I completed one year of widowhood today. This is my third and last title. I was born Miss Navraj Gandhi, daughter of G. S. Gandhi, I became Mrs Navraj Bhatia, wife of P. S. Bhatia and now, I am Mrs Navraj Bhatia, widow of P. S. Bhatia. At 48, I was as unprepared to become widow of P.S. Bhatia as I was of becoming Mrs Bhatia at the age of 28.
There is nothing to reflect on the year gone by because everything is fresh in my memory. I have lived the pain of separation every moment; the pain of being referred to as a widow every moment. It is like a stab in the chest. It doesn’t kill you. Just lets you bleed and bear the agony. Our system also makes sure that the reality of your single status is hammered into your head by making sure you sign the rightful ‘widow column’ in all the claim forms.
The lessons of the year gone by are far more profound than those learnt in the previous 48 years of my life. Now I know what seeing life at close quarter’s means. I can actually see it with a 3D vision.
Shattered by my husband’s death, I have experienced a gamut of emotions. I have sobbed, cried, wailed, howled, raved, ranted, fought back tears, put up a brave front, spent sleepless nights, slept like a log, starved myself, hogged like a pig, punished myself, pitied myself, drowned myself in sorrow, shut myself in a dark room, gone alone for a long walk and a drive, listened to soulful songs, tried to cheer myself up with peppy songs, felt insecure, helpless and hapless, cringed at the sight of happy families, felt jealous of couples walking hand in hand, grudged others’ happiness, spent needless hours at the parlour, turned to spiritualism, read books on spirits, life and death, broken traditions, apologised, seen nonsensical movies, chopped my hair and grown it back again, given away all my good and bright clothes, written poetry, done yoga, had a brush with feminism, watched porn, tried a cigarette, been a female Devdas, drink in hand, left two jobs, lamented over broken relationships, exulted in old and new friendships, bonded with siblings and above all, gone back to my mother’s lap for ultimate peace and comfort, found nowhere else in the world.
My gratitude to my siblings and their spouses and my close friends who did not let me fall. They love me and they loved him. I also owe a thank you to those who just loved him and abandoned me and my children. They helped me understand life better. No grudges against the e-mourners who posted ‘I am sorry’ ‘God give you courage’ and ‘Take care’ messages on Facebook.
He was very hard working. So God gave him a promotion and left me to fulfill his earthly duties. On the first year of his promotion, I am not going to mourn his going away. I am going to celebrate his life and live by his zest for life and his motto – cheerful, undaunted and undefeated.