happiness is at the depth of our being

A couple of days before my grandfather died, he gathered enough lucidity and strength to defy every bit of pain in his body, sit on a wheelchair and come out to the living room. He asked for the newspaper, read the headlines, chewed some food (he had entirely stopped eating a week before that meal), drank some coffee, then sang a song with us. (I can’t remember which – but my mother made a recording). Six months prior, he would have demanded Aar You Em to go with it.  

Despite his extended bitterness, physical pain and unhappiness, his inability to move his limbs, his dependence on somebody to go to the bathroom (all of which angered and embittered him to no end), he wanted to sing that evening. We were only too happy to oblige.

When I was leaving that evening, I said “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He made no such promises. “Alllll the best,” he said. He started to deteriorate that night. The next day, I learnt what it meant to have a death rattle at close quarters. The only kind of hope it has is for us. Before I left to be with my grandmother, they were beginning to unplug the pulse monitor. It seemed to be as strong as anything. He died later that night.

I can’t still figure out where these impulses come from – to be happy, in spite of everything else. It must be at the depth of our being, where else?


As I write this I must note something that has been bothering me since yesterday*. The past two years have been Death years. More people around me have died than I can count. Not everybody I was close to – they were family members who I met on a regular basis and had conversations with. Some were loved ones of friends and family. Over the past month, four people I knew personally or who were close to people I love very much have died. Most died of old age – but that begs the question, why now? why in these two years? I know there are no answers, but my heart is asking them. It defies logic.

*Two people passed away yesterday. A grandmother and a father. Both lovely people, both loved and loving people. Both related to people I love very much.  

No comments: