Friday, June 23, 2017

Shikha's birthday

Today is Shkha's birthay. June 23rd. The date arrives every year after June 22, a date that has changed my family's narrative on many levels. Has it affected me? I can't say I guess. But I am the one who probably is farthest from the bitterness that this day and others around it create. Grief is bitter. Something that you have to come to terms with without being able to do anything about it. I mean you can't even laugh it off. My family huddles together in and around June 22.

All of them who were rendered old by time in one powerful blow, come together to sip tea, eat food, talk mundane things and protect each other from the invisible enemy. My sister is courageous enough maybe to call up someone in the family and talk to them about something unrelated which helps them as well as her to wade through the endless pool of time (like the infinity pools in expensive hotels) that June 22 seems like.

I don't have that strength. I feel like breaking down every five minutes and if I am busy with the kids I do not even understand why is it happening to me till the date strikes me. If by any chance anyone from the family calls me up all I do is ho humm. How would I help someone wade when I am drowning? So, I reach out to Shikha. I call her a day in advance to wish her happy birthday. She knows about it maybe.

I called her yesterday. She called me baby. I liked it. She knows the power these few days have over me. I think she doesn't mind that invariably for the last four years I have called her up a day earlier to wish her birthday. She offers me a virtual hug which I take gratefully. Does she know that I call her up because I need a distraction, not the impassive type like a book or some program on TV, but something more solid? Something or someone that knows about the incident. I doubt it. I too discovered this just yesterday after she told me I was calling her a day early. As usual. She did not evade the topic of  June 22. After tackling it we spoke about schools and how children are growing up fast. We spoke about her party, summer holidays, how much Abir talks and our parents.

Today I messaged her with all my love. Today was her birthday.

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