My father passed away in the Christmas Eve. The priest, gazing far away into the heart of heaven, said with a smirk, ‘It’s good, … a very auspicious day’ and his silence afterwards was probably meant to say many things. I have the habit of wondering at statements like this and could not feel the deep meaning which his rhetorical silence probably intended to have on me. What does it mean ‘good’ here? Is it good to die in a day when a divine person is born? Or is it a good day to do anything, even dying? When I think of this I can’t help the image of a train entering the Howrah station which brings the Buddha to Kolkata and me leaving for good from a parallel platform to go to Shantiniketan, or wherever else. But that’s the way my mind works and it might not be the right way – as I’m often made to believe. Now, whenever someone asks me about my family – and these are very normal question in the place I live – I say, ‘he passed away’, and soon after I add, as if to make the person who gets the tragic news a kind of relief, ‘in the Christmas Eve’. Then people react – well, they feel like saying something whatsoever. They show bleakness or they feel sad and I immediately add, ‘It’s good, a very auspicious day’, though I don’t know what that means and I cannot question truths of that realm with my small understanding. After that I wonder why I said it and I’m amazed at my capacity of collecting stereotypes from here and there.
I only wish that I would remember to choose the proper day to dye, when a divine or semi-divine or even a normal great human being was born.
But this is not about dying at all. It is not about cats either although I distinctly remember when my brother, a great lover of animals as he is, brought home a cat he found on the stair case of our building. He knew that father does not agree with his desire of having pets in our flat – for hygienic reasons we were told - but Gabi, my brother, thought that his cat would go invisible. At that time his room was getting painted and his ‘invisible’ fluffy-tailed kitten stepped on lime leaving thus visible paw-prints all over the house. At father’s question about the origin of these paws we all – mother always tried to make things easier for us – faked a quite genuine amazement. You can easily now imagine the mongrel cat returned to its living in the stair case and my brother getting angry at the god he prayed for the invisibility of his too visible cat. That is actually what happened. Gabi later brought a snail that could be allowed since he could keep it in a box without having to cross the whole house and let itself be seen by my father. When the snail disappeared – I don’t remember how – he got an aquarium and then a frail valetudinarian squirrel – that died in 3 days breaking thus Gabi’s heart that made him fast for two days, without any water even – and then a rabbit came. The rabbit tragically ended in the oven sprinkled with white wine and lots of potatoes around it one time when Gabi came to pick me up from my university. That made him probably decide – I say probably for we never discussed the problem since I guess it would upset him more – not to keep pets anymore unless he would have his own house. That’s how he now got Macs – a German Shepard – his second son, as he and his family consider him. Now, whenever I call Gabi, after I speak to him his son and wife, at the very end Gabi passes the receiver to his Macs who barks two three times at Gabi’s encouraging attempts to improve his communicative skills. Macs’ skills though did not improve much from the first time I ‘spoke’ to him – or maybe I’m not able to get the improvement, which could also be very much possible, but one thing I’m sure of - Gabi will never give up trying his best.
There is rather a common belief that we leave behind us the past while facing the future. There are people though who believe that their past is what is faced for it can be seen while the future, as unknown, is what they keep behind. For them heading towards future would be like walking behind – as walking between ‘now me’ and ‘a myself’ that I did not yet come to know, keeping watching ‘a me’ that died with every past day.
Well, just to bring my mind back to what I actually want to say, this is about nothing at all.