Monday, April 22, 2019

Soul-less Bread Butter

I was in the second year of my under-grad. It was the last Friday of the first month of that year. The college day was about to end, just one more lecture was to be attended. I was about to reach the designated lecture hall with my batchmates, when all of a sudden I decided to skip that class and to go home. My friends were quite surprised because there was no reason to not attend that class that day. We were just 20 odd girls in the non-medical section and if and whenever we decided to bunk a lecture, we would preferably do it together and would even inform the lecturer about our absence. Somehow that day it was different and it still is a mystery to me why I decided to head home.

I reached home and saw my mother coming out from the main entrance as if she was expecting to meet me outside. I was on my two-wheeler mobike. She asked me to go to the post office and send a telegram to my paternal auntie who lived in Karnal at that time, requesting her to come immediately. Those were the times when phones were not omnipresent. Auntie often used to visit us and would stay with us for longer durations too. Her presence used to uplift the mood of everyone at home. My father was not keeping well for some days and it was getting very depressing at home. That was the year when only I was at home with my parents. My eldest sister was married, my brother had taken up his first job in the capital city and my second sister was away studying in another city.

I went inside, kept my college bag and saw my father breathing a little heavily though he was sleeping peacefully. He was on a high dose of medicine for the past couple of weeks and that could have triggered this irregular breathing - we  rationalized and did not feel right to disturb his sleep. I went to the post office and returned back in about half an hour. I saw my mother standing at the gate as if desperately waiting for me to come back. We rushed inside and on seeing father's condition, it was clear that something was seriously wrong. The events that followed are just a haze in my mind. Our tenants who were on the first floor of our house came first, followed by some neighbours; a doctor was called; my eldest sister and her family came; our living room was cleared out and sitting arrangement was done on the floor; our entrance was thrown open as more people had started pouring in and many more were expected through the night. 

Just like that, a person had become a body.

I experienced a strange type of dichotomy surrounding myself then - time was dragging slowly but things were happening at a strange pace; mind was numb but a lot of noise in the mind didn't cease to pause even for a moment; there was deathly silence in the atmosphere but people around were engaged in various tasks. By midnight, our house was full of friends, relatives and acquaintances. There was a constant supply of tea and eatables for them from the homes in our neighbourhood. I came to know that day that until the body is cremated, the kitchen fire cannot be lit. Night gradually merged into dawn and somebody brought bread and Amul butter from the nearby Verka booth. I don't know who, but someone opened the packets and started smearing un-melted cold butter on raw un-toasted bread slices while another started passing them around for all to take a few. The serving plate reached me. I did not have any appetite so I declined but I was almost forced to pick one up by the well meaning individual who was serving them. I had not had this kind of breakfast ever in my life until then. The first morsel of it felt as if I was trying to push a  hard something down my throat and it was being resisted by a big lump in the throat which was obstructing the passageway. That day the dryness, the coldness and the drabness of that bread slice left a lasting imprint on my senses in many different ways.
Bread-butter combination remains the coldest breakfast option for me, no matter how much I try to partake it just off the stove. Somehow the memories of that morning come rushing back to me. The same bread-butter paid another visit to us a few years back when we bid adieu to our mother. It was almost like déjà vu to me that day, my whole being including the senses already knew that day and that breakfast option.

The coldness that fissures of heart bring about overpowers everything else.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Related Posts with Thumbnails