What ya, Divya Rai
Bloody damn audacious of you!
You, who would hold my hand
and close her eyes and scream
on the middle of the narrow divider
of Hudson lines,
scared and refusing to cross the road –
You crossed over the golden bridge,
and so quietly went over
to the other side…
If only you held my hand this time,
Could I have pulled you back?
But you would have none of that, would you?
Stubborn girl!
You wanted everything your way –
You wanted to take care of everyone and everything,
and not inconvenience anyone with your troubles.
So, quickly and swiftly you went….
leaving us to wonder why…
Why did you do it Divya?
You’re enjoying up there on your high perch,
watching us say nice things about you,
and you’re giggling in mirth.
We would have sung your praises
all day and all night long,
if only you told us once…
What’s the joy in writing now
when I can’t read it to you
and see your face lighting up in glee,
and discuss it threadbare
about how much I exaggerated…

We had so many plans ya!
We were to do our girl gang trip in Goa,
sit on the beach in Copacabana
and sip caipirinhas.
We were to come visit you
in your newly painted house –
sunshine yellow and gold
flowing through the dappled cover of your plants…
have biryani and kebabs,
take a road trip to Karuna’s orchards,
and to Tanu’s pristine mountains.
We were to watch cheesy movies together,
sing some stupid songs,
and laugh like crazy hyenas,
without a care in the world.
We had to see you setting up
your new interiors business,
and show up as consultants without expertise
doling out unsolicited advice.
There will be a trip now, alright –
honoring your memory,
and we will keep a place for you,
sit around the fire all night
and talk of all that you have been
and all that could have been
but never will be….

Passionate, personable, perfectionist…
You were the live wire lighting up our lives,
herding us together for video calls,
for gossip and peals of laughter,
and squeals and high drama
to wade through this isolation.
Who will herd us now?
You always made that effort –
to meet us, laden with gifts
for us and our brood.
Meeting you, being with you
was like going back in time
to our carefree days,
when we didn’t need wings to fly.
You were always so proud of our successes,
placing crowns on our heads when there were none.
Egging us on and cheering for us,
celebrating our little wins.
Being with us through thick and thin.
Not one to suffer fools,
not one to hold back –
you said what needed to be said.
Honest to the core, most genuine,
humane, and standing for humanity.
You gave nothing but your best,
or nothing at all.
So generous…so giving…always…

Patience wasn’t one of your virtues.
You spoke freely of your disappointment
with things that were horribly wrong

-about misplaced priorities

-about the failure of system and machinery;
failures that got you in the end.
We saw you struggling
for tests and medicines and oxygen for family,
and a hospital bed for yourself –
it wasn’t too much to ask….
Sadly, it wasn’t even your individual ‘story’.
Yeah…sometimes….
reality is more weird
than an apocalyptic movie –
a movie we could have watched and dissected
over popcorn and soda,
and brushed aside for another time.
But how do we brush this aside?
This fact that you’re truly gone?
And we’re here…in shambles…
picking the pieces
of our now unseamed tapestry…
We will stitch it back together
and weave your memories in intricate patterns,
decorate them with golden sequins that you so loved.
And on cold nights,
when our hearts are heavy…
and our eyes light without sleep;
those beautiful patterns
will wrap our hearts with warmth
and sing us the lullabies you sang for Kimaya…

And when our time comes, I know
you will be waiting at the golden gates
with open arms and warm embrace.
Amidst giggles and peels of laughter,
you will will welcome us newbies,
show us around – smugly –
the place that is now your queendom.
And we will sit again, by the eternal fire,
shining goblets in hand,
and continue our conversations,
as if we never stopped….