Recent stuff–mouse over image to see post title
Subramaniam died a week ago, and I didn’t know (‘cos I can be a recluse). One of the nights before I knew he’d died, I remembered him intensely– a gush of emotion and memory that prevented sleep.
He’d been really sick, moaning, and unable to walk by himself. He moaned like an animal in distress, a cat or baby who couldn’t escape his pain, and the sound drew me to my window. A carpenter (or, some such ordinary laborer) was leading him along, explaining he was sick to those who looked askance at them. Beautiful, unthinking kindness that, unlike my self-centered selfishness that saw, and yet let him be. I hesitated to approach them though my heart pushed me to Subramaniam (life always makes me regret the times when my rational mind overrides my heart).
Then, few days later, he came by. I asked him how he was, and he replied that he’d been dizzy, round face still drawn and tired. But, I reassured myself he’d be back as usual when memory and emotion assailed me with guilt that night. Next day, my maid told me he was dead. A shock.
O, what avail tears? what avail regret and love when I hesitated to approach him that day. I’m reblogging my post in memory and grief—
Originally posted on Waiting to Be:
Around the corner from me lives Subramaniam. When I sit here at my window, I see him as he rolls by, white haired, chubby faced, rotund. Although he must be at least 65 years old, there is still something childlike about him. Mornings he sports a bed head, white hair sticking up in spikes, a look that I still (52 myself) attempt to duplicate with hair gel or wax. His clothes are different too: for the last three days he wears the same bright red baggy pants, and a loud red plaid shirt. With his hands scrunched up like a child’s, one finger pointing toward the ground, he is the resident ‘Idiot’, a fool, certainly mental.
Continuing to live on in the ashram after my Mum died, I heard a loud rapping at the front door suddenly one night. Nine o’clock is late night here, particularly in those days a decade ago. Everything had shut down, and quiet filled the place– especially so for my flat on the high road, just behind Swami’s residence. Taken aback at the rumpus, I stood behind the door (a mesh door) and asked cautiously, “Who is it?”
“Grie, Grie, it’s you isn’t it? I know your mum, where is she? Her name is T–, your sister’s name is N–, she’s married. She lives in France. You lived at 4a/1 Tank Bund Road. Don’t you know me? Why didn’t you get married?”
“Who is it?” I repeated, wondering what was going on.
“I was there, in the D— Mental Hospital from ’73′-75. Dr. D—, your dad, he’s dead. Is your mother dead too?”
“Hey, go away. I’m not opening the door. You’ll get into trouble knocking at doors after 9.”
“I’ll get into trouble?”
“Yes, you will, now, c’mon go.”
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