Memories of you are like waves leaving the shoreline. Cracked sand. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life left behind.
And these days are like out-of-season rain, I think of you but the cracks only half-fill. My heart breaks again. The 12 years since you left no different to the 12 years before.
How do you console yourself after realising you’ve lost something you never knew was yours?
Memories of you are like the first caress of a Himalayan-breeze after a too-long August
Memories of you greet me like a familiar stranger at the door, weakened by the journey but not forgotten
Memories of you:
I used to call you nikke bava with pride at having two like you
I found comfort in watching Kader Khan movies because to me he looked just like you
I used to think how void your bedroom was, knowing the masjid was preferred by you
I must have, at some point, sat in your lap or spoken to you or played with you but those memories refuse to surface from the pool they drowned in
The last time I saw you alive you tried to make amends but I was in awe, too shy and too young to know what to say
I think of you in the hospital, your chest bare and mine ripping to shreds.
I sit by your grave and sift through not-enough memories, half-forgotten memories, wishful-imagined memories… They all end with my dream of you placing your hand on my head – your blessings are always with me.
I know how important it was for you, a poor migrant worker, to see your children educated and I know how they disappointed you. I wish you could have seen your eldest granddaughter graduate- not once, not twice, but three times. If you had known your dream meant something to someone, maybe your heart would’ve hurt a little less and endured a little more.
I am forever tied to you,
your blood is mine,
my eyes from yours,
my pehchaan is in you: to this day they recognise me as your granddaughter.
And now, something about a migrant’s experience binds us together harder. I dream your dreams, I feel your sadness.
Memories of you are like waves kissing the shoreline under an orange sun. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life hidden within.