Jana came running back as soon as she heard what unfolded that morning. Mum and cuz Sulo got back from the hospital. An uncomfortable silence kept the room still. We each avoided eye contact. Thangamma served the food for us and served her plate too and sat down with a heave. I am not sure where the food came from either. I cant remember anyone cooking. Maybe it was left overs. We all ate in silence. Even Jana was quiet. She is never quiet. But tonight she was.
What now, another surgery I guess. After dinner Jana and I went to see our cousin Sulo to get some medical know how. I don’t even know who suggested and came up with idea. Cuz Sulo’s house felt heavy too. She never stops singing or humming. But tonight she was all done. We asked her what now? another surgery? She shook her head, “I don’t really know, It may be too close for another surgery”. I think she knew, just that she didn’t really want to know.
I don’t know how long we were there for, and what we spoke about. I think we all just sat in three different chairs and pondered to our selves. We both got back home and went to bed straight away. Jana slept on the next bed. Mum and Thangamma were in the next room. My memory is rather foggy, I can’t even be sure if Thangamma was there that night or for that matter in the morning or had she returned to TRI a couple of days ago. But I know for sure that Jana was right next to me.
I had issues with the clock and sheep the whole night. Sheep kept multiplying and the clock refused to move. I think mum had the same problem in the next room. By five o’clock we both gave up on sleep and sheep, and got to the kitchen the same time. We made our coffees and sat down to discuss what to take for dad. Usually mum would pack fresh clothes and some home cooked food for dad. Velu stayed the night with him. But on this day, we didn’t know what to pack.
We hear Parames Mami’s voice. I think she was relieved to see lights switched on in our house indicating we were up. She never visits us this early.
It’s Dad’s birthday tomorrow. I so, don’t want to continue any further. But I think I ought to. Just because I suppress the memory, it doesn’t mean, that it doesn’t exist or it didn’t occur. I turned fifty this year. I guess I am big girl now. But in my heart I am still daddy’s little girl.
Parames Mami didn’t have to say anything, she just held her arms wide to hug mum, and mum and I started to weep. It’s all a blur after that.
Dad never got to see my funny birthday card. Dad didn’t get a chance to approve (or disapprove) Ganesh. Although I have a feeling he knew something. He did mention to me once, quite randomly, “Ganesh is a nice boy isn’t he?”. I really like to think he did and he was happy for me. More than anything, Dad never got to meet his two amazing grand kids and vice versa. I have in time learnt to accept it as, “it’s fate”, “it was not meant to be”.In actual fact, it is just chants copied from others as a coping mechanism.
All this from start to finish, was just sixteen days. The clock was ticking and turning a day at a time. Each day with a twist, turn and at times with another nail for the box. We had no idea, that the clock was still ticking. Even when we thought that it had stopped and time had stood still, it was really still ticking.
This story has no happy ending. But, I guess that is life, it doesn’t always give you the results you demand or deserve. We just have to remember the ticking clock stops for no one, make the most of life while it’s still ticking.