How can watching something painful actually help someone in pain?

I had no idea what to expect from Neerja – but it turned out to be a cathartic experience. I identified with the mother and wanted to cry – aloud, even before anything began. The way Shabana Azmi wakes the daughter up, hating to wake her when she seemed to so need that sleep; then gladly letting her sleep just a little longer, snuggling up beside her, watching her asleep, her head on the pillow. I wanted the moments to last forever.

Shabana Azmi seemed to have experienced the scene, or the love – or else she is just a fantastic actor. Reminded me of another similar scene in Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd. where she has lost her family in an accident and here too she was equally relatable.

Even the mundane – the daughter teasing the mother for the way she dances, the clowning and the camaraderie. The everyday life I was so complacently content with and expected to last a lifetime. I cried at the unfairness of it all, but along with sadness and exhaustion I also felt a lightness.

I could hear other viewers crying too. What were their thoughts? How would I have found this movie if it was not seeing myself on the screen?

The family learns about the hijack and while they wait for information, It was us outside the ICU again, reassuring ourselves, insistently, that all would be well. The desperate hope that buying a yellow outfit could influence what they would soon learn… I wanted to reach out and hold their hands – tell them I understood.

The way the mother looks afterwards. Stunned. Dishevelled. The little girls walking to school. A photo album on her lap. It was like meeting a mother in our Child Loss support group. I wish. .. really wish I could meet this mother. 

I shared all of this on our group – In Our Hearts Forever and realised not everybody felt the same way. My husband too refused to watch this movie. Affirms what I have said earlier – the only person who can decide what works for them is the person experiencing the loss. 

The Voice.
There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you – just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.

Related Posts:

Talaash: Lakh duniya kahe

In our hearts forever.

Why I liked ‘Rabbit Hole’.

“Grieving parents behave in a different manner. ”

The right way to grieve.

When we surprise ourselves.



To love and to be loved by Gabbar Singh…

I wish I could believe in life after death. And in heaven and hell. And I wish I could believe that they are together again.

The most dog-hearted dog I knew – filled with unimaginable amounts of enthusiastic loving lay in the entrance to my bedroom yesterday morning… maybe waiting for me.

It had been a busy morning. Three months ago I had created ‘In our hearts forever’ – the grief support group I have mentioned earlier. We were to have our second meeting at my place. I had been down with cold and congestion and was glad to be feeling well enough to host this second meeting.

I remember noticing Gabbar Singh Proton (his full name) holding his leash in his mouth – a delighted smile on his face, because – it was yet another awesome morning – he was being taken for a walk. He was happy. I am glad I remember this.

Ordinary activities of an ordinary morning have become a source of comfort. When he got back from his walk, I had given him omelette and boiled rice mashed together. He ate a little, dropped a lot (as usual) and then decided to finish Mutt‘s share too (Mutt had rejected it and demanded a slice of brownie). I remember laughing and talking to him and telling him how adorable he was. He was used to being loved. He was happy. This brings comfort too.

Then I had got a call and remained stuck on the phone and in the kitchen, sending sunny pictures of cooking activity… of sandwiches, gajar halwa, brownies and ginger chai, to the husband.

I remember sometime around 8 am, the help had called to say “Gabbar Singh is not getting up, I have to clean under his mattress.” This was usual. The dogs didn’t like to be disturbed – specially when it was cold. On other days, I got him to sit in another, sunnier part of the house, but since I was busy, I asked her to let him be, to clean around him. Had I not been so busy, would I have seen some signs of what was to follow?

Around nine I turned towards my room and saw him on the floor. Nothing unusual in that, and yet something must have seemed odd. I went closer – his tongue was hanging out…  I placed my hand on his head and asked, “Are you okay baby?” And he hiccupped and I now realise, he died. Just like that. I didn’t realise it then and called out to Brat Two and loosened his jacket thinking the hiccup was an indication that he was uncomfortable… We called the Vet. It seemed impossible that he could die so suddenly. He had been fine. Old yes, but not ill.

The Vet said this was not common but did happen sometimes, yes it could have been a heart failure, and no, he did not suffer. He was waiting for me to breath his last. I feel honored. Sad, very sad, also shocked by the suddenness of it… but also glad that it all happened the way it did. Glad he was not hospitalised. Glad he died quickly. Glad I got to see him go. Glad my hand was on his forehead.

Related Posts:

the silliness of loving

Same old story and misunderstood cats.

In Mumbai it seems life is easier…

A Dog’s Vocabulary

Under the influence of the winter sun in Dilli Ki Sardi.