Busy Sunday morning — birds singing and swinging in rhythmic disorder, the men at work making and breaking stuff down. Yes Ma’am! Sunday’s a busy day — the same day mom went away in body and time 5 years ago.
We are at the family grave — mom’s grave right now. Dad’s not happy — there’s broken sticks and rubbish gathered there. More importantly, the wooden cross at her grave head has broken into two. The two arms do not make a cross anymore, rather they rest side by side, at peace.
One arm reads –
In loving memory
The other arm –
We ask the staff about the cross. They give some bull about a branch from a tree 20 meters away that fell on the cross during the rains. My dad doesn’t like it — he complains to the staff and he complains to me. The staff sells him some fancy idea about redecorating the gravestone with marble and cut glass — costs a couple of lakhs — yaa right. Me, I’m used to listening to him complain.
When Dad prayed at the grave, I spied on the graves on either side. One belonged to a Joshua and the other to a John. They had initials and surnames – didn’t matter now. And i had a conversation with them.
I asked –
Do you mind if Annamma is without a cross ?
They said and I quote –
John – Ever since she gave up the cross
Joshua – That you stuck into her
John – She has turned into this great beauty
Joshua – That flies around
John – Weightless and free
Joshua – In broken bricks
John – Stones and sticks
Joshua – While we gasp
John – under false tombs and INRI
Chorus – Please let her be
Please let her be.
His prayers over, Dad moved away and sat down. I waited till he left, then replied to J and J.
Maybe you see a ghost
Maybe you guys lonely
So you see her
A free spirit
But she lives on
In verse and words
She lives in me.
And then I walked away leaving behind mom’s cross with J and J.