Third Issue: SILENCES

Photo Stories by Ipsita Deb: Humans and Ghosts



I don’t quite recall the face of my grandmother. It was an early winter morning when Amma died, after a long-long night of struggling with death — one long night of confusion — maybe, one of waiting for us. I remember the faint scent of the medicinal ointment and stale sheets of the room where she had spent her last days.

It was all confusing from the start of the morning as we kids tried to piece together what was happening from the hushed voices of the elders in our house. People from our ‘Paara’ started visiting and suddenly the morning broke out with an ugly keening wails of women. I recall the grim face of Jethu escorting the Doctor, who gave a formal confirmation, to the gate.

It was my father who had pulled out the catheter from her body, his rough fingers tugging at the tube until it finally came free. I could hear the faint sound of the tube being pulled out – a “pluck”- releasing the final plugs that tethered her to this world. The sound was like the snapping of a cord, the last thread connecting her to the land of the living. My mother was annoyed with my father’s lack of decorum – we had hired nurses to take care of my grandmother’s needs. My father always has a way of embarrassing her.

I don’t quite recall the face of my grandmother. Sometimes, on a lonely night like this, the “pluck” from the bathroom tap reminds me of her.

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