Seize The Day

It’s about 930PM
Around the same time
My mother calls up her sister
Everyday, without fail
To tell her about her day
And to know about hers.
an ancient habit
ironclad over a span of

But today my mother
Just looks at her phone and
Fiddles with it
And then she opens her messages
To go through the old conversations
And pictures that my maa-si had shared
Of food and deities and weddings
and about the precautions one should take
to avoid Covid-
social distancing and all, you see.
Followed by a string of “good morning” messages
with little pearls of wisdom affixed to them,
that surprising do not seem so lame anymore
especially now,
that she’s gone.
“seize the day”
the last one reads.

Everyone has been quietly
doing their chores
as we don’t go to anyone’s homes anymore.
even if they are loved ones
or if it’s the last good bye.
So, Everyone has been quietly
doing their chores
between office calls and scrubbing floors
Adamant to put on a brave face
That we are not alone.
That’s why it’s called a pandemic
Which has spiralled out of control.
But no.
That’s not helping right now.
Yes, we know a child died
And a teenager
And his uncle
And her aunt
And their sister.
Yes we know
The crematoriums are
on fire non-stop.
But today we don’t care
We are..numb till our bones
with a despondency
hard to shake off

and the eyes
are tired
yet sleepless
and vacant
from the things that they have seen
that can’t be unseen

oh hey, here’s an idea for the
which might help with the scarcity of
how about we build a wall?
from the pile of bodies
rotting outside the hospitals and graveyards
it would be high and thick enough
to ward off the virus.
Table for discussion?

But no, we haven’t cried yet
for we don’t know
How to feel anymore.
Are we scared
or sad
or anxious
Or angry
-a state of mindless pensiveness.
A melancholy so present
That it has become the being itself;
a squiggle
Across a page with no end or beginning.
It’s hard to say.

And then the phone rings
Interrupting our reverie
And a chill goes down my spine,
and i wonder-
What if it’s another death news?
but no, it’s just another helpless cry for a
or was it oxygen or a ventilator
– I seriously cannot keep a count anymore.

Written in the loving memory of my maasi. I know she’s in a better place now.