Monday, February 2, 2009

The Tch-Tch Killers...F.O! Get Lost!

Someone's tragedy is not a pity-party. But it shocks to see how many people in your close circuit are drooling to be invited!

WHEN I hung up the phone, I was still hanging.
Somersaulting from incredulity to doubt and finally to blankness.
"What will I say?"

I had just got the news of a friend's engagement being called off.
"What will I say to her?"

I had to be beside her at this sad turn of events, just the way I was when we celebrated the anticipated Big-Day. Just the way I was along, when she was happily flooded beneath shopping sprees and trousseau trips.
"But what the heck can I say to make her feel better?"

She was so much looking forward to the big moment finally arriving in her life.
"And what can I possibly rummage out of my dictionary that will be sincere, heart-felt and at least some tiny bit of support?"

Heart-felt? My heart wanted to sob together, to hug her in a sad embrace, as it so well knew and understood how life-shattering such a volte-face can be for a girl! But tears, sobs and shock... she must be living enough of them. I needed to supply something different. Consolations are always my bete-noire territory. I always struggle with the maladroit inside me when consolation times knock.

How can you cheer-up or steady someone who has just been ripped apart with the blow of a tragedy?
In what words?
A dead-pet situation can accommodate sentences like "It's ok", "There's more to life" or "There's always something better". But can you even dare apply it to personal tragedies of irreversible significance like deaths? My friend's tragedy was almost a death, of the lovely future she was so ardently waiting for.

What can I say?
But as it turned out, that was the last question on anyone else's mind.
As I entered her place, I found her enveloped by voracious jackals, ravenous crows and ruthless vultures.
Interestingly, and sadly, all these species belonged to the so-called sensitive and soft gender called 'female'.
While I had been wondering with what to say, there was no dearth of words from this gathering.
Words were pouring in all shapes, in all questions, as jibes, as potshots, as a generous lemon squeeze on the wound, as unsolicited cruelly-timed advices and what not.

There were aunts. There were family friends. There were 'oh-ever-so-concerned' relatives.
And no body was losing her chance to take a dig or to satiate the big gossip-cum-curiosity appetite or to flaunt her wisdom:

"What happened?"
"Oh. That's so sad! But how did things come to such a pass?"
"Good Lord! Just think of all the preparations already started."
"Whose fault was it?"
"What have you thought of now?"
"I know a suitable boy, you know my nephew, the one in UK I mentioned before?"
"Arre, leave it to the girl. Beta, I have some pictures. Have a look at them yourself. I am sure your online profile can still be activated."
"I know it's sad. But you have to move on."
"Gosh! She's already 27. This IS the time. You are already so late! It's now or never."

And if you thought that all this is a prerogative of the senior citizens, then Lo! How mistaken can one be!

Moments later I see our friends supplanting the bevy.
Her own close friends are now rewinding the same sequence of arrows and cannons.
And yes..the very friends who had their share of vulnerable spots too, but which my friends so considerately and strenously tried to avoid..always. She too had her chance of spitting out.."Why are you not planning a baby?" or "Why did you both break up?" or "How do you manage with your in-laws?"
But she never choose to even touch the delicate subjects, unless the other one initiated a catharsis.
May she should have, if she could have seen that these very friends would pounce on her today with casual cruelties.

"It's sad na. We are so much waiting for the big date."
"Come on. It's ok. You have to move on babes."
"You remember the guy we met at the Cafe the other day."
"Just flush all the pictures, cards and other stuff. You cannot weep over and put a pause to your life. Get up and move on."

Two simple easy words, which people use as recklessly and as detachedly as a tissue roll.
If ever fate makes these people walk the talk, I would really like to see how many inches can they even began to cover.
Even I, want my friend to move on but... like any sensible, empathy-oriented human being, I know that all that these two words, at the time of an unexpected bolt of crisis in her life, ...all that these two words can manage to mean is the simple existence of life and not the overnight transformation to a new relationship that only plastic hearts are capable of.

I want to see my friend move on too.
So that she can at least feel like applying some Dettol to her bruises.
So that she can at least swallow food items that used to be her drop-saliva favourites.
So that she can at least find Joey or Phoebe funny again when she stares blankly when the TV airs 'Friends'.
So that she can at least spare a look at the new stock or dresses or anything when we try to take her out shopping.
So that when we click a photo together, I can some tinge of smile in her eyes again.
So that she can cover the journey over the shattered pieces firmly as she treads on the broken glass of her life.Because that's a journey she alone has to cover, all alone, over every shard.
So that she can stop drenching her pillow with tears all night while the aunts and friends slumber to glory.
So that she can slap back a poignant glance or answer when people ask her the same questions and proffer the same advices every time,... every damn other time that they show up.

When I came, I was struggling for words.
And after witnessing this carnage of feelings, I felt grateful at my poverty of words.
As another scathing remark hammers the last nail in her heart's coffin, and she runs inside the kitchen, I follow her inside.
Her face is at the window and even with a side-angle I can see her silent tears and sleepless eyes.
I think of my options.
A. "Don't cry. It will be alright."
B. "Do you want to talk?"
C. "God's will buddy. Let's accept it."

Somehow, I strike off my options and turn back to brew some tea.
Some minutes later, I offer her a warm cup and a warm silence.
As I sit beside her, I hope and I know that she understands my silence which says.........
"It's bad and I know it. All I can say is that, I am around my friend!"

While we are sipping the grief and tea together, I can still hear the women outside exhaling their 'Tch.Tch's
Wish I could scream out. F.O!


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