“Ammu died when she was 31. Not old, not young. But a viable, die-able age.”- Arundhati Roy, The God Of Small Things

 

To knowing that life is just the road to death.

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“I hate writers. They act competent when all they are is vulnerable. They talk of changing lives, for all I know is they are not even sure of who they are. Writers are the most pretentious of the lot, they disgust me. They create a palette of dreamy stories and make life look so much more glittery than what it usually is. I tell you, writers are delusional, they’re all a group of psychotic souls, lost in the sea of people. Writers need help, some serious help.”

 

That was Kaya for you, a little too drenched in her spontaneity, almost always appalling to the crowd. She had brown eyes, deep and gentle, unwavering, proof of the stark contrast humans bear in themselves. Her gaze was the only thing in her that seemed tamed, easily misleading for a gazelle’s. The rest of her was poetry, undeciphered and unfeasible.

 

“I want to die young. Death is, after all, just a phase of transiency. Wherever I am, I’m going to be fine. I won’t be surprised if I start a sermon in Vegas, because that’s how unpredictable this road is and that’s how we all are dragged by it. Don’t fight it; it will always come back to knock you down. Don’t be afraid of death, embrace it.”

 

I hated it when she talked this way. I hated her for heaving multiple minds while I struggled to comprehend the subtle intricacies she had to offer. I envied her in a way a child envies his sibling, proud yet a dint unhappy. She hated being told she was judgmental; she considered it her unnerving right to be offensive. I hated her for all that she was, and a little more so, for being someone I could never be.

 

“I want people to remember me. I don’t care if I’ve changed the world or brushed a thousand lives, if I made one person smile today, and every day, my job here is done. If I could have, I would’ve given myself a better name. Kaya, it means body. Oh how worthless I feel, for what is the body without soul? Maa should’ve named me Shakti, strength, that would’ve accounted for much of what I stand for.”

 

I don’t tell her, her name is as redundant as the words from her lips. She tastes of ash, of well-aged wine and calculated serendipity. At times, when Kaya is not being Kaya, you can almost fall in love with her, oblivious to the fact that she unwittingly invites countless glances in those few rare moments. I can’t tell why people find her so fascinating or how her aversion to clichéd attractiveness manages to lure every second person who meets her. She always, always looks so happy that it frightens me. But she won’t believe a word of it, that’s Kaya to the world, seemingly inconspicuous but mostly, she simply doesn’t care.

 

“I think there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I love reading the books that most girls of my age read? When I look at the mirror every morning, I seem a little more unfamiliar to myself than the previous day. I’m scared, don’t you see it? I’m tired, I can do this no more. I can’t live my life in rhetoric, it’s killing me. Write down an escape plan for me, will you?”

 

She was like untamed waters, but I chose to dive in. For her sake, it was all worth it. I thought of everything I was willing to do to make her stay, but I knew she wouldn’t see it. That’s what she was, Kaya-body with an enraging soul. She chose her own way in and out, and only she had the answers to the questions no one dared to ask. She was like that, no one to me, but turned out I worshipped her, celebrated her.

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I wasn’t the only one who was not surprised at the news. We had never considered the possibility of it before, but then again, with Kaya, predictability had never come easy. As much as she would’ve liked to be Shakti, she wasn’t, she was Kaya, and that would be the best and worst possible way to sum her up. She didn’t believe in death as much as she did in Moksh, salvation. I might tell you all that I know about her, but by the end of it, you won’t learn a thing more than she’ll let you. That’s how she was, is. I don’t like talking about her in the past tense. She didn’t live long, but I can tell you she lived enough, so enough it consumed her up all the way to the brim. Now that she’s gone, she feels more alive than she ever was.

The only thing she doesn’t deserve is a eulogy, the rest of life, she’s seized.

 

“We’re all going someday, aren’t we?”

 

We are, Kaya, we are.

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