Death is a giftYou can't expect anything else from silence, like termites—they are invisible but deadly.
It was only when I was packing my bags to go home that I saw my colleagues carrying boxes of mithai. Father’s Day, it's tomorrow—I remembered. A cloud of guilt fell over my head and then fell to my shoulders. I had forgotten, even though my mother had reminded me just in the morning before I left home.
I tried to come up with quick gift ideas or anything I can quickly plan. But I resigned—quickly. If nothing, I thought I’d repeat Tyrion Lannister’s great words, “I am the gift.”
And I was a gift, they tell me. My father says that during the few days my mother was admitted to the maternity hospital in Thapathali, after my delivery, they would stand on one of the hospital balconies facing Lalitpur and point to a small plot they had managed to buy on the other side of the river by combining both of their meagre savings. With a three-year-old son, a small piece of land and now a small baby on their hands, I was part of their vision.
My parents ended up selling that piece of land, they never built their dream house there. Life was such—full of aspirations yet inherently unpredictable. I wonder what aspirations they had for me when they bid me farewell when I was all dolled up in a bright red bridal saree—and how they felt when I moved back in with them a mere six months later.
It was around this time of year I came home from my ex-husband’s place for Father’s Day and never left. It was a fall morning two years ago—when I knew death was looming, death of a promise.
“Do you think the situation will change?” my therapist asked. I shook my head even before she finished her question. It was a clear “no”.
“Not all people in your life have to be pleasant, you know,” she said. I gave an awkward smile. I was telling her—I know. My mother had said the same thing to me the day before.
It is not an exception to my case, I have heard my friends rant about how they dislike what their siblings do and then express affection for them in the same breath.
Whoever has siblings knows that it transcends any form and formula that adheres to any relationship. You fight one moment and have a laugh together with the next one. There are no boundaries around rivalry or love.
This is why I feel my father always struggled all his life too—because there is no end to sour sibling relationships. If you're looking for closure, you're looking in the wrong place. There is no death—and this is probably the most painful gift in life.
I had never thought I’d inherit that gift from him. But life is such—full of possibilities yet inherently unpredictable.
This year, when I lit the sukunda and offered him my respect with sagah and dhau, I could read in the ever-deepening lines on his forehead that he has resigned—from trying to take away that gift I’ve now so tightly held to my chest. He knew I wasn’t delaying pushing it out from the purgatory it has now remained for a year. He was clearly disappointed that I was surrendering by choice.
But one thing I’ve learned from lost friendships and broken relationships is some things are just meant to die. That is the only way of reconciling with them, that is where their peace lies. You can't expect anything else from silence, like termites—they are invisible but deadly.
My journey from the Father’s Day two years back to now has been strenuous because it was one I had to take within myself. I had to watch as one situation slowly but painfully strangled a piece of me—always second-guessing my choices based on one failed decision.
But now I stand without any emotional burden or regret, ready to mourn the death of yet another close bond, the closest, in fact. I will not let it rot between life and death—I have very fond memories I want to hold on to before they are also muddled in ongoing aggression.
And therefore, death it is—an ode to my parents’ vision, of which both I and my sibling were once a part of, and a gift to my father. A gift he couldn’t give to himself—I give it to me. Unapologetically but very humbly.