I have lost count of the number of letters I have written to you for the past 7 years. All I know is that there are going to be still many more. If only you had left behind an address where I could have posted them, you would have known how much your absence has affected me.
I am sure you know that I have become a writer now. The idea was planted in my head by you through constant encouragement on every single piece of my writing (even though some really deserved to be trashed). Baba – the Maths Professor took credit for any progress in the science subjects while arts was majorly your domain of expertise.
I was in the second standard when I wrote an essay by myself. I don’t even remember the topic today. All I remember is the butter-laden hot paratha as a reward for my efforts. As I grew up, I stopped involving you in my projects and assigned tasks but I know you never stopped reading my Bengali and English notebooks. Sometimes you came back with suggestions for improvement and I felt angry with you for interfering. I hope you know that it was my teenage confused mind. Because today I realize that you were the reason for me to keep writing. I might have inherited the love of reading from Baba but my love for penning down of thoughts came from you.
As school got over, the race of life and career started. Even though I managed to retain my love for books, the mode of expression through writing was lost amidst higher studies and jobs. At times you tried reminding me of my abilities as a writer but I always laughed it off on the pretext of barely having any time for pursuing hobbies.
I had always been a Papa’s girl. I looked up to him as my role model. But I never realized how you had much of my existence was occupied by you and your love until that fateful night of 2011.
When you were admitted into the hospital on 12th Nov, none of us even had the slightest premonition of losing you to pancreatitis the very next morning. I was so numbed by your death that I started living in denial for months. I hated going to work and cooked up excuses to sit at home, staring at the vacuum. But I had to stay strong for Baba as I couldn’t bear to see him crumble. So I put up a brave face on the outside and carried on with the emptiness in my heart for few more months.
Suddenly the floodgates crashed one fine day. I don’t remember how many nights I spent stifling sobs into my pillow. When the pain became unbearable, I decided to let it go. You had taught me that the best way of dealing with pain and rejection was to keep venting it out on paper. I had done it every single time I faced dejection. I started writing a diary.
I have kept those diaries only to myself. When I read them now, I realize that I was bordering on depression during those months. Hadn’t I had a husband who stayed extremely supportive and non-judgemental during that phase and a channel to let out my pain through my pen, I doubt if I could even cope up with your loss.
I changed jobs and I switched cities but a part of my heart and life always stayed desolate without you.
And then life took a different turn. Your grandson was born in September 2015. It wasn’t until he came into my life that I realized the difficulty of being a motherless new mum. After some months, I realized that I didn’t want to miss a moment of him growing up and decided to quit the corporate world. We moved back home to Kolkata.
With time, the restlessness in me grew about venturing out on my own. By then, I had been writing quite regularly about my experience as a new mother and on a lot of general issues but there was no solid plan in place. Suddenly I remembered this line from the movie Cinderella – “No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.”
As a tribute to your faith in my abilities to weave magic through words, I launched my blog on the toddler’s second birthday. It was time to follow my heart and give words a permanent place in my life and on the virtual platform. Just like this girl on a horse looking at a faraway distance, I have embarked on a new journey with a vision to make my mark as a writer. I know you are going to be my guiding light in this journey of self-discovery.
Every single post that I have written till date or the e-book that I have published last month has been because of you. And I don’t think it is going to be any different in the future.
I hope I could bring a smile and make you proud even though I wish I could say all this to you in person. Because the biggest truth is that the family portrait will forever stay incomplete in your absence.
This post is the sixth entry to the Write Tribe festival of words (24-30 Jun 2018) #write bravely. You can read the first five posts here