shrill voice echoes

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why Knot?

Out in front of her eyes stood the vast expanse of the endless sea.Her eyes drifted from one end to the other . The salty breeze slapped her bony cheeks and her eyes  started to swell with emotions just like the sea frothing with humungous waves. The rains had started to patter and the petrichore grew stronger. The noolia started warning people inside the sea to come out. The tide was high and inclement  August weather was imminent. She had never wanted to come to Puri. She had told her husband that.Yet he insisted.   Now she could see him at some distance......
3 years back....
“We are all going to Puri . Don’t you want to come? It is a family trip. Dad and I along with Dada, Dadi,Bua ,Uncle, Kaku and KakiMa and your little cousin Shiv everyone will be there.” I told mom that I needed time to think. Eventually I decided to go.It would be fun after all. It had been quite some time since all of us had been together.The first day when we reached Bhubaneswar it was fun eating Dadi’s homemade condiments rich in ghee and sugar. Funny that Dadaji still needed Dadi to give him all his clothes and utilities. He would cry out Dadi’s name and ask for stuffs  and Dadi would chide him like he was 5 year old asking him why it was not possible for him to take care of his belongings. The place where we were staying in Puri was more of a holy shrine that in local parlance is known as Dharamshala with a big courtyard where priests sang hymns continuously.The first day we went for darshan to the famous Lord Jagannath temple. I have always had a grudge against the superstitious rituals that are done in the name of faith and religion. Can’t we pray in silence? Why is it that I need to tussle in and strangulate myself in a dense smelly crowd just to see a God’s image whose photo I see everyday? Ma as always asked me to shed away my need for reason and logic and strictly asked me to wear the garb of tradition . What an ordeal it was to get a glimpse of Jagannath,Subhadra and Balram. I felt sorry for my 10 year old cousin Shiv and was constantly reaching out to make sure he wasn’t crushed in this swarm of mortals. After that pandemonium of darshan  the next day Dad ,Dadaji ,Shiv, Kaku and I decided to go into the sea and bathe in it.
     I was given the primary responsibility of clicking pictures as I was the proud owner of a new smartphone. Dadaji who had taught me to take dip in the holy Ganges tried to recreate the same only to be sent ashore by the strong waves . Luckily Dad came to rescue at the right moment and we further asked Dadaji  to stay onshore. By this time 10 year old Shiv was in the sea alone jumping as each time the currents lashed against the shore. Shiv was a child and his curiosity was only making him take baby steps into the ocean. Another wave lashed out on the shore and while receding Shiv was moving along with it into the ocean. Dad and I left Dadaji onshore and darted towards Shiv. Luckily we rescued him. Poor Shiv was reprimanded by my dad  for his little adventure stint and even received a spank by his dad. As the sun uncovered from the clouds, the heat became scorching and we decided to go back to the dharamsala. Our room was on the second floor. Shiv wanted to see all the snaps I had clicked on the beach. Of course I was wary of handing the kiddo my smartphone. Nevertheless he asked for it, and I gave it to him. “Angry birds is my favourite game,How can I play that?” , Shiv asked. Irritated by his pestering demand , I taught him to play the game with the projectile aim.Shiv started humming his favourite song while playing on my mobile phone,sitting on the projected window sill. His  body  resting against the aluminium glass window. Meanwhile Dadi came into the room looking for Shiv. I was putting on kajal on the mirror. “Where are is my little Shivi? I heard about your mischief in the sea” . Shiv tried to hide from Dadi and leaned on further pressurising himself against the window.
In a moment my Kajal dropped and my eyes turned towards the window. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. Shiv was not there on the window sill nor was the window there. I heard a thud on the ground and the sound of crackling glass. What followed was Dadi ‘s screams of “Save Shiv, Save my child “ He has fallen down. The window broke along with the frame.” We darted downstairs. The child was covered in a pool of blood. The remaining description sends a shudder through my spine. His mom i.e my aunt was wailing. The ambulance was called and Shiv was taken to the hospital. The authorities confirmed what we all were anticipating with horror and disgust. Shiv was cremated then and there itself at Puri’s seaside cremation ghat.

Puri never will never be a holiday destination for her . She had told her husband that.Yet he insisted.   Now she could see Shiv at some distance......


That distance had made her look at life from a new direction.





2 comments:

funky-philosopher said...

This is so shocking and moving beyond despair... my consolation for the parents and the lively young soul.

Anusia said...

Sad to know this. Hope he gets well soon. And you may visit the place once again.