As I’m settling down with my evening tea, a gentle breeze blows into the room and brushes across my face. It’s a quiet Sunday, the kind that I’ve been looking forward to, for a long time. I’m glad I don’t feel inclined to grab my phone and check messages or make a hurried ‘to-do’ list today.
It’s one of those days when I’m grateful to be doing nothing, as I’m back home, after a whirlwind trip to my hometown, Kolkata, I’m eternally thankful that we were able to plan a trip in a matter of days and most importantly, that I was able to take mom along, so we could spend some time at our family home, sorting through things my parents had accumulated over a lifetime. It was nothing short of a herculean task, to tell the truth, but we managed to sort through most of it, keeping a few prized possessions to cherish as treasured memories, and mostly giving away what we felt could be better used by those who needed them more than us. It was quite a challenge to accomplish so much in so short a time, but now that it’s all done, I can only heave a sigh of relief and sit back and thank the Universe for giving us the strength and the capacity to make it all happen. Truly and utterly grateful for that!
With a heavy heart, we bid adieu to the home that bore tons of precious memories, but, that’s the inevitability of life. There is no escape from the truth that people pass on. These are the times when we are reminded of how the thread of impermanence continues to run through the warp and weft of our lives, and we, humans, oblivious of this fact, cling on to our possessions, believing life is forever. I could feel Baba’s presence in his room. The shelves had his books, the closet still bearing every trace of his presence. Hanging on the rack were his umbrella and the kurta he usually wore on his way to the market every morning, before the fall that changed the last six months of his life and ours. How everything changed overnight for us. Nothing was ever going to be the same again. As I stepped on the balcony, I noticed the empty clothesline.
Waking up to bird calls, I savoured the quiet Kolkata mornings and each time, the mind replayed events, people and places, all culminating in a myriad of memories, of every conceivable emotion there could be. It was tough at times, dealing with such an emotional onslaught. Some times, I felt so hollow within myself, as if there was a pit that was taking me down a seemingly endless rabbit hole! I cried as I sorted through things and picked myself up and worked through it all again and again. Some days were tough like that!
And then, it seemed time ran its’ course and we were nearly done with our task. The flat was cleared. Cleaned. Emptied. Our task was accomplished. It was tiring but rewarding to declutter the home and free up the space for new people to move in some day. A chapter in our lives was finally over.
To be lost in another world away, far removed from my present one, was a welcome relief; to be able to get away from the pressures of my everyday life that had come to be overwhelming lately, was nothing short of much-needed break. In between losing myself in the wisdom and learnings of Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart, and reliving the memories of the voices and the faces from the past, that once enlivened the home—that was, in all truth, my sole reason to visit the city of Kolkata for the past 27 years, I learnt to quietly let go—of the ties that held me to this home and to the city itself. I did so, with a grateful heart, for everything that came my way, over the years.
When I boarded the flight back home, I thanked the Universe for letting life take its’ course through everything and everyone that had made this trip of ours possible. Ma was at peace and so was I. It was one of those things that had been long due and I was glad that we had brought some sort of closure to a chapter in our lives, even though I knew, for a fact, that, on that Monday morning, when we finally bid a tearful goodbye to our family home, I’d left a piece of my heart behind forever.