I didn’t go home for Christmas.
There was nothing there to go back to.

I wrote my internals well, so did the externals. Especially the pharmacology. I answered every single pharmacology question and I knew I will get good marks.

Now only the practicals were left. Being the last batch because of my surname, my batch was the first to have Micro practicals and the last for Pharmacology. There was a two day gap between Patho and Pharmacology practicals. I hated having a surname with T. if I had a name startying with A, I would be home in three days istead of 5 days!
but then againt there was nothing to go back home to. Was there?
But still !!
I did Micro practicals well. It was scary becauee it isn’t often my batch gets to go for the practicals first. None of us knew what to expect. But it was easy.
I spend my first day off by going to the rooms of other students who had already gone for the practicals to learn more about the examiners.
I still had another day off and was planning to sleep late. But something made me get up early in the morning. I looked out of my window abd it was very misty. I remember thinking, it feels so creepy. I wanted to go back to bed, when Anitha ran in to my room.
“Did you hear”
“There was a bike accident”
Something in me turned off at that moment. I understood everything Anitha said, yet i understood nothing.
I walked out of my room
Some of the girls were crying.
I walked to the main door.
One of the Punjabi guy from my class was standing near the hostel entrance. He was collecting money.
For what? No one asked.
I sat on the steps.
I heard students discussing that he is in Coma and that he will be a vegetable even if he survives.

The punjabi guy was still standing there, waiting eagerly for the blood money he can collect and can spend on a night out in the pubs. Bastard.
I walked back to my room.
Aparna and Shylaja were getting ready to go for their practicals.
“Did you hear?” They asked in unison
I nodded my head
“So sad No?” One of them spoke.
I didn’t reply.

I was sure I was supposed to cry, howl like a banashee, like the scenes from the Hindi movies. Break my bangles, pull my heair out, tear my clothes.
I didn’t feel anything.
I tried lay down on my bed. I couldn’t.
I wanted to feel something.
Something, anything.
No this was all a joke. An early April fool joke.
It has to be.
I quickly got up and opened the door.
Some of the seniors were standing outside the corridoor and were talking about the prognosis.
I shut the door quickly.
Then i felt something
I felt it.
No tears
I was just so angry,
I threw the pillow, the blanket the books on the table, the flask, the cup. then I went through my cassette collection and pulled out the brown tape out of the Bob Marley Cassette. It felt so good to pull it out. The tape started to coil down near my feet and I kicked it as hard as I can.
Damn the tape.
Then I saw the mess I made.
I took the blanket and the pillow from the floor and kept it on my bed. took the books from the floor and kept it on my desk.
My flask was broken.
I was sad.
Appa bought that flask for me.

I took 2 valium. I had to.

I tought of going to the hospital to see him. But I didn’t want my memories of him with tubes and needles sticking out of him. I couldn’t do it.

His funeral was in the afternoon. I had Pharmacology Viva in the afternoon. If I didn’t give the Viva, I would fail, because my batch was the last. I remembered Amma talking about my cousin who wrote her degree final exam the day after her father’s death.
i don’t remember walking to the Pharmacology lab. But I ndo remember standing outside and waiting for my turn. It was a very cloudy day and there was a sudden burst of sunlight. I wondered if the sun trying to mock me.
I passed Pharmacology with flying colours.. yet I failed!

Baby I am so sorry.
I never stopped loving you.
When I hear Greenday singing Time of your life, I keep thinking of you.
I know I hurt you.
I am so sorry.
If I was any wiser I would have never missed your funeral.
But I wasn’t.
I would do anything to undo the past.
You and I know that is n’t going to happen

If you had gone today, this is the poem I would recite for you.

A man lives so many different lengths of time.
How long is a man’s life, finally?
Is it a thousand days, or only one?
One week, or few centuries?
How long does a man’s death last?
And what do we mean when we say, ‘gone forever’?

Adrift in such preoccupations, we seek clarification.
We can go to the philosophers,
But they will grow tired of our questions.
We can go to the priests and the rabbis
But they might be too busy with administrations.

So, how long does a man live, finally?
And how much does he live while he lives?
We fret, and ask so many questions
Then when it comes to us
The answer is so simple

A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us,
For as long as we carry the harvest of his dreams,
For as long as we ourselves live,
Holding memories in common, a man lives.

His lover will carry his man’s scent, his touch:
His children will carry the weight of his love.
One friend will carry his argument,
Another will hum his favourite tunes,
Another will still share his terrors.

And the days will pass with baffled faces,
Then the weeks, then the months,
Then there will be a day when no question is asked
And the knots of grief will loosen in the stomach,
And the puffed faces will calm.
And on that day he will not have ceased,
But will have ceased to be separated by death.
How long does a man live, finally?

A man lives so many different lengths of time

Brian Patten

I would surely play Willie Nelson and Bon Jovi singing

And surely the same song I would want for my own funeral

Goodbye sweetheart.

20 thoughts on “

  1. So sorry for your loss. I can never again listen to those two songs and the ‘Last Christmas’ song without thinking of you and Beautiful Eyes.

  2. Wish I knew the right words to ease your pain..am so disturbed reading this…cant imagine how you went through this…really sorry sarah..

  3. sarah..

    I hope you find peace within….and Beautiful Eyes’ soul rests in peace…

    ithu vayichittu aake oru vishamam….i dunno how you wrote it….

    lotsa hugs…

  4. A very hearbreaking story. You are forced to think that what happens on a school/college campuses is just a little part of life. The large part is, the parents who have raised that child with hopes and dreams of better future, and all that 25+ years of hardwork to send them to medical school, finally to get no where. I guess those are the people whose losses are beyond measures, they are the ones who donot need poems and songs to remember them, as they never forget the horror of their childs death till they breath.

    Everybody else just moves on..

  5. I donot mean to be insensitive here. It is a very tragic story. It almost took my breath away, while reading this last post. But one question remains, when some student dies on campus, usually family takes them back home and have the last rights there. Why a funeral on campus? or in Banglore. It should have been in Nagaland, where he belonged, accoring to this story

  6. Sarah….You took me back to 8 years when I suffered a similar loss like yours…I’ve loved him with all my heart and soul, my first love..I still remember the day I heard about him death..He died out of blood cancer.It was my Professor who broke down this news to me after my Lab exams. Tears were running through my cheeks like a river..I felt my heart breaking and myself falling apart, no greater pain than this…It is your pain, yours alone..Everyone says,”I understand, I understand”..But..in truth nobody understands..It is your pain,yours alone….My heartfelt condolences…You will come out of it one day I’m sure, my prayers to give u strength…

  7. Somewhere: It is foolish to compare what a lover feels to the sorrow of a parent.
    I didn`t write about what his parents have gone thorugh, because I do not know their pain, I will not even attempt to say that I understand their pain.
    What I wrote is what I felt.. In that I am alone.. In that life goes on.. just as the sun rises each morning.. but it doesn`t mean that I have forgotten or will forget..it doesn`t mean that my sorrow is greater than someone else`s.

    Gardenlane: How can you attempt to generalize and create rules of general behaviour..
    Only a father knows how it is to bury his Son, so far away from the land of his birth, not to give his mother a chance to say goodbye..

    It is easy to pass judgements.. but not easy to make a decision when you know it would take days to take your son`s battered body back home because Central govt didn`t spend money on developing accessible transport..
    There were no direct flight from Bangalore to Dimapur..
    And even if he flew to Kolkatta of Guwahati it would have taken days to bring the body home.. (and perhaps his father just couldn`t do it..)
    You don`t question a father`s decision.. You don`t.

  8. In a way, maybe the way you wrote about B.E, I always had an inkling that he was no longer part of your present life. I always thought it was death or disappearance. Sorry to know that it was the former.

  9. Sarah
    To write about the beautiful times u had with him, the special touches, the intimate moments, the time u spent under the rock with him – it just takes so much to write about all that when u know it was ending this way.
    It is like a business unfinished that he passed away.

    My heart goes out to you.

  10. Sarah,

    I was so confused what to write for this.. It’s so much touching… namude nashtam ennum nammudethu maatramavum… No one can ever understand it.. And no meaning in others understanding it too.. Let he be always be for u..

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