22nd August 2015
Our tickets were booked and bags packed. We will go to one of the holiest places for Hindus – very close to H – and say our final goodbyes. And then it would be a journey back to Bangalore, to a house where G will never be back.
We arrived at the same temple where we had done the last rites for his grandma 2 years ago. As I stepped in my mom and mom in law asked me to sit and have breakfast. I wasn’t very hungry, but I sat anyway. They served the traditional fare. A savory dish made of rice flakes and a sweet made of broken wheat with some namkeen.
Till then I had only read it in books – food getting stuck in your throat. And now it was happening to me. I took the first bite and just couldn’t swallow it. My throat was choked and tears were flowing down my face. I was in a hall full of people and all I could think was “this is not happening, this is not happening, I cannot be eating a last meal in his name”. It took me half an hour to eat, but I finished every bite. Same at lunch. In normal circumstances, i’d have left a lot in my plate – this wasn’t the food I usually ate – but not a morsel remained.
In the morning, his mom had made his favorite dessert – sheera. With broken wheat, sugar, milk, bananas, ghee, cashew nuts and raisins. He loved raisins! It was served to us at lunch. I ate 2 helpings – one my share and one his.
This was the first time I had paid so much attention to ritual and what the priest was saying. Even at my wedding I wasn’t so attentive! But somehow the words – that he was peacefully on his way – comforted me. And then just like that it was over, people started leaving, and we left too – all his traced washed away in the sea and a sea of memories stored in our hearts.