Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Crossword No. 10790

Have I told you how much I love solving The Hindu’s crossword? Every morning. Unfailingly. Even if I miss a day’s puzzle, I faithfully pull it out the next day to solve it! The only grouse I have is its placement in the paper - generally above the obituaries section. Why would you want to begin your day by looking at obituaries?

On the 4th of June, I opened the paper very hesitantly. I pensively turned to the crossword page. But today was not for the crossword, it was to look at an obituary – that of my maternal grandmother’s.

There she was. A much healthier picture of her smiled at me from the paper. Very unlike the scrawny frame she had been reduced to in the recent past. I had almost forgotten what she looked like in better times. Despite her age and her atrophied body, she did well to fight a form systemic scleroderma. A condition that is easy to mis-diagnose and also a condition that has no complete cure.

I would have liked to spend my last few moments with her by sitting next to her, holding her hands or just looking at her, in silence. But that was not to be. In our culture, the most precious moments of one’s life are generally dictated by people who do not matter. What an irony! It could be a wedding, a birth, a first birthday, the final rites, or even breastfeeding for heaven’s sake! A sea of people invaded the house. Along with paying their respects, also very generously dropped unnecessary advice and rendered unwanted help, over-complicating the already complex set of rituals.  Isn't it just so incongruous in the larger scheme of things?

She passed away on the same day that I heard about a tech guru’s death after a valiant fight against cancer and a frivolous suicide. I mean, how ironical can life get? There are people who will do anything to hang on to one hidden ember of life, and then there are those others… Damn! Frustrating, to say the least.

Anyway, crossword no. 10790 will remain unsolved. Forever. 

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