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Learning to Grieve

Recently, I have seen a trend developing in me, I have stopped grieving over losses which are seemingly less romantic or not romantic at all. I have started distancing myself from life and have started living in the cocoon of romance which somehow became the foundation of all my emotions.


Guest Blogger: Shuma Banik


Artwork: Instagram/shuma.banik

A few days back, I was in office, writing a random document when I received a message from Sanya. She happens to be the ex-girlfriend of the man I was seeing in 2015. I sensed that something was wrong. Though we both share a friendly relationship, something was off that day. My heart skipped a beat when I saw her name popped up. I got extremely nervous but somehow managed to open the chatbox.


I was right, the message was my worst nightmare. The only word that caught my eyes was ‘cancer’. That moment, I knew that things are going to change, forever. The man, whom we both dated at different points of time, is suffering from cancer and is in his most critical stage. I was sad. Though I am not ashamed of not shedding tears, it was surprising for me to realize how apathetic I have grown over the years. I almost pretended to forget and continued with my routine.

Artwork: Instagram/shuma.banik

Recently, I have seen a trend developing in me, I have stopped grieving over losses which are seemingly less romantic or not romantic at all. I have started distancing myself from life and have started living in the cocoon of romance which somehow became the foundation of all my emotions. It became the only pillar on which the whole building was standing. This, of course, led to a lot of insecurities, and needless to say that this put a lot of pressure on the other person to singlehandedly perform all the roles.


I started seeking romantic companionship in the most incompatible humans. Obviously that led to a lot of disappointments and heartbreaks. Also, this lack of ability to weigh love appropriately has not only detached me from my people but also stripped me of my emotional engagement with the characters of my most favorite books which I have treasured since childhood. Haven’t I already poured it all to one person? How could I manage to feel and love more? As I am writing this, I realize how pathetic is it for a twenty-something to experience this inability to love who ‘’Loves to Love”.


But today was unusual. I grieved, with all my heart.


I was scrolling down my Facebook feed when I learned about Irfan Khan’s death. I was un-moved. I was not crying. I just felt bad.

Artwork: Instagram/shuma.banik

For a few days, I have been longing to revisit Namesake, the book that healed me once upon a time. So, I decided to watch this movie. These days, since we are all quarantined, a lot of time is spent browsing Netflix, MUBI.com, and YouTube. Apart from the relatable identity crisis, I have always admired Ashima di’s perfectly pleated saree, the big red bindhi, khol rimmed eyes, and that Bengali way of living in a foreign land. So, today was the day to watch ‘The Namesake’, all over again.

Actor Irrfan Khan in the movie -The Namesake (2006) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

Halfway through the movie, the void hit me hard. Hard enough that I wept straight for an hour. I do not know if I was grieving the loss of Irfan or Ashok da. The nostalgia of loss was so vivid. It felt like I lost a part of my memory. The memory of open fields, the aam bagan (garden of Mango trees), the midnight storms, and childhood romances. I texted my friend saying how much I want to re-create one of the scenes which were shot near Victoria with my partner when I fall in love the next time. In this time of chaos where the world is hit by a pandemic, thousands of people dying and the only man who could love Piku just died, if a movie can instill hope of love, what can be better?

Artwork: Instagram/shuma.banik

This feeling of loss is no way ordinary. I geared up all the courage and texted my ex’s flatmate to check on his health. I was happy to learn that he will be back from the hospital, soon.


Today, Ashok da healed me exactly the way Ashok da and Ashima di did almost 6 years back.

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