him one last time had been so strong, that I had pushed everyone aside and run to the elevator.
I remember Rima crying uncontrollably.
I did hear her say, “Mom!! Please stop.”
But I chose to ignore it.
I had already pressed the elevator button.
As the elevator started going down, I had felt my dupatta being tugged. I had tried to pull it off and then there had been total darkness.
A jerk had brought me back to consciousness, but it had all seemed very unreal from that moment onwards.
As the elevator doors had opened, I had realised I was back on the 36th floor.
I had seen my friend standing outside, her face turning white, as if she had seen a ghost. She had then screamed and with tears pouring down, dragged something out of the elevator.
When I had looked down, I had screamed too.
I had found myself floating in the air, looking down at my own body. Rima had pushed everyone away and tried to shake me back to life. She too had been crying. Tears had been rolling down her face and she had screamed at the top of her voice, “Mom!! What is wrong with you? Wake up!” That was when I had realised what had happened.
I had screamed again; wanting to get the attention of whoever had written my destiny; that was the time when I had needed divine intervention.
“Please God! Forgive me! I am not ready!”
I had waited.
When they had moved my body into the house, I had gone in with them and had continued to wait. Rima had continued crying.
There had been no way to tell her that everything would be okay.
When Avi returned home, my heart had exploded.
How could I forgive myself for adding to my children’s pain.
They had lost their father and it had seemed they had lost me too.
I knew then, that they would never forgive me.
I see them everyday, going on with their lives. I know they will recover.
Will they forgive? I try and reach out to them, but they are oblivious of my presence. I have still not been able to forgiven myself!
I just want them to know how sorry I am and that I will always love them.
Is there anyone who can help me???
To:email@example.com Date:7th July,2016 12:22 AM Subject: Connecting
My name is Aliya and I live in Centre Park. My family and I moved here last year.
I actually got your number from the estate agent who looks after your apartment here. He wasn't very forthcoming, but when I told him that I knew your mother and that I was really keen to connect with you, he reluctantly agreed.
I had met your mother, the circumstances were a bit bizarre, but nonetheless, I knew her. Was wondering when you are in India next.
Would really like to meet you.
From:firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Date: 8th July,2016 11:35 AM Subject: Re: Connecting
Dear Mrs. Kapoor,
Mr. Gupta should not have divulged my contact details, without checking with me. Will be speaking to him about this.
Now that we are connected, let me tell you something.
I could have ignored your email and left you wondering, whether you had the right address. But I am replying, not to keep the connection going, but to break it once and for all.
It’s been almost six years since my parents passed away and any links they had with anyone don't exist anymore.
I have moved on.
Please don't pursue this.
To:firstname.lastname@example.org Date:9th July,2016 09:20 AM Subject: Re: Re:Connecting
I am so sorry for upsetting you. And please don't get upset with Mr. Gupta. He only agreed, because I was persistent.
I understand your sentiments.
I wont pester. But please do get in touch with me when you are in Gurgaon.
“Avi! Please do me a favour and change the estate agent in India! How can he just give my contact to some random person who claims to have known Mom”, Rima screamed into her mobile.
She paced around the room in a frenzy, running her hand through her shoulder length hair. Her distress was visible and it was clear that Avi was trying to calm her down.
“I know! But..”,she stopped mid sentence, listening intently to what was being said by the other side. Silent tears ran down her cheeks. She tried to wipe them with the back of her hand.
“Please”, she muttered, “I didn't realise the time difference. I just needed to speak to you.” Wiping her teary eyes, she sat down on the winged chair next to her bed and continued, “Thanks Avi! I wish you could come and visit. It’s been too long. Anyway, see you in December.”
“Hmmmmm! And you know how much I love you”, she said, choking up.
The call ended. She buried her face in her hands and cried to her heart’s content. It had taken them years to get to this state of acceptance. Out of the blue, this email had come and Rima found herself back in the vortex, her entire being, flooded with an excruciating sense of loss.
“Why??????”, she screamed horrifically, looking at the photograph on the console near the window. She sat there for a long time and stared at the picture.
Her parents beamed at her from behind the frame. In the background was Windsor Castle, with the sun shining brightly and making the monument look even more majestic. Avi had smiled funnily and she had her head turned towards him, with a grimace. She was telling him not to spoil the picture when the timer had gone off. The moment was captured and her Mom had insisted on getting this one framed. There had been so much radiance and joy in the air, that even her grimace faded in comparison. This had been a truly happy moment, a moment when they had all connected as a family.
“This is proof that you are constantly telling me what to do”, Avi had teased her.
She had felt irritated, but seeing her family laugh, she had joined in too, “Exactly! Because you never do the right thing.”
“She is after all an army officer’s daughter. You Avi, on the other hand, have all the civilian habits”, their father said, adding his own two bits to the conversation.
“Blame it on Mom’s family”, Avi had added cheekily and they had burst out laughing.
“An older sister is like a mother...”, her Mom had started, only to be interrupted by Rima, “Yes Mom! I have heard this a zillion times!!! Don’t worry, if anything ever happened to you, I will look after Avi”, she had laughed.
“You kids can laugh at all that I say, but let me tell you, these are the same things that will come back to you when you least expect”, Kavita said, smiling affectionately.
Rima still remembered the trip very clearly. Her family had come down to London for her graduation. Much against her parents’ wishes, she had wanted to study law, but in the end, her decision had prevailed. She had graduated from Queen Mary’s with distinction and with an apprenticeship in place, everything seemed to have been going the right way. Everything was well chalked out; she would work for a year and then study further.
Kavita had planned to stay back a few days, to help settle Rima. Avi and their Dad had to head back to India. Avi had his exams coming up and their father, posted as the head of Northern Command, had to return to official duty.
Mother and daughter had enjoyed their time together. Kavita’s touch was visible everywhere. She had arranged Rima’s apartment for her.
“Mom! I really can manage!”, she had said. But Kavita had insisted on making sure that everything was in order. Rima had hugged her, “And when you are gone, who is going to do all this?”
“I know you will handle everything well”, she had smiled, “ Now as far as your brother is concerned, I think I will need to move in with him! That boy can’t even pick up his dirty clothes.”
When Kavita had left, there had been a vacuum in Rima’s life. But work had taken priority and soon she had settled into her routine. The Sunday Skype call was the highlight of the week and it had always ended with her Mom repeating her instructions to Rima. “Anyway, we are all waiting for you to come in December. Even Dad will be home for a month”, Kavita had said. This had been the last Skype call.
...And then she had received the call from her aunt, asking her to take the next flight out of London....
23rd June,2010; a day she would never forget!
Their world had shattered and Rima had cried uncontrollably. Her Mom’s friend, who had been her guardian during her college years, had come to help her pack. Her boss had been made aware of the situation and had made sure she had been there too. Between the two, all the arrangements at the airport were in place so that Rima would not have to travel alone. The doctor had prescribed sedatives, which were given to the airline crew.
Even today, Rima had very sketchy memories of her journey back home. What followed later, was something that had haunted her dreams for years.
And now, it was back again!!!