No Change in Position - A Stalemate with God.

Nobody knows Prince Thomas. Or the fact that he em-bibs brilliance and a growth path only vertical.
Or maybe nobody cares.

Well, except the Thomas family.

You see, somewhere in this country, a young man from a small village in Kerela, used to help his father and study at the same time.
Not too great one would say but when the father is a vegetable vendor and yet you manage to study, and top your class 12th exams, it really is great.

On 24 May, a few days after the board results and a few days before the competitive exam results he had written, Prince Thomas hanged himself to death.
To save his family the (economic) burden of his further studies. And it took 5 days for the media to report THAT.

Prince Thomas, gave up without trying. And gave away a life, full of promise, in exchange of hope.
A few morsels more at dinner for everyone at home.
You will be remembered Prince Thomas, for swiftness of your exit. And your hasty decision.

For you were on the Rank list of every entrance exam you wrote.

You had everything going, and you just let it go.

And there are some who had and have nothing going...

My maternal grandmother is a spectacular woman.
Besides being a fabulous cook that all grandmothers usually are, she is a person who I have myself seen - go through a lot.
The fact that she went through the socio-economic turmoil of the the partition of Punjab, and spent her entire life struggling to make ends meet, she always has a tweak of a smile and a shiny glimmer of hope in her eyes.
Her existential ambition was to make sure all her children are well settled, and that she fulfilled. And how.

She faced hell, including a family crisis of the kinds that usually happen when the man of the house passes away. Less things to do. The house is sold.
Not having any worldly assets so to speak, she travels between the houses of her children, living out of the guest room of one house to the corner couch of another.
But always with a smile :)

I share a special relationship with her.
I was a problem child, and she was my voice of support.
And I have lived with my maternal uncle for a few years (why is another post) and as she spent a majority of time at his house, we did bond exclusively.

One of the many things I tease her about is her passion for walking.
Citing the frail heart condition of all the widowers around the neighborhood, she has often blushed (and she looks gorgeous [even more] when she does) at me urging her not to go walking in the interest of senior citizens. But I cannot do that anymore. Because she refuses to walk anymore.

Or talk. Or blush. Or eat. Or drink.
She lies there I am told with various things attached to her refusing to acknowledge or react.
Making it like a silent film, where we know the climax, yet are waiting to actually see it before we shed our tears.

Everyday, as many times I call the various family folk who are currently around her, I get to hear the same answer.
'No change in position'.

From a car to a food court. From the temple and from work.
Life keeps moving ahead while the answer remains the same. Stalemate.

'No change in position'.

And the stalemate comes after the doctors say you have already reached a point of no return.
So what are we playing for?

Change position now BeeJi. You are 92. And that is too old to be throwing a starving tantrum.
Not eating your food. Not talking to us.
I do not have the courage to come and see you. I am scared. For what I might ask for you.

Because you are not the same for me anymore.
Not unless you make me my breakfast paranthas.
Not unless you sit me down for an evening prayer.
Not unless we have a mango eating and pickle pelting contest.
Not unless I grill you on the cutest looking geriatric around.
Not unless.... you are you.

All your life I heard you say that you want to go peacefully without embracing the bed.
All my life I heard you pray for it.

But I am sorry BeeJi, for I too cannot fathom the one who answers or can answer those prayers.

I am sorry for teasing you about your 'romaaance'.
I am sorry for not spending more time with you.
I am sorry for not calling often.
I am sorry to have made you make me all that food when you were tired.
I am sorry for keeping you up at night, with cold bandages when I was ill.
I am sorry for deliberately scandalizing you- just to see you blush.
I am sorry for stealing money from your purse.
And I am sorry for not having ever said that how much I love you for having always forgiven me for all of the above.

But I love you. And I cannot see you go through this.
While everyone around goes on with life, as if nothing has happened and the visit to the hospital just becomes a formality with a mandatory shake of the head and repeating into the phone, day in and day out- the practiced 'No change in position'.

Change positions now BeeJi. On your own. It is enough already.

Don't let logic rule over the bonds of the heart. Don't let practicality steal the memories of joy.
Please, don't make me make a prayer that will put me through the grinders of guilt and regret for the rest of my life.

Post Script : Beeji passed away on the morning of 07/06/07. A few hours before I was to reach Amritsar to see her. After I had finally managed to muster the courage to do so.
I was there for the funeral. But did not have to see her in the state of pain.
She did indeed love me a lot.
\Thank you all for your wishes and prayers. They meant lots. God Bless.


AakASH!!! said...

I have nothing to say Harjee. I can not think of anything to say.

Monika said...

made me cry with tears literally rolling down my cheeks... remembered the time when my grandma was in the similar situation and i was here in Bangalore... and one fine day i just gathered some courage and took a flight home, went to meet her directly from the airport and the next day there was a change... i still want her by my side giving me all those goodies, giving me all that strength... and i guess all the strength i have is from her...

go meet her harjee... she might just be waiting for u... May baba give u courage to hold urself.... lost of love........

Anonymous said...

God bless You and God bless Her.

Sometimes logic begins to take over the biddings of the heart. I hope the heart wins.

Go and visit her, even if it is a torment to you now. It is better than feeling guilty throughout your life.

Take care!

The Grouch said...

Veer: Sub da Rub rakha, Sub da.

ishita said...

the day thamma (my granma) died, we had one of our many infamous arguments...don't be mistaken...i loved her like crazy but she could be soooo adamant like me...and i left the house thinking.."oh we'll be fine in the evening like always"...she would scold me for not eating enough and I would tease her about sneaking and munching on mithai when mom wasn't looking...

But when I rushed back home when mamma called telling me thamma suffered a stroke...it was too late....too late for her to even comprehend I was hugging her leave alone hearing me cry "sorry"...

she never made it

and it hurts harjee...hurts so bad even after all these years...

One chance to get her back and hear me say "i love you" and not the damned last statement "why are u so impossible thamma??" ... I will live and die with this regret.

Go meet her Harjee...painful as it might be to see her in this state...go...

Jewel Rays said...

*Hugs* Harjee..

Jewel Rays said...


The days are precious. And sometimes a step to face the fear could make a big difference. This was the step i took with an aunt whose days were numbered. I don't want to live not knowing she knws i care.

Just a thought friend.

T.C. Be Strong alrighty..



Anonymous said...

Meet her harjee, you might bring back her smile. And yours too. Take Care harjee.

Aradhana said...

Harjee this really touched me an whtever you've said about grandmothers is so true....I hope everything gets ok with her really and a very nice post this!

Aradhana said...

I dont know if i am n a position to tell you this or ask you to do this but go meet her na....it'll hurt but try...

Noojes said...

Speak your mind to her while u can...even if that means someone putting the fone to her ear while u talk...even if u think she isnt listening she is trust me...tell her what u think...
I spoke to my big mama and begged for forgiveness after she died and was in the ambulance and i believe that she heard me...
Speak up Harjee...


Anonymous said...

All fine now Harjee? Do let us know. Wishes and Prayers.

Keshi said...

**Don't let logic rule over the bonds of the heart. Don't let practicality steal the memories of joy.

love that!


AlterinG Abhishek said...

I pray for strength to ur famili, to pass this difficult..

You are tagged
see here

Anonymous said...

hey harjee,
I hope your granny gets well soon.
I'll pray for her. And for you.
Take care, Nishant

d4u said...

im at a loss of words...

Tushar Pandey said...

She's 92 and still you "want" things from her? This looks more like a trip to assuage your OWN guilt rather than an emotional appeal to your Gran. The last line says as much, saccharine comments to the contrary notwithstanding. By all that's holy, may she get better, I'm with you on that. But you need to look at your own motivations a little more closely.

The Grouch said...

Trust all is well, Harjee. God bless.

The Grouch said...

"Aukhi ghadi dekhan na dayee
apna birddh sumbhaale"

prayers are with your family.

Anonymous said...

I wish pain could be shared... Wish it could permeate from one heart to another with a hug. But such hopes are a sham... a facade... ultimately, one has to bear one's own pain.

May God give you strength in the hours of solitude. For I know you will hold up well when amidst company.

Cheers and God Bless!

sushant said...

may her soul rest in peace.
your post would make for a nice tribute.

have strength, will pass.

SwitchBlade said...

Your words reminded me a lot of my own grandmother. I thank God for the many wonderful years hes added to her life..
May Beeji rest in peace...God Bless!!

Anonymous said...

wasnt she the one u talked about one day...

shooting star said...

For once am speechless...!!!!!

Jyoti said...

i just dropped to tell u that once you said ki mujhse baat karni ho to banglore aa jao. I am banglore now.

I know you are not here now. I Came to your blog to say you "sorry"...for irritating you unnecessarily...

sorry for your beeji too.

May god rest her soul in peace.


Puneet said...

may her soul rest in peace....

Anonymous said...

Wish you a very very Happy Birthday Harjee! Have a blast. :-)


Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes.

Ashwani said...

U have touched it...I have been in deep sleep :(
will try to b wid dear ones till they r in reach at least !

Anonymous said...

Kuch leekho !

Neetal said...

Okay it has now been 2000 years... since you updated your post... atleast write that you are still Alive !!!!

Renovatio said...

First time I'm stopping by here, it's always hard to say anything when you visit on one of these posts. All I can say is you were strong enough to go see her, you were strong enough for the people who she was strong for. Continue being strong for them.

adhip iyer said...

i'm sorry for your loss...and i say this because your words made me feel it. take care & God bless.

lovemarks said...

hi...just saw your post... after a long time.
I'm sorry...can't think of anything else to say.Take care!

....Do come back and write.

aakriti said...

Hey Harjee. You are lucky for you had a grandparent who doted on you like this, pampered you crazy and loved you to bits. I didn't have one... ever. I'm sorry about your loss, I can't possibly know or understand the extend of your grief but from what I read I could feel the love that was there and still is. And I feel envious of what you had. You should feel blessed that you had such a remarkable person in your life. God bless her.

Mez said...

Hello Harjee,

I have a Blogerville Crush Confession thing going on my blog latest post.3 people seem to have a crush on you and have dedicated a mssg for you. You can check it here http://tohellyea.blogspot.com/2008/02/bloggerville-crush-confessions.html .........She will be waiting for your reply. So do drop in soon and chk out your dedication.

- Mez (the owner of the blog hosting the Crush Confession Fiesta)

Anonymous said...

harjee, time you wrote a post i think. unless you've started writing elsewhere?

Harry said...

veere sab theek ho jayega...
rab che vishwaash rakh...

I pray that everything gets well at ur end soon...



Arunima said...

May her soul rest in peace. My grandma is also above 90 now and she has lost her memory. I am so touched by this post.