Friday, 10 May 2013

Death Of A Neighbour

Today my neighbour died
An octogenarian
Who had more than often
Given us to believe
That he was no more
He left behind two daughters
One half witted
The other outwitted by grief
Vacuous and subdued
It was early morning
When I heard her mournful cry
And then closing of a door with a loud bang
The maid came and asked me,
"Have you heard the news Didi?"
I asked flatly, "Which one is it?
The father or the dumb daughter?"
The one who kept wishing us Good Day
Was surviving on dialysis...
My maid shook her head and clucked
About the ephemerality of life
And the day continued as it is...
In the evening after returning from office
I mustered all my will to pay a visit
Rather clumsy on such ocassions
I seldom know what to say in consolation
They welcomed me - the aged relatives
Aunts and Uncles, Daughter-in-laws
And the rest
"Sardarji did not give us an opportunity
To take care of him; he died in sleep
Perhaps it was for the best"
I recalled how my father had died
of his third heart attack...
Light years it took me to speak of him
And the pain he had suffered
Without a tremor in my voice
At last the bruised past was won over
To my surprise...
The rites would be in the Gurdwara
Time not yet fixed
I bade a goodbye rather abrupt
They said there is a ritual of picking flowers!!!
Not the ones which grow in abundance in the park adjacent
But the resids of life which refuse to mingle with the ashes
As I mumbled a few words of condolence - routine stuff y' know
And walked out' the door
The only words that were left behind were
"... to pick the flowers"
And from the room next to the hall
Floated odd little moaning sounds
Of an orpahned,empty-headed girl
Eerie laments of a loss least understood
But felt deep somewhere inside

आज मेरे पड़ोसी  की मौत हो गयी
सत्तासी साल का बूढ़ा
जो कई  साल अतिरिक्त जी गया धोके से

पीछे  छोड़  गया दो अधेड़ उम्र की बेटियां
एक दिमाग़ी तौर  पे कमज़ोर
और दूसरी जिसे ज़िन्दगी ने  कमज़ोर कर दिया था
सूनी पथराई  सी आँखे और सहमे से लब्ज़

सुबह सवेरे सुनी थी करुण आर्तनाद
फिर एक दरवाज़ा बंद हुआ था बड़े ज़ोरों से

कामवाली ने आके पूछा , "दीदी तुमने ख़बर सुनी?"
मैंने बेझिझक जवाब में कहा , " कौन गया ? बेटी या बाप?"
वोह जो दिन में सौ दफ़ा  "सत  श्री अकाल" का रट लगाती थी
डायलिसिस पे जी रही थी बेचारी ....

उसने अफ़सोस जताकर कहा, "दीदी,  समय का कोई भरोसा नहीं
यह बात तुम मानती तो होगी?"

और बिना कुछ कहे  दिन यूँ ही गुज़र गया

शाम को ऑफिस  से लौटते वक़्त बड़ी  हिम्मत जुटाई
और उनके फ्लैट की कालिंग बेल बजाई
ऐसे मौकों पर क्या कहें ?
वही दो चार शब्द अर्थहीन

बड़े  बुज़ुर्ग बैठे थे कई
जीजा, भाभी , बहन बहनोई,
और कुछ खाली कुर्सियां

"सरदारजी ने मौका नहीं दिया हमें सेवा करने का
नींद ही में चल बसे
शायद यही फरमान था ऊपरवाले का …"

मुझे याद आ गया वोह काली रात
जब पिताजी को आया था हार्ट अटैक
अरसा लग गया था वोह हादसा भूलते
उस ग़म को बांछते
आज ज़बान जली नहीं
ज़ख्म  थक गए आखिर
ज़िन्दगी  से जूझते 

"गुरूद्वारे में पाठ रखी है
समय तै नहीं हो पाया"
उन्होंने  बताया
कुछ फूल चुनने की बात चली
वोह नहीं जो साथ के पार्क में
गुंचे खिले है अपनी ताकीद से
ये वोह हैं जो राख न हो सके
आग के सांचे में

"चाय तो पियो"
"नहीं"  मैंने कहा
दरवाज़े तक आते आते
"कुछ ज़रुरत हो तो बताना"
उसने सर हिलाया

दबी-दबी सिसकियों
साथ के कमरे से
हवा में तैरती रही
दर्द नासमझ सा

मैं आहट क़दमों के छोड आई
सीढियों पे

और वे फूल चुनने की  बात करते रहें
देर तक ...


  1. how odd things turn, when death makes visits, for those who remains..

    You have captured them well

  2. आसपास की हर मृत्यू में हमारी अपनी यादों के घाव खुल जाते हैं, प्रियजनों को खोने का दुख ताज़ा हो जाता है.

    शायद बस अपनी ही मृत्यू का दुख नहीं होता? :)

    1. सच है सुनीलजी ...दुःख सहजने के लिए जिंदा रहना बहुत ज़रूरी है

  3. Very touching.......beautifully composed Geeta :)

    1. Dear Dear Bushra! How did I miss your comment...Thanks a ton for being here and the note of appreciation. I am much indebted to you and all.

  4. I love your command over your words... The way they twist and the intellectual way of using them. You had me hooked. Respect. :)

    1. Thanks Fizz. I just wrote what I felt and what overwhelmed me at that point of time

  5. ur composition knocked the door
    yet again.. and reminded.. even I got to go..
    and when I leave ..
    will i be a name remembered or
    just dead neighbour next door ..

    thanks for those lines which reminded me ..immortal is just the deed.

    1. So should we too remember Nitesh...
      I like there what you said
      Immortal is just the dead

      And it rhymes too...:)

  6. When we hear of death a tainted feeling arouses within us, making us remember our close ones who are no more with us ... the feeling saddens us but makes us remember that its a part of life ... you have beautifully made us feel that !

    1. A tainted feeling
      Which paints pain
      In the canvas of the heart
      Otherwise vacant
      Of all feelings
      Except a rush of adrenaline
      A hurry to scurry past
      Moments not so well defined
      In an urge to survive
      The turbulences without

    2. gosh ... you made a poem from my comment ! hats off ! touched my heart !

  7. Call of death can happen at any time; no one can predict it.Lucky are those who departs without pain.Nice poetry with amazing weave of words.

    1. Your comment appears thrice on my post. And each time I cannot help but agree with you. Hope we depart as peacefully

  8. Death is unpredictable. Lucky are those who departs without pains. Nice poetry with amazing weave of words.

  9. I liked the Hindi version a lot. I read and went numb for a moment.After becoming normal, "Death is a Universal truth" is all I muttered. Losing someone close is the biggest pain ever. But the passage of time alleviates this pain. And this cycle is what we call Life. Love your writing! Loved your post.

    1. I am glad you liked my baby steps into Hindi writing. Yes, death is so painful and the closer they are, more it is. Time does heal but the process is prolonged. And yes life goes on. Thank you very much for your words of appreciation

  10. Both English and Hindi versions hit equally hard in their different ways and I don't know which one has left a deeper gash.

    "He left behind two daughters
    One half witted
    The other outwitted by grief"


    "And from the room next to the hall
    Floated odd little moaning sounds
    Of an orpahned,empty-headed girl
    Eerie laments of a loss least understood
    But felt deep somewhere inside"

    You left me with no doubt as to whose grief is the deepest here.

    1. I will not hesitate to say that I was waiting for your comment and reaction. And again, as I thought, you've absorbed the impact unmistakably. The wordless grieves the most.

      Thanks for understanding me so well...

  11. Death is unpredictable. Lucky are those who depart the world without pain. Nice write with amazing weave of words.

  12. Loved both but the hindi one was awesome. Wish I could write in Hindi like that someday

  13. Powerful imagery beautifully woven

  14. I came here via Maliny's blog.
    Tragedy so near touches us deep & stirs up our own suppressed grief.I could empathize with the family somehow through your post.

    1. Thanks for your appreciation and sympathy.

  15. Can't guess whether the incident is true or not but the feelings expressed are able to travel to the bottom of the heart of any reader.


    Jitendra Mathur

  16. दिल को छू गई यह पोस्ट हालांकि मैं यह अनुमान नहीं लगा सकता कि यह सच है या कल्पना. यूं ही लिखती रहिए बस.


    जितेन्द्र माथुर

    1. Glad to know that you are back Mathur Sahab. This is a true incident.

  17. and death both leave us a bit bewildered