Don’t stuff that into her mouth. Don’t.
Don’t you touch her like that. Not her feet. Not her hands. Don’t assume you can do that. Who are you, anyway?
The gold bangle sits there dandling on her wrist. Just sits there. Dangling. Her hand is still warm. It is. Isn’t it?
Who are you, again? Stop discussing her. It’s rude. She is still here. Talk about the weather.
Don’t look at her. Don’t.
That bangle goes all the way back to my childhood. And her wrist is still warm. Don’t tell me it isn’t. Don’t talk about changing what she is wearing. That Saree still has turmeric stains on it. It’s hers. It smells like her.
Her papier-mâché like hands. The imaginary lunar terrain for the toys from my childhood.
What do you mean by ‘Am I alright’? Why would you ask me that?
Don’t ask me to tie her toes together. What a ridiculous thing to do! No, youwon’t do it. I will.
Her head is not lolling as they prepare her. It isn’t. ‘Prepare her’? What does that even mean?
This is still her. These hands are hers. Her fingernails have dirt underneath them. How many times do I have to tell you to cut them?
Someone else is at the door again. Why is it open? Go away. There is nothing here to see.
She is not lying here on the floor. My stomach is rumbling. I haven’t done my laundry. I’ve forgotten to call Abhishek again. The smooth contours of that bangle. That mole on her palm.
I can’t find my shoes in this pile. Tell these people to go home. What do you mean I can’t take a walk? This day is just like yesterday and the one before it. Just like it. Why can’t I take a walk? Yes, for the last time, I am fine. I am fine and she is still here.
She looks resplendent. Why is her bindi that way today? Don’t you know she doesn’t like it that way? Who are you anyway? I’ll do it. Not you. Smaller. Smaller, still. There. Now, it’s right.
The ambulance is white. Why am I saying this? What a ridiculous thing to say.
Remember when I was 12, I said ‘ridiculous’ all the time? You laughed at me every time I did and I’d pinch your hand. And then you’d laugh at me some more.
Everyone’s peering out of their homes. With cups of tea in their hands. Why have you made a spectacle of yourself?
DON’T take that bangle off. Don’t. I am yet to memorise how it looks on her wrist. I am yet to memorise her hand. That mole on her palm. Those circles I drew on her belly when she was asleep. She woke me up at 6 a.m. once, when her last tooth fell off. She held it in her palm and laughed at it with me. Her palm is cold. Cold.
She smells like incense. This vehicle smells antiseptic.
Wait, will you? Who the fuck are you to start that engine already.
That earlobe. I have to touch it. Once more.
Do you know I haven’t eaten since morning? Do you know I haven’t taken my walk? Will you ever cut your nails, damn it?
Drive slow. Go back inside your homes. Don’t stare. Don’t.
Go. Before they stare at you any longer, go.
There ridiculous white ambulance is gone.
There. I said ‘ridiculous’ again.