the first sorrow wept without her

The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her. How true are these words. Twenty one years ago I had a mother. Twenty one years ago I was still a child. You wonder what I mean. Well simply that I had a place to run to when I was hurt, confused, lost, anguished, distressed, angry or just simply lonely. I just had to sit at her feet and put my head on her lap and every problem vanished. She was there to wipe my first tear, break my first fall, assuage my first failure, soothe my first heartbreak. Even when hundreds and thousands miles separated us, I felt her presence. It is true that she shared all my sorrows and it was her lap I gravitated to each and every time life dealt me a blow. I do not truly know if she was there for every moment of joy, but every sorrow was wept with her. The first one I had to face alone was her demise, no wonder I am still not truly healed.

Those who say that your true entry into adulthood happens when you become an orphan are right. That is when you become truly bereft of protection. The child in you vanishes and you are suddenly responsible for every deed and action. There is no one to take they blows for you, you stand terribly alone.

Since she left, I have missed Kamala each and every day but never more than when faced with a problem or a challenge. Today I miss her big time as I see my inadequacy in finding a befitting end to my swansong. Were she here she would have steered me in the right direction and led me out of the dark tunnel I find myself in. Saying that I miss her is stating the obvious. Leaning to live without her has been one of the hardest things I have had to do. Each time I think I am healed an anodyne incident brings me back to earth and to the realisation that I can never stop missing her. It can be a whiff of the redolent fragrance of the jasmine she planted or the flavour of one of her favourite meal and in a perfect example of Proustian involuntary memory I find myself missing her till it hurts.

Today she would have been 94. On this day I share once again the wonderful portrait made by my friend Abhi. Happy birthday Kamala, you were truly unique.