The morning was spent on the phone with another Mum preparing herself for her son’s upcoming inquest.
The afternoon was spent watching 3 short documentary films at the BBC Arabic festival. One of the films was co-directed by one of Saagar’s friends. All 3 films were about the struggles of young men and their ways of dealing with them. Saagar would have loved them. He wouldn’t have required subtitles.
The evening was spent watching moving images of Saagar on the videos that were sent across electronically by one of his friends, over yesterday and today. The headphones on which I heard him play the Djembe solo is a present from another friend of Saagar’s. The eyes and ears made my broken heart overflow with pure love.
The sun shone brightly all day and for longer than normal.
All of the above are gifts from Saagar.
It was a happy day. Everyday is Mother’s day.
Love can’t be fully expressed, described or defined.
Trying to do so only touches the surface.
Love can only be experienced.
Divine love is beyond attributes.
Love for someone just because they are.
Divine love grows with every moment.
It doesn’t break.
Love is self-evident. No proof is required.
Life is an expression of the inexpressible.
Stones and bones;
Snow and frost;
Seeds and beans and polliwogs,
Paths and twigs, assorted kisses,
We all know who Mamma misses.
The helplessness of being alive,
the dark bright pity of being human,
groping in corners and
opening your arms to light.
All of it part of navigating
They would not know
When I was gone,
Just as they could not know sometimes
How heavily I had hovered in a particular room.
I became manifest in whatever way they wanted me to.
There had been a woman haunted.
All of it, the story of my life and death,
Was hers if she chose to tell it,
Even to one person at a time.
I would like to tell you that
It is beautiful here.
That I am and you will one day be,
But this heaven is not about safety,
Just as in its graciousness, it isn’t
About gritty reality.
We have fun.
The dead truly talk to us,
That in the air between the living
Spirits bob and weave and
Laugh with us.
They are the oxygen we breathe.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore.
Underneath this obvious patchwork quilt
Are places like a quite room
Where you can go
and hold someone’s hand and
Not have to say anything.
Give no story
Make no claim.
Where you can live at the edge of your skin
For as long as you wish.
This wide wide heaven
Is about the soft down of new leaves,
Wild roller coaster rides and escaped marbles
That fall and then hang
Then take you somewhere you could never have imagined
In your small-heaven dreams.
-Inspired by The Lovely Bones. Author, Alice Sebold.
-Dedicated to all those innocent people who died traumatically in London yesterday and to their loved ones.
After 3 years of no singing, last week I recorded 3 tracks of devotional music with a friend. I sent across one of them on whatsapp to all my family in India. I got a few ‘wow’s and emojis of an applause and a rose and such. My mum called to say it was nice. Yesterday my 8 years old niece spoke to me about it. She said, ”I didn’t know it was you. Mamma told me. It was like you were singing for God. It made me feel relaxed and sleepy. It was like a lullaby.” That was the most honest and descriptive feedback I had. She shared how it made her feel rather than how good or bad it was.
Judgements come from the head and feelings come from the heart. That the music made her feel a particular way, that she didn’t just hear it but felt it, that she could verbalise it as well as she did was remarkable.
The purity and sweetness of the innocence of childhood is one of the most precious things in this world.
Saagar couldn’t wait to grow up!
“I have opened a door that can never be shut. How will I ever get her to trust me again?”
19 out of 20 people who attempt to end their lives will fail.
These survivors will be at a 37% higher risk of suicide.
Anger, shame, guilt, fear, minimization and avoidance are few of the reactions they evoke.
The taboo associated with the act might make them feel even more isolated. Their families may not know how and where to access support for themselves and their loved one. The ones closest to them may feel drained, stressed, exhausted and let down. The trust between the two might be deeply damaged.
Their relationship might reach an all time low, just when it needs to be solid.
Both need to take responsibility for their own well-being and that of each other.
Here are a few useful resources.
Supporting someone after a suicide attempt:
Advice for those who survived:
For all of us who aren’t sure, it is possible to be Christian/Hindu/etc and gay.
It’s also possible to believe in God and science.
It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.
It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.
It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against,
to be poor and have a rich life,
to not have a job and still have some money.
It is possible to be anti guns and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property,
it’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.
It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.
It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.
It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.
It is possible to be a devout follower of Islam and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.
It is possible to be a patient and a healer at the same time,
To be sane and insane, all at once.
It is possible to be different and the same.
We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like.
Let humanity and love win.
(Inspired by Cynthia Stamm Clark)
Butterflies are Us
Art, healing and unifying us.
Jalebis are the most luscious of Indian sweets . They are made from plain flour, ghee, saffron and sugar – the best possible ingredients. They bring back the sweet memory of home. Lately they featured in a Holywood film, Lion, as a trigger for a deep longing for home for a young displaced man. This longing grows into a desperation and then becomes a source of great suffering. Even though the body moves from one place to another, the heart can stay in one place for lifetimes, clinging on to sights, smells and sounds that mean ‘home’ and ‘love’. The power of the mind to revisit, relive, reconfigure and re-create life from all these stray scraps is tremendous.
This big blockbuster addresses issues of adoption, childhood trauma, migration and much more. The most interesting questions it has raised for me are – What is your narrative? What is the story you tell yourself? Do you ever question it? Are you willing to see how your life might change if you did question it? Are you willing to be proven completely wrong? Would that set you free? Would that empower you to change your direction?
The things we tell ourselves have more power than we know. They make the difference between life and death.
Saagar as Lion 🙂
To a church full of grieving, sobbing, hurting people, Music came with the intent to comfort, thoughtful Words came with a desire to heal. Both tore through scars, new and old, both picked scabs off wounds, new and old, both hurt. Tears flowed freely. Both caressed and soothed, both touched a place deep within.
Music and Words shook hands with Grief and Sorrow, who filled the space, gently nudging them to the back of the room.
Both melted hearts and amalgamated everyone into one. A bereaved mother spoke most lovingly about her son and of her resolve to spend each moment of the rest of her life loving and being loved. A bereaved daughter spoke of her newfound ability to cherish the beautiful memories of her mother with a smile, after more than 6 years of her mother’s sad death. A young man spoke of his struggles with Bipolar Disorder. Everyone listened and felt with all their being.
Once again I watched life play out in front of me from a distance as if on a film screen. What was I doing there? It looked like I completely belonged to this community. It looked like I was happy to be there with so many lovely people. The exchanges were deep and meaningful. The hugs and smiles were more real than real. But, who was this person? Who was she and who am I?
The Aliens – by Charles Bukowski:
you may not believe it
but there are people
who go through life with
they dress well, eat
well, sleep well.
they are contented with
they have moments of
but all in all
they are undisturbed
and often feel
and when they die
it is an easy
death, usually in their
you may not believe
but such people do
but I am not one of
oh no, I am not one
I am not even near
but they are
and I am