“How did you feel at that time?"
"Nothing. I felt nothing at all. I had known it the night before, just not confirmed. I flew to Mumbai next morning and that fear had disappeared by then. I took the cab. Alone. No one came to pick me up, how would have they? They were all busy, weeping. I got the call, the call which confirmed my deepest fears to be true. I blinked my eyes No, they did not wet, I did not cry. I didn’t feel anything, I just sighed. I tried to console him. He is young. 15, maybe. I knew why everyone was there at home yet I lied. I lied to him! I calmed him down and assured that I will take care of everything and tell him what was going on as soon as I reach there. From his voice, it was clear that even he knew that his fears had come true. I had responsibility, how could I let him know? He was young, also by heart. When I reached, I was provided with food. Unknown of the customs, I thought that why couldn’t they cook at home? I desperately wanted to eat Home food not anything else. I was dying for it after staying in hostel for 3 years. There were so many guests at home. My younger brother came and shared his fears with me. My elder sister was there too. Already aware of the truth though not willing to accept it. I knew what was happening yet had no clue so as what to do. And then we were taken there by bus. To the hospital. My uncle was the first one to enter. I had no pain, no fear by now. I was aware of what had happened yet felt free, no emotions at all. Followed him, my father, my brother, my sister and then I. The rest followed behind. I do not know who the rest were. They must have been extended family and family friends. I hadn’t seen any of them in a very long time. None of them visited us during our hard times in the recent past. That day was the hardest. The day my mother died. The day of her funeral.
My maternal uncle turned to see if he was being followed. Fifty eight, he was fifty eight. And the strongest and one of the most responsible and caring person I had known in my life. His face muscles twitched and eyes almost watered. He was on the verge of breaking down. He turned back and then my father turned towards us. He had the same expression on the face. ‘How long could he control?’ I wondered. My brother turned back. I saw his face. He cried and my sister cried along with him. I stood there, staring at them. My eyes didn’t even blink. I was not shocked or stunned. I just felt no emotion. I felt nothing at all. My uncle and my father, the strongest person I had known, broke down in front of me. I held my brother and made him sit. He was still crying at the top of his voice. Uncontrollable. I looked around and even the strangers were crying. I got emotion. I got anger. They tried to create drama, at even this time? It was not like they had been there for us when we needed them. They were here even today just for formality. I saw my father again and I felt sad. He was controlling himself, as he’s a man, he shouldn’t show emotion. That is what he has always felt. And now, at this very moment, he tried to control himself even more. He could not afford to break down at this crucial moment because he knew when a parent is weak, it is reflected in their children. And today, his children had lost one parent. The other had to be strong and take responsibility and so he did. He tried his best to not break down but he eventually did. I saw my sister trying hard to control herself but was unable to. She wept like she couldn’t breathe. Stuffed nose and reddened eyes. I saw her trying hard to not cry. She had two younger siblings to support at this time. I turned to my brother and my anger turned to weeping. Wept, I wept. I wept for all the sorrows they felt, not for my loss. I held my brother and tried to calm him down, to console him. He stared blankly at the wall and cried while I held his head in my chest. She would have done the same, I thought. Then we performed the rituals.
We came back home which no longer felt like home. How could it be? After all the person who made a house home was no longer in it. Not like she had been for past three years but her presence was always felt. Now her absence was being felt. My brother remained with my father to follow their part of the customs and rituals. In home again, everyone was weeping and talking. They kept quiet yet there wasn’t a gloomy aura around. I could feel my anger rising from all that drama. The fake crying and the fake sympathy was getting on my nerve from the moment I had entered the house that morning. I went to another room for I wanted to be left alone for some time. No emotions of the loss yet. I thought about my brother and I turned around to see my sister caring for me. I went around and gave a glass of water and then another. I could see how gloomy she was yet I felt no pain, no sorrow, no emotion!
As days passed by, I remembered that Christmas, that smile I saw on her face that day, the last celebration I had with her, the last time I cried tears of joy and saw her so happy and the last time I saw her being proud of me, in front of me. As days pass by, I remember all those silly talks, silly moments and I cry! I feel emotion now, I weep at night. I cry every time I am reminded of her, in the bedroom, in the hall, in the kitchen, in the garden, in the streets, in the hospital and every silly place. I still miss her, love her and weep for her fate. I curse my fate!
I felt nothing at that time and I feel everything now. How funny life is? It made me strong in front of everyone else, emotionless person and here so weak inside."