Haunting memories always Death, joy, grief


Memories, how they keep lingering. The good ones we cherish, the painful ones keep cropping up the more we try to push them down, and the regretful ones keep haunting us. But without memories, life loses its meaning. We take you down a different memory lane…

 wasn’t mamma’s boy. That was my kid brother. Since I was the firstborn, I carried my mother’s expectations, although not all went the way she wanted. It didn’t matter; her love and support were unwavering.

Losing my mother was a huge blow, much more than I would care to admit. It wasn’t a surprise, given the late diagnosis of her cancer. Yet, when she died, I was lost in a warren of grief and confusion. I struggled until a friend, who underwent a similar trauma, helped me tide over the biggest tragedy in my life.

That was seven years ago. I still miss her. The loss still hurts, but it pains much less. Time has helped to heal.

Today, my mother comes alive in a flood of memories. Triggered mainly by occasions that would have her signature. “This is what Amma would have said…would have done,” I would say. Her smile, warmth and scolding were all expressions of love. All of them are memories.

Some memories are more vivid than others. Bathing and feeding me when my arm was fractured. Plying me with black coffee and snacks during my marathon study session on the eve of exams. Trips to temples and bus ride to her brother’s house, I was her constant companion while father was away. Weddings, funerals and birthdays, we didn’t miss much.

There were no overt displays of affection. My sister, brother and I knew that she loved us to bits. How did we know? We just felt it. In her actions, in her words and her silence. She was at her best in the kitchen, where she worked her magic.

I don’t know a better cook. A million recipes in her head, Amma would whip up sumptuous feasts with all the traditional curries. Almost every day, hot savouries would accompany the evening tea, and sweets too, if she’s in the mood. And mother would watch us eat with relish.

Amma is no longer at her usual spot, reading a newspaper on a reclining chair. Or watching a television serial. But she’s there. A quiet presence.

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