I am sitting at my computer, not really watching the television, which is on in the background. Putzing on the internet and drinking SoCo and lime. It was a warm day. I have a lot to do at work. I’m feeling lower today than usual about work, but finally it is still light out at 6 when I am still there, which makes it feel easier.
I get an e-mail. Subject: “Sad news from India.”
I hope everyone is doing well in their respective lives. I writing to inform you guys of some sad news. Mummom passed away a few weeks ago in her sleep. They think it was a brain aneurysm. I just thought everyone should know. We had some amazing times together at her house. I am grateful to have been there with all of you.
The day that we met, she asked us to call her mom. I’d e-mailed my real mother saying that I had a “new mother,” which I think she took the wrong way, but it was just that I instantly felt so taken care of.
The day that we left, we gave her a toaster as a parting gift, because she’d always talked about getting one. She unwrapped the box, stared at, and started to cry. I’m an in-the-closet sentimental and I cried, too. The last things she ever asked me to do was call. But then I never did. And that was three years ago.
I can’t come up with a non-cliche to respond with in reply-all. We’re all richer for having known her. She will be missed. May she rest in peace.
I think about the ghats, where bereaved men shave their heads and women wash their hair in the Ganga.
The “octo-mom” is on the news because she just got a new mansion, the weather will be colder tomorrow, and in the Lake District of Kolkata, a city of 7.8 million, Mukta Sengupta is no longer there.