The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” “I don’t understand.” “You live beyond death, live after death.” But you are not living. You are dead. You are lying feet deep below this white marble tomb covered with flakes of snow. And a strange feeling swooped down upon me, as if a heavy weight was pressed against my heart. My grandpa had read those lines from the Harry Potter book to me as I had sat crouched beside him, listening patiently. I had not understood it then. I don’t understand it now. It seems to be a different world when we had walked down the lanes of the city sharing secrets and stories, efforts and smiles, to which I feel like an intruder now. The mirror in which he had smiled once is broken now, leaving a shard of glass missing and the rest of them cracked. The deafening silence with which it shattered has brutally pierced my gleaming universe. The star once the brightest now, no longer shines. I realised that the Christmas carols in the nearby church had stopped by now. Hot tears streamed down my face as I stood there, in front of him, under the flakes of snow which did not feel cold anymore.
60 years later. A similar night. Christmas carols being sung in the nearby church. Flakes of snow falling. ” You are living grandma. You aren’t dead. You live in the smiles we share. You live in the extra sweetness of the ‘Jalebis’ that you taught Mom how to make. You live in my confusions as I fumble to tie my shoe laces which you always did for me. You live in the good night kiss that you so endearingly placed on my forehead every time I fell asleep on your lap. The fifteen year old grandson went on as he rubbed the tears off from his cheeks with his sleeves. ” You live in the rose shrubs we planted together. You live in the stories we wove together. You live in my heart. You live in me.”He read slowly and aloud the inscription on the headstone – “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” “Yes, you live beyond death, live after death.”He said, turning around to go and join the Christmas celebrations. What she had not understood once, she finally succeeded in making her grandson understand that. Beneath the tombs, they smiled.