I’ve tried writing this post out half a dozen times. And there is just no right way of doing it. I wish I could find the words to express what I’m feeling, but each time I start writing, I don’t seem to be able to end it.
Unlike Rita aunty. Who hung herself three days back.
Rita aunty. The first neighbour I remember, someone who’d seen me as a 2yr old, and my sister as a babe in arms. A lady, who babysat us on numerous occasions and smiled her way through each of them. Someone who came to mum’s rescue when my sister locked the family (and guests) in the house when she went down to play after latching the main door from the outside. Rita aunty. Someone I always associate with ashtmi and halwa, puri – that loaded paper plate with a ten rupee note hidden under the puris which we looked forward to with childish excitement. A lady I never heard being loud, someone who always had a kind word and smile for anyone she met. And even though both families moved, we stayed in touch – weddings, deaths, festivals, random running into each other on the road even.
But somewhere along the way, unknown to family, friends and neighbours, that soft, shy smile became a mask. Something she hid behind. Till one day when it got the better of her and she succumbed to herself.
My sister and I weren’t allowed to go pay our last respects. But mum said she looked at peace. And smiling.