VINTAGE CAR SPECIALIST
Miss Mamta’s house felt small in spite of the big windows overlooking the sea. The sun was hanging ripe and heavy over the cityscape, about to drop into the water. Ruhi sat in the living room, ankles pressed tightly together, waiting for Miss Mamta to come out of the shower. She wiped her palms on her skirt. The walls of the house seemed to beg for some breathing space.
I have attended three funerals in my life. This feels like a prophetic number, but also a reminder of grace – a blessing, to be able to count loss on one hand.The first was for a woman I barely knew, a relative I saw on Eid mornings. The only memory I have of her is a house with mossy vines growing on the balcony, the smell of spices wafting out of an over-crowded kitchen.
I have this perverted habit of looking into apartment windows. I think it started when I moved away from Mumbai for the first time. I remember I had felt like I was being assaulted by the malice of London’s winter. The cold winds would blow with a bitterness, like a punishment, and I’d tense my shoulders as I walked against it, my hands balled up into fists in my coat pockets.
Death – stupid, annoying, final. I did not like death before, and now I am even more opposed to the concept. What is it about death that makes everyone treat the bereaved like ghosts? Maybe it is something about how sadness smudges, until you are nothing but a reminder of loss. No one looks at me anymore. Grief is not contagious. But it feels like it is, sometimes.