Posts Tagged ‘death’

With you, without you..

May 1, 2018

[Following is a translation of a letter from a collection of letters “तुझ्यासह आणि तुझ्याविना” by Dr. A. H. Salunkhe.  A well-known figure in Maharashtra for his scholarship of Sanskrit and his work in the Bahujan Movement, Dr. Salunkhe is an acclaimed author of many scholarly books.  This collection is one rare book where he wrote about his personal life, his love for his wife, after she passed away of cancer.

To me, this book is even more special.  It was a book I had gifted to my girlfriend, who later went on to become my wife, on 14th April 2007, first anniversary of me expressing my love for her.  Also, having personally met Dr. Salunkhe, I know what a kind-hearted person he is, and bearing a loss of this magnitude must have been very painful for him.  I wish him immense strength to bear with this pain. I also wish him a long, healthy life so that we can get more of his guidance.]

My copy of तुझ्यासह आणि तुझ्याविना

Madhushree,

My craze for books was ever since I was a kid. I know, in the early days of our marriage, because I was crazy for books, you had to put in a lot of planning to buy household things. Many a times, you would create something useful from scrap, but you never came against my buying books.

You wouldn’t forget the story of our wedding ring. Indeed, as a wedding ring, I should have kept it close to my heart all my life. But I couldn’t stay attached to it emotionally. It was not even a month since our marriage that I sold it and reached International book store at Pune Deccan Gymkhana. From that money, I bought Siddhant Kaumudi on Panini’s grammar, Brahmasutra Shankar Bhashya, Nirukt by Yaskacharya, Rigved Samhita, Naishadheyacharit, Shishupalvadh, Raghuvansh, Dey and Dasgupta’s History of Classical Sanskrit Literature, and many such books from there and the stores nearby. In fact, I would have sold even your ring, but it was spared more than once because of your emotional connect to it. I understand selling the wedding ring within a month of wedding must have been real painful for you.

Many a times, I think I shouldn’t have done that. I should have cared for your feelings. But, Shree, what else could I do? I was trying to complete my M.A. in Sanskrit. As an external student, it wasn’t possible to access college libraries. There were no other libraries available. I had no option but to buy those books, and I saw no other way to buy them. It’s not that it wasn’t painful for me to sell the ring. Now that you aren’t here, with that ring in my finger, I could have imagined your presence, could have felt your touch. The pain of selling that ring, something that I couldn’t feel so much while you were alive, feels so much now behind you. But what can I do now but to ask for forgiveness?

But I tell you – I always feel grateful for that ring. Whatever Sanskrit I could learn in my future life, its base was formed on the books that I bought from selling it. If I couldn’t get those books at that time, perhaps I couldn’t even be an MA in Sanskrit; let alone all the achievements in the future. Whatever I am today, it is out of many such times when I crumpled and crushed your feelings. How can I forget this gift of yours? How much restrain you would have used? In that tender age, how could you bear with this craze of mine? Or it was that you were in love with this craze itself? That it was this craziness that kept you in love with me?

Even in the later days, you would tell many times to my friends, “my husband is not married to me, but to these books.” Apparently, it seemed like a complaint against me, but more often it was about immense pride and happiness. If there was any regret, it was very little. You never read any of my books in continuity, but you would say with pride, “I haven’t read any of his books, but I can talk about the contents of any of them.” It was true. You never needed to leave your chores and read them. It was only a printed form of whatever was discussed in the household, and it was natural that you never felt the need to read them.

But one of your complaints really hit me in the heart. It made me feel like a criminal in my own eyes. It is about this incident happened in the last 8-10 months of your life. I was looking for some reference; I was trying to explain something with it. You were sitting nearby. You needed something; you asked for it. I didn’t hear you. It’s not that your voice was low. I was so engaged in finding that reference, I didn’t hear what you said; like your voice didn’t fall on my ears. Your words lost into thin air. I don’t know what you might have felt that time, but it got you, and you said irritated, “my husband can’t think of anything but books!” This went straight to my heart like an arrow. I came out my trance, left books, pen, paper everything and came to you, and gave whatever you wanted. You became calm soon. In the illness of about 18 months, it was only two-three times that you lost your cool; it was one of those incidents. Perhaps that day you could no longer bear the pain; perhaps you could have strongly felt that I should come to you, talk to you, calm you, share your pain. Perhaps you felt hurt seeing me not even listening to you and it brought up that outburst. Of course, you were in all your rights and your anger was reasonable. But, Shree, what could I do? Mine was a hunger of a person starving from a hundred generations. From there, came this devouring, this harshness of ignoring you.

You do know about my fully immersing in my reading and writing. At home or at some public place, in trains or in bus, wherever I think of something of note, I write it down then and there; it’s what I always do. Even while I rode scooter, if there was something to note, I would stop the scooter, note it and then go ahead. I have been doing this for long. I’m always worried lest I forget and lose that point later. At times, if I forgot to note something and then it got lost, I could do nothing, but to regret that I didn’t note it. If the noted chit gets misplaced and lost, it pains a lot, like I have been robbed of something valuable. Once I was thinking of something while in bus, Hyderabad to Nanded, 7-8 hours continuously. What is the exact nature of ‘self’; a lot of thoughts were pouring like heavy rains that day. I was noting the whole thing in a diary. Later some day, I was at an STD booth in Dhule and lost the diary there. I could never remember those same points again and I lost them forever.

I can’t tell where some thought would occur to me. For this reason, I always take care to keep paper, pen with me. You know that. Even while sleeping, I keep paper, pen under my pillow. If I had to write something, I would pull out my hand under your head without breaking your sleep and note down the points. I have done this for years. Many such points that I wrote after taking my hand under your head are scattered across many of my books. These points occur even today. Even now, I keep paper, pen under my pillow. But now I don’t have to take out my hand under your head. I don’t have to worry about breaking your sleep. Everything else is the same, only you are not here. You are not; neither to dote on my craziness, nor to complain about it. If you had stayed, not only to make playful complaints against me, but even to make serious complaints, or to make harsh criticism, or to protest against me, or even to condemn me, my heart would have been filled with flowers of joy. I would have drenched myself in the showers of happiness. But you didn’t.

[Original letter titled as शंभर पिढ्या उपाशी असलेल्या माणसाची भूक in the collection].

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Lose. How else would you live?

February 23, 2016

“Say I am sad.”
“Said.”
“Did it help any?”
“Don’t know..”

He knew nothing of it.  He was lost.  He was not dead.  He survived.  He was still surviving.  He existed; he was not present.

“Thoughtcrime is death,” he muttered.  He needed not worry.  If thoughtcrime were real death, he would be dead already.  But he was alive.  At least, he existed.  He wished he did not.

Being unpersonned.” The word struck to him as something.  He wished he be unpersponned.  “Is that even a word?

Surrender.

And who will lose? You? No, you won’t.  An occasional evening of feeling down is not losing.  Neither will I; how does an unperson lose?

Losing is not not-being somewhere.  You keep on living afterwards. That’s what it is.