Here comes the Rain Again
Here comes the Rain Again. As I sat on the rooftop lounge with a bondhu working out the details of a professional organization we are trying to create I ended up telling my life story. Looking back. Today. 20 years ago. The phone call. I wrote about in a previous entry here. Today we put some garlands, lit some incense, my wife told me to light an oil lamp. There was none at home. And now the wind howls as the storm steadily moves in over the water and getting ready to do landfall. When he had died the storm was in the mind, as the passing of a parent always leaves a debris of grief behind. Two decades. Some who have experienced the loss in recent years have a lot to learn. The debris is huge and time stamped, they appear at most unexpected moments. This loss is not measured by time but by glimpses that flitter through the mind unseen to all but apparent to me. Standing in the line to get my picture taken for the driver’s license I was reminded that many years ago at a similar driver’s license office my father had first experienced chest pain. His bondhu, a tall imposing man who I remember well, had already experienced these pains. And he told my father to slip a small tablet of nitroglycerine under the tongue. The line was moving ever so slowly, I was surrounded by a sea of youth – all eagerly waiting for the rights to drive. The nervous conversations – what is the road test all about – what will they ask us to do – you are old – you must have done the road test before. The tablet had reduced the pain immediately sealing for ever the truth that the chest pain was indeed angina and not “gas.” And the angina, like the line, moved slowly and as I finally stood before the camera to get my picture done, I smiled, thinking how it must have been for my father to come to the realization that the tine sublingual tablet had changed his life. As the picture today did mine. For the first time I had the legal rights to drive here. A new chapter in the narrative of my life started. It was late in the afternoon, I had not eaten lunch and as I finally tucked in the spicy mutton dish with bread, angina returned to my mind, the food was left unfinished. I stepped outside, the winds were picking up, the storm was nearing. The drainage system here is clogged up – so when the rains come – as they surely will – the streets will go under water, and my low-slung car will not be able to negotiate the submerged roads. It is a different kind of lockdown – nature is asking me to stay home. Will get some work done. Work stretches over time – in time and through time – sometimes the clock is set at Eastern Time in the USA, and at other times the clock tells me that it felt exactly like this that night when he passed away. It had to be night, right? It must have been right about now, exactly now, as I hear the wind howling through the trees, I am here now when it happened although I wasn’t here when it happened. Yet tat death, like all deaths are important for the living because it is an opportunity for growth. Unless we grow from death, the death is futile. And COVID-19 showed us that, after the deaths, we hanker to forget not only the deaths but what opportunities were offered and how we rejected them. Such as rethink work. Death is an opportunity because it energizes the living. As one bondhu said, “this is what my father wanted” after a moment of professional success. I wonder what my father wanted, of himself, of the people around him and of me. I hope it is at least the legal right to drive that I earned today. And there in lies the dark comedy of life as stated by Grim Duplicity, “to make you the living, laugh and maybe cry.” You choose.