I miss the my dada a lot today.
There’s no particular reason, except, perhaps, there are memories of finding a steady, constant source of sooth, comfort, strength and even healing, each time I found myself in pain. I feel a certain ghost of a pain in me sometimes, it doesn’t compare to the all-nighter stomach aches or headaches that frequently plagued the summers of my childhood. It is but a ghost.

But then, each night I was visited by one of the two aches, I would have to spend the night awake, bearing the pain, sometimes crying, only to realise, the tears didn’t lessen the pain. Not one bit. I’d think up analogies, a stabbing pain, a throbbing pain, spasmodic pain; I’d find a book to read; I’d try and distract my mind watching tv, and it would subside and return with twice the strength the moment I moved. My trance of relief would shatter and tears would sting my eyes as I tried to fight them off.

Dada would be my doctor and nurse both. He’d hand me measured doses of the homeopathic tincture, diluted in water, at regular intervals, he’d hum and sing a poem completely out of tune, he’d sit by my bedside, lightly patting my head, perhaps wishing the pain away, he’d sit till I fell asleep.

The first time I had a nightmare, I saw me being attacked by a fierce black wolf with eyes the colour of fire. Dada’s reassuring voice woke me and his loving hand patted my head back to a dreamless sleep.

After being my best friend and closest confidante for seventeen years, dada died.

Life has strange ways of evoking memories.
No, murderous stomach aches do not trouble me anymore. Not since my mini tryst with a rather stubborn strain of tuberculosis. Headaches are still the occasional visitor. Nothing I cannot manage. But I wonder if dada ever had a glass bottle containing a remedy for the pain of a broken heart. If he might be able to gently pat sleep back into my sleepless nights. I wonder what would he say about the even more macabre nightmares that colour my dreams now. These are but the ghosts of pain.

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