This pandemic has exposed our soft under bellies like no other. A bunch of sissies cowering in the confines of our homes, while sending each other selfies of our last meal.
Last evening one of my enthusiastic cousins, messages the “cousins” whatsapp group a picture of a very gentle- looking old lady and mentions, she’s no more. I put on my reading glasses, zoom in on the photo trying to recognize a feature- unfortunately I’m not able to make any connections in my memory. I try zooming in on the 2 others on the photos… Nope.
Anyways too polite to ask who it was, I put in a sad face and craft a condolence message and send it back. A flurry of “sincere condolences” messages start shuttling across the ether – each trying to outdo the other in speed and emotion for a gentle “paatimaa” we fail to recognize.
I go to bed in a melancholic mood, even consider having a round of “black label” to mourn the passing away of our late “paatimaa”. Anyways late in the night, cousin number 2, wakes up on the other side of the globe and contradicts the relationship of our sweet old, “paatimaa”, and puts her squarely on the opposite side of the family tree. “Paatimaa” seems to be a little more familiar with this side, and nods a friendly hello to other occupants like a participant on “Hollywood squares”.
That’s when I lose it – who are these people to play with my emotions when I’m at my most vulnerable? Who is this “paatimaa” that I’ve been drinking to? The debate goes on – but then these are challenging times, and there’s a lockdown and I have only a limited supply of “black label” and the least you can do is plot my family tree properly, and clarify the source of my sadness.
Till then- RIP “Paatimaa” and may the softness of your smile forever inspire us to reach deep within our souls and find happy places in these challenging times. 🙏