Sunday, 16 August 2015


It says a great deal about the importance of beginnings and endings that so much significance is attached to the details under which these beginnings and endings occur. Birth and death, wedding days and signing-divorce-papers days, even enrolling in school/college/university and getting a piece of paper to mark the end of that educational chapter.
Without beginnings and/or endings, our view of the world is shapeless, formless, with no clearly signposted cut-off points to separate one state of mind from the other.

My beginning has always been a moot point amongst my family. Whilst my eldest brother swears by everything holy that he remembers the day I was born being August 6th, my father, who really ought to know, says I was born on August 8th. A few years ago, I unearthed my crumpled Indian birth certificate hoping to put an end to the dispute, but the biro scribble made matters worse; It read: August 7.

I resolved to give up on searching for an exact date which made no real difference to who I was. The important thing is that I made it. Besides, contested though it may be, I wasn’t prepared to relinquish an enviable and celestially favourable birthday such as mine: 8-8-88.

Perhaps 8 wasn't a particularly lucky number. Eight days after my ninth birthday, my mother passed away.

My mind fogs whenever I recall the days that followed. Everything seemed to happen very quickly, and I didn’t have a chance to establish, with any degree of certainty, how she died. All I knew was that an ambulance had been called, and that she had died of respiratory problems. I wasn’t told whether she was pronounced dead at home or in hospital.

Eighteen years later, I still don’t know.

My siblings and I remember her all the time, but hardly ever bring up the timeline of that day. Despite the countless questions swirling in our heads, we don’t broach the subject for a number of reasons. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I suspect my siblings share my view on this.

We do not ask because we have no language to articulate the unimaginable loss we continue to feel. We do not ask because we are scared of being plunged into a whirlwind of renewed mourning.

I do not ask because I don’t want to see my siblings’ adult faces, now steadfast and resilient, overtaken by familiar expressions of fear and abandonment.

Her eighteenth anniversary will be a chance to look into myself and grieve once more. My arrival to this life and my mother’s departure from it are both events that will, for a while at least, be veiled with ambiguity.. A veil I’m adamant on lifting so I can offer my repressed inner child the chance to understand why and how he was orphaned.

The gaps in my mind must be filled, even if those in my heart are not.

The title is numerical as this is the seventh entry in a series of daily writings I began a week ago. The plan is to write and publish something everyday, no matter how big or small the piece of writing is. Previous entries are on my Tumblr account, and I may publish them here, too.


zahra leith said...

Its beautiful.. I must say.
And despite of what a authur feels during writing. I know u so well that I can say, your tears dropped mine. I know I haven't lived with her as much as you and your siblings have. But I do sometimes feel the same loose of an orphan. She's my grandmother and my mum. My imagination friend. I will always love her and miss her. And may Allah bless her soul.

جميل said...

تويتر شعر
انستقرام ضحك
انستقرام شيلات