My grandmother is probably going to die – Aishwarya Shrivastav

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Part 1

My grandmother is probably going to die
I am about to lose history already less known
They tell me she doesn’t recognize faces
But I want to ask about the touch
We once went to an astrologer
He traced his fingers across her palm
Told her she would die before her husband
I remember looking up at her face
She paused, before smiling satisfied
She later told me that her mother used to say, ‘Parvati, only few wives are lucky to die before their husbands, and they are sure to go to heaven’

Part 2

My grandfather’s voice was shaky on the phone last night
Visible tremors of the probability of losing out one of a fifty-year-old team of two
Money can’t save her, nor can love
And the irony is that we have a lot of both

Part 3

I chose a wrong day to talk about death
Today is Diwali – the festival of lights
She had too many friends
I am asked more often than I want to answer, ‘How is Parvati?’
I hand out bits of paper with her number on them to all of them
I know the routine and I feel heavy
They all call up each other once a month
More to check who is still alive, and less to talk about life.

Part 4

Out of all the things I am afraid of
I fear I may reach late
Or maybe I am afraid of reaching too early
Watching death lurking in every corner of the room
Seeing my childhood stories crumble with her inability to speak
Gibberish is all I hear and all she could speak.

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