KitKat choco pudding- a limited edition flavour. I first bought it on a whim three weeks after we met. It was sublime, like our friendship. I would stop at the shop once every few weeks afterwards, and buy a KitKat choco pudding.
One month- that was how long we spent together. One month of sheer bliss and pure magic. It amazes me how we became such good friends so quickly. You listened to me, made me laugh, told me countless interesting facts, made me feel valued. You made me feel alive. After playing badminton, we would walk back together- and then stand outside your house, talking for another 20 minutes. I would run when my parents called.
I was sad when your vacation ended and you had to return to college in another town. I was devastated when you had to move to a new city altogether. And I didn't get to say goodbye in person. I was (and possibly still am) in love with you.
We still talk on the phone, and I am deeply grateful. It has been months since I had a KitKat choco pudding. It's as if that flavour disappeared from the shelves, with your leaving. Perhaps one day I will find it again, calling out from the rows of chocolates. And one day I might see you again, with that beautiful smile of yours. Until then, I have the memories.
The first time you fought the cancer and won. You even taught again for a year. Your students were overjoyed when you returned. The next time, it was more difficult. The cancer spread its tentacles more rapidly, reducing you to a mere shadow of your former self. The last time you visited, I saw that the light in your eyes had died. Your will to live had been sapped. And yet you were so cheerful always. From your voice, no one could have guessed the amount of pain you were going through. You could barely eat anything. You could not walk without support. And no doctor could explain why water kept accumulating in your lungs. In the end that proved fatal. You felt breathless and uneasy; the hospital refused to take you in, fearing you were a Covid-19 patient. By the time they relented, it was too late. You suffered a massive cardiac arrest and passed away. You were gone too soon, Auntie. Rest in peace.
“Never eye to eye,
but always heart to heart”.
That’s how my relationship with my mom has been. We argue over the most trivial things, have a difference of opinion on most matters, and it was only a few years ago that I realised how much she means to me.
My mom has shaped me in many ways- imparting a love for reading, encouraging me to participate in debate and quiz competitions, and exhorting me to strive for excellence in all spheres. She has been my biggest role model since I was a child. She did not cook for us very often (though when she did, the results would be finger-licking delicious), because she was busy at work. I can’t recall her telling us bedtime stories, but she set an example through her work ethic, unimpeachable integrity, courtesy and kindness. When she was transferred to another town for almost a year, I was shattered. My studies went for a toss. It didn’t feel like home without her.
I wouldn’t say that my mom is my best friend. There have been subjects, such as my mental health, that she either does not realise the gravity of or disagrees with me on. So I no longer tell her about these things. Yet, I cannot imagine a life without her. My cousin recently lost his mother and seeing his grief shook me to the core. I realised that I should be grateful for having my parents, and should be more loving. You see, my mom doesn’t just mean the world to me, she is my world.
LIFE HAS BEEN
a matter of living these days...
out of hand
a moment of time
that is beautiful
a breath of splendour
a flicker of greatness
that keeps one going
for the million other hours
in a life
that has been
mostly a matter
of living the days.
- Srinivas Rayaprol
It may be a bit melancholic, but this little poem reminds me of rare moments of joy and beauty that have kept me going when everything seemed bleak.