Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Bakra's bleating like its Armageddon, bright red, fake ketchup colored blood squirting helter-skelter. Rigor mortis sets in, setting tails wagging posthumously. I stare on barely perplexed. Its god's will and nature's way. My concern is how much the butcher's gonna charge and is he going to do the meat right? This is training as imparted by a father. Sit back straight, no slump in the shoulders, look everyone straight in the eyes, if the balk they lie. Confidence is the cardinal virtue that will lead your right on through. Make mistake, no one's perfect, but own up to them, and show courage. Face life head on, grab adversity by the horns. Stand tall, son, through it all. Whatever it is; its god's will, its nature's way.
Its funny how I didn't even blink while watching goat upon goat upon sheep beheaded in my backyard, but couldn't muster up the guts to go to Dad's grave. The Epitaph is up, it has his name and his parent's names and his DOB and his DOD on there. He's been condemned to god's will and is marked now only by a marble slab. This is somehow harder to behold than laying him down to sleep was. The first time I saw the new improved 2.0 version of the grave I ended up bawling. All decked out in a grey suit that dad chose for me, hair gel backed, high on the euphoria of authority used right I stood desolate like a ship that's lost its mooring. The tears swelled forward as if the dam had finally given way and I huddled myself within my arms trying desperately to keep from shaking so violently.
This is how it will always be I suppose, this unexpected, unprecedented surrender to emotions held in check so tight that they almost choke to death. But almost isn't enough and when the tidal wave of the implications of being an orphan courses over all my defenses, I can only succumb. There's no age limit for being an orphan, unfortunately but there is one for feeling like one. I'm well past that age where I could use this loss to gain sympathies, I'm at the age where my father's hard work in making me a man is represented through my actions, my words, my life. His honor is now my responsibility and crying like an orphan ought to just ain't done. So I visit his grave alone now. I cannot afford to let my mom see my crumble or my sisters. Its better if they think I'm a coldhearted SOB because cold hearted SOBs alone command the respect that is needed to make the tough decision without being undermined or being considered incapable of doing anything even remotely mature because you're just an orphaned child who is still grieving. Orphan yes, child no, and thus grieving falls out of the equation turning into something that is too personal to be shared or exposed to anyone. God's way and nature's will again, but the implementation is all mine.
Dard aisa kay her rug mien hai mehshar burpa (apocalypse reins in every vein, such is the pain)
Aur sukoon itna kay mar janay ko jee chahta hai.(And such calm that I wish for death)
The translation sucks ass but that is the verse by Faiz that graces the epitaph. Dad was fond of it, and it is fitting in the sense that Faiz wrote it about a heart attack. Which is the malady that in the end claimed dad's life. But what it does, and this we did not foresee while selecting it, is that it reflects quite commendably exactly the way I feel inside the small mausoleum where husband, wife and now son rest. Not as much a heart attack as an attack to the heart but the feeling is pretty much the same, only I don't get to have the wish come true.