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 upon 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:
calling you nikke bava with pride at having two like you
finding comfort in watching Kader Khan movies because to me he looked just like you
thinking 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 rise from the pool they once drowned in
The last time we met was your last effort 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… and they all end at that dream: you place your hand on my head – a fatherly gesture to say ‘my blessings are always with you’.
I know how important it was for you, a poor migrant worker, to see your children educated and I know how disappointed you felt. 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 I’m called out as, recognised as, pointed to as your granddaughter.
And now, something about a migrant’s experience binds us together harder. I dream your dreams and my veins carry your sadness.
So, memories of you are like waves kissing the shoreline under an orange sun. Trinkets, shells, and ocean life hidden within.
And these days are like the first glow after sunrise, the first caress of the spring breeze.