His cold body lay on the banana leaf right on the floor in front of me. The room was full of people praising him for his simplicity, his devotion, his firm belief in God. His family was recollecting the good things he did for them. Everyone had only good things to speak of him. And I was struggling within. Not because I was hurt by his sudden demise. Neither because I was worried for his family whose single source of income was him. But because I could never forgive him. The 14-year old me could never forgive him. And today as he lay motionless, as people around kept singing praises, I was fighting within. Because as per rituals, shortly it was my turn to complete a circumambulation and touch his feet to seek forgiveness for any wrong I have done to him when he was alive. I wanted to shout to the world that I won’t do it. I want to scream my heart out. But I knew that will only hurt everyone. I knew my children were around. I knew my parents were around. And that’s when I rushed to my man who gestured with his eyes. And I was calm.
Circumambulate, I did. And just between him and me, I whispered,
“I forgive you. I forgive you for myself. I forgive you for our families. But as my mother told me at that time, it was not a product of my imagination. It was real and it was scary. My 10-year old sister still shivers at the thought of it. That scary night and those frightful 10 days of our lives. I forgive you. Rest in peace.“
This was necessary. That was absolutely essential. I forgave him for myself. I forgave him because I could never live in peace because of him. Every time I had to meet him at family gatherings, it was terrible. And just because of him I had kept myself aloof from his lovely family. I hadn’t spoken a single word to him for the last two decades. And I had no answers every time his children asked, “Di, why do you never speak with our father?“