Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dum Dida

One Saturday morning as Bokreshor(aka Boka da) was immersed in watching reruns of his favourite TV shows which he had missed the entire week, he received a call from his uncle. His uncle said in a sombre voice that his grandmother was no more. Boka da was stunned and few seconds passed before he could use his vocal chords to make some sound.

How did this happen.

Well as you know she was not keeping well for quite some time. For past few days she stopped eating as well. The doctor said there was no hope. Every morning she would ask for me. Today when that didnt happen i went to her bed and found she wasnt breathing.

Ok. Did you call the doctor?
Boka da just wanted to make sure she had indeed died. There had been previous instances when she had suffered fits and most people thought she was dead-but she would rise up again and give that lost look.

Yes, he pronounced her dead.

Boka da wanted to be there for the last rites but his uncle said it would be impossible to wait that long. She was already a thin and whatever was left in that bare bone structure had to be immediately cremated.

Boka da had to let go.

As he kept his cell phone his mind wandered to the memories of his grand mother. He was not sure whether she actually knew he was her grandson. She had lost touch with reality quite some time ago. She belonged to a well to do family in erstwhile east Bengal. One night she had to leave everything behind in a mass exodus. Then started the endless journeys from one refugee camp to another. Her sons and daughters adjusted with relatives where they were barely able to sustain a living. Somewhere in between she lost her husband, and also her connection to reality. Her mind refused to believe all that had happened. Gradually her schozophernia reached high levels and she lived in her own utopia where everything was as before.People called her dumb.

Its not that she wasnt taken for medical consultation. Shock therapy was also used. But it got worse. She completely went out of sync with the present. For people taking care of her, it was good in way. She didnt complain.Ate a meager meal and kept talking to invisible neighbours and people. Every cry of child was one of her own. Her sons and daughters didnt age.

But sometimes she would be in a fit of rage and go out of control. and start abusing some people of betrayal. This could be triggered by a simple thing like a wheat bread or a dark skinned person.

However Boka da's memories of his grandmother were rather fond. She would call her by a different name and sometimes would say he was her son . Other times it could be grandson. She would recite some poems to him and would caress his face with those wrinkled hands. When Boka da was a kid, he would be very eager to visit her during summer holidays. She was his best playmate as she would always relent to whatever he said. Later in his life when things would go wrong with him, he would wish he could develop the same kind of world his granny created for herself in which difference between the real and unreal ceased to exist.

The brahmin was chanting the mantras. Words that said the departed soul of his granny to go to God, and live in holy places and the holy rivers.As the brahmin in the ghats chanted those mantras to Boka da, the mantras that ask the soul of the departed to relinquish any attachments with the loved ones and be with God forever instead of coming back to earth in new incarnations. Boka da didnt want to do it. He didnt want the soul of his beloved granny to be lost like that, to be part of God or live in holy places and holy rivers. He didnt want to sever the attachments. He wanted his granny to come back to him-to live the life she rightfully deserved- the life that was changed when few people decided the fate of an entire generation-the life that she made believe in her distorted reality. He wanted her to live a fulfilling life and not in deprivation...

He didnt repeat those mantras completely. When the rituals got over he switched on his cell phone. There was a message from his wife. She had tested positive for the pregnancy test.