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.
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.
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
I would surely play Willie Nelson and Bon Jovi singing
And surely the same song I would want for my own funeral