When does a loss sink in? Not when the exact moment you lose someone. You still are in shock. You will be in shock for another day or more. While the days are spent taking care of your mothers and grandmothers, you will wait for him in the evening. “This all is a mistake,” you tell yourself, “he will come anytime soon and say that this was all a mistake. That we had a wrong body and wrong person.” But you didn’t get the wrong person. The police did hand over his recorders, his phone, his diaries with his handwriting, his comb, his pen, his earphones and all of his belongings that would always be in his pocket. You wish you had it all wrong despite seeing him, lying in the hospital bed – dead. And when he didn’t arrive the first day, you prayed that this was all just a nightmare. That when you wake up the next day, the day would start all over again but without the incident.
The loss doesn’t sink in for the next ten days for there would be people you need to meet and greet. There would be rituals to perform, rooms to clean, dishes to wash. There would still be mothers and grandmothers to soothe down, cousins to talk to. But on the tenth day, when your grandmother, who has always worn only shades of red throughout your life, emerges wearing a plain white-cream sari and brown shawl, the loss sinks in. When your aunts have returned to their homes after the thirteenth day, when you are with your mom, dad and grandma, basking in the sun, when there is a space where your grandfather used to sit reading newspaper, the loss sinks in.
The loss actually sinks in only after a year or more. When, during one of those over thinking nights, you try to remember your grandfather’s voice calling you “Maiju” in the morning and you can no longer hear his voice even in your thoughts, the loss sinks in. And you will realize that it’s too late to mourn for the loss because all this time you’d been busy trying to move on, take care of your mothers and grandmothers and pretend to be stronger for them, that you haven’t really cried your loss off.
The loss will sink after many years of the loss. It will always be there as a hole in your world which cannot be refilled.