I’ve been wanderin sideways
I’ve stared straight into the sun
Still I don’t know why you’re dying
Long before your time has come

When the planes crashed into the twin towers on Sept 11, I was far away from my home city and completely unaware of the catastrophe that had unfolded in such swift succession. Multiple agitated calls later, I sat stunned and speechless in front of a plasma screen beaming images of the collapsing beacons of the free world.
Life was reduced to debris. In the blink of an eye everything faded to dust.
3 people who were the heart of of my Inner Circle disappeared that day. The remains were gathered over a period of time. I attended 3 consecutive funerals in the span of a week.
I can somehow never tether any one of them with their meaningless deaths, for me, they still exist as the camera-happy, beer guzzling, table-top dancing mad hatters who brought me truckloads of blueberry muffins and careful counsel when I’d run away from Dad’s. Photographs of our collective escapades, the route 66 lunacies with discounted red wine for company, are strewn across the cabinet right now and I am trying to comprehend where did these lives peter out?

I put on the smock handed to me by the nurse. The cold chill of the vicinity almost punches holes in my bare back. The spine is slowly turning to ice. The moment is here. 30 minutes later I am slowly slipping out of the grips of consciousness into the an anesthetic trance. 4 hours later, they’ve rid me of the first tumor in my arm. Relief. Short lived. They’ve, in their pursuit, found a complex and carcinogenic growth underneath the muscle mass. I look around at the OT. Make mental notes of the place, I will be spending more time here. My first tumor lays, subjugated, on a shiny tray next to my bed. A crimson bulbous entity that resided within me till about a few hours ago. I almost feel a sense of camaraderie towards it. Peculiar. I almost always like that, what razes me.

The worst night of my life structures a diabolical serenade in my head. I am covered from head to toe in a blanket. The phone’s on silent mode. I don’t want to talk to this bastard. I want to break his jaw, at the best, after what transpired the last night. He is overdosing on texts. He knows he fucked up. In the middle of the mental mayhem, my second cousin from LA is on the phone with me. The only one in my paternal fraternity I can manage to communicate with.  Raul is the boisterous sort, but his voice is barely audible right now – “Chica…I ‘m sorry. Papa died on Saturday.” Raul called my father “Papa”.  Silence threatens to engulf my senses. I think life will end in this instance. The Universe must have lost its marbles. This is not happening. None of it. I want to douse myself with Bleach.
Truth is that Dad’s dead. He’d promised to teach me how to make paella. We were to visit Vegas when I got my leaves approved. He was to take me for a latin dancing competition. “Its for elders…you can enter and I will be your Rasputin!”
Har, Har!

We argue. Words fly like poisoned darts. I tell him that he needs lessons in parenthood, he informs me that I kept running away and he never had a chance to be a “Father”. We cease contact.
Then, He is found dead in his newly furnished East Village apartment. I don’t go for the funeral. My personal downward spiral has speeded itself.

The insidious jerk I was starting to like at this point in time, is just the beginning.

She raised 5 MENSA level kids, traveled the world and scared the living daylights out of custom guys at O’hare frequently. She couldn’t speak a word of English and was a fashionably informed illiterate home-maker. She could easily recognize Aishwarya Rai’s face on an L’oreal Billboard outside JFK. She wasn’t my mother’s mother, she was mine. She raised me during the turbulent years of my life. Held me down when the fits would get stronger and I’d recurrently cross the man-beast divide and morph into a rabid animal coz I had a “condition”. She didn’t understand Bi Polar Manic Depressive Syndrome. Neither did she know how to pronounce Schizophrenia. She knew that feeding me cream cones and placing a chilled cloth on my head did heal for a temporary interval. She’d rush to the grocers’ to fetch carrots for my salads coz as a 12 year old, my staple diet was carrots and tomato soup. No complains ever.
She breathed her last, alone and forsaken. I had a life, a frenzied schedule. I didn’t visit her in 3 years. She called that evening; she wanted to talk to me. I was out there, living my life. She passed on exactly 5 minutes later.
She’d call on every b’day. After a while, Parkinson’s took over the memory and she’d forget whom she’d called but she asked Granpa to call anyway.

The color of truth always is gray and right now, I am seeking the grayness in my life. Just that.

And unlike the times before
From yesterday comes tomorrow
When life comes alive the past moves aside
No regrets and no remorse
We’ll squeeze the blood out of life
And say goodnight to the silver of old
Even when wrong we’re right
Far beyond the world of diamonds and gold
I’ve come to realize
Where happiness lies



~ by iconoplastic on October 24, 2007.

4 Responses to “Gray”

  1. This is some of your best writing till date. Period.

  2. The post is exceptionally close to heart. Its simple and yet so cutting and true. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to go through some of the stuff you’ve written about but I have experienced personal loss to some degree; we all have, I must admit that I haven’t really evaluated any situation with such acute insight, ever. This is my orientation session. The bottomline is that you made it to the otherside. You get better with time and after knowing you for this long I can definitely vouch for that. Despite everything that has happened and will happen, you will continue to be a picture of grace and courage. Remarakably strong, fierce and brilliantly beautiful!
    Thanks for writing this coz I am sitting here in my haphazard world thinking about my own stupid little life. Elahe

  3. Beauty is what the eyes behold
    And you burn brighter than most
    I chased you thru the midnight streets
    To be where I could speak freely
    I didn’t care what tomorrow held
    I felt the world turning only for us

    Dust it off. Start Again. The world’s your for the taking.

  4. Congratulations!!
    The article’s been published and snail mailed to you as well. 🙂
    Introspective post.

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