Today, after a long time I sit and try to write. I've decided it's time for my annual piece summing up the year that was. Yes, the words come out slowly, chokingly and I force them out until they emerge, a gooey mass in my palm, much like that tube of oil paint you did not quite recap properly and the top end has hardened.Yes, yes, I know, the year has not quite ended...three weeks to go. You all have those year ending parties and Christmas to look forward to..... It's just that it just FEELS like it's over, at least for me... so why not let the passing year close a bit early, just this once, for me at least?
The single most important and tragic thing that has happened this year is the loss of my father-in- law. It was sudden and unexpected and shortly after a terrific vacation we all enjoyed in the UK in summer. There were other events, the year had its shares of joys and sorrows, fights and tantrums, I guess, but I seem to have forgotten them just now. Once in a while those summer vacation pictures come rolling around as my screen saver and I stare at them wishing the days were once more in my hands and I could somehow hold on to them forever. But nothing lasts forever, least of all the people we love. Save in our heads and our memories.
Oh it hurt like hell. Right from that moment when we had to admit him to hospital for the long vigil in silence and desperation to the time when we took him home that last time for his final journey. I can recall each moment of angst and anger, rage and frustration, tenderness and prayer. And now too, although more than a month has passed, I have not gotten used to it. There are no calls to be made in the morning, no one asks if I am home and we are trying to get used to the silence that walks by our side and visits us in the evening. I waver between anger and pain. I rage against peace and insist there is no justice. But even in my most illogical moments I can see both my fathers and my mother-in-law looking down at me surrounded by other dear faces telling me to let go, to forgive, to move on.
So that's what I am trying to do now: move on. My father always said that life is for the living. But I have been ignoring many precious people in my life simply because I've not felt up to it yet. Because I've been busy licking my own wounds and bearing grudges I want to bear. And if there's anything the year has taught me, it's that life's too short and unpredictable. So I am going to try and make the phone calls I have been deferring, I am going to try and open my heart to all the well meaning people who have been trying to make the right noises. I am also trying to find it in my heart to forgive those trespasses on my soul, real and imagined, as I can just hear a voice telling me to "let them do what they want, as long as YOU are true."
Ah, yes, 2012 has been a roller coaster of an year. And like all rides, it has to end. I plan to spend the year-end quietly holed up in this remote hotel in Darjeeling far away from the hustle and bustle of the Mall. Yes, we were supposed to visit in October, Baba was very eager to go. But we had to cancel. I know I will find him (and all those that I love and who are no more) waiting for me there in the silence of the hills, in the sun as it reflects off the Kanchenjunga, in the peace of the morning mist.
And I shall take that oil-paint in the palm of my hand and set about painting this white canvas into vibrant life and colour.
Best wishes for 2013, everyone.