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Moving forward.

 

Moving forward.

I heard this expression often when my wife of forty-six years left for her heavenly abode. Most of my friends and well-wishers, I had plenty in those days, asked me to move forward. I nodded my head and thanked them for their kind advice, but did not know what I should do to move forward. Did they mean I should forget my wife and roll along the pathway of life? She was my partner, friend, companion, critic, and many other things rolled into one. How could I forget her? Thinking of her perhaps meant moving backward, an expression I hated.

One fine morning I decided to move forward come what may, but I found the first obstacle with my morning cup of tea. It was the same tea with a couple of biscuits adjacent to it, but it tasted altogether different as the tray’s bearer happened to be our manservant. How in the heavens can this uncouth man help me in moving forward? He sported no smile, not even a grin but a sardonic smile of one returning from a funeral. I tried to submerge myself in work and opened my computer. I started working, but the page before me remained blank, impassive. I felt her hands from behind around my neck and turned my face towards her. I turned only to stare at the wall as blank as the page before me.  This process of emptiness, if there could be one such, continued for many days and months. I had many commitments to fulfill, but I seem to have lost the will to press forward.

It is now about eight years since she passed, but I have not moved forward. The first casualty has been my humor. It left me as if I kicked it out the door. A sort of cynicism and anger filled the void. I made critical remarks and lost many of my friends by the wrong choice of words. When I saw an obese software engineer’s photo, I could not help saying he appeared more like a macro engineer and not a micro engineer. Perhaps rankled, his wife, a kindly lady, a friend till then, never spoke to me nor commented on any of my posts or blogs after that. I lost another friend when I remarked about his profuse use of periods at the end of a few sentences. I wrote of ellipses and how to use them but never heard from him until now. These are a few of the many cases I like to forget.

Today I fear talking to my friends and relatives, lest a few annoying words of criticism roll out and spoil our relationship. In meetings and gatherings, I sit tight-lipped with five fingers firmly placed on my mouth just like my dad used to sit in our family get together. I think the cynicism has been hereditary or in my genes and lying dormant all the years before my wife’s demise. I hope it does not pass on to my children. Fortunately, I find them ebullient and laughing and smiling the way I used to do. Their smiles and laughter propel me to move forward, but I find empty spaces, far too many of them, hindering my process. When I am done with the day and hit the bed, the space next to mine mocks me. The TV before me is of no help either, as the Indian political scene always has been depressing, and the comments of a few politicians and TV anchors infuriate me. As sleep eludes me, I turn to some channels for entertainment. Here again, most films show violence, unmitigated violence either by terrorists or the characters wielding machine guns. Some come in plain clothes, some wearing black masks, and a few sporting ear-to-ear smiles, but they all kill people either with lethal weapons or equally deadly words. Words hurt more than the bullets, Vests can protect from bullets, but nothing can from hurtful words. As I keep thinking of the so-called entertainment, dawn breaks out, and I watch the sun’s rays sneaking through the drapes. I moved forward one day, but is this the moving forward my friends urged me to do? It is a while since I had a good sleep, not even after a stiff drink. Given half a chance, I would like to move backward, and if possible, to put the clock back.

Now I am in a limbo, unable to fast-forward to unite with my loved one or put the clock and move backward.

What do you say, guys?

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RAMARAO Garimella

A retired Commander of the Indian Navy and a Master Mariner for 18 years. A writer with several articles and short stories published in Indian newspapers and magazines. A writer with more than 700 blogs (400 in Sulekha, 150 in fanstory.com and 150 in wikinut.com). I have seven books published, including one children's book for American children. I am the first Indian to publish a children's book for American children published in the USA. The second is due shortly. For details please visit my website www.gvramarao.com.
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Navneet Bakshi
1 year ago

I remember, the poignant blogs that you used to write when she was down with cancer. It must have been a difficult process for both of you then too, but the void that she has left behind is a proof, how your happiness revolved around her. All couples don’t enjoy that closeness. Talking of us, our tastes are very different and we love our individual space and privacy. It is true that over the years, we begin to depend on each other but, the fact that we are all mortal and either one will go before the other, we must accept it when it happens. I do not think cynicism is hereditary, but it is a trait and children do get most of their traits from their parents.

Suresh Rao
1 year ago

RRG
Fast forwarding to what you can do today is, in your case, moving forward. Good Luck.

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