June 2, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Essay: Tearing the Veil by Arundhati Dutta

1 min read

In this personal essay, Arundhati Dutta shares memories of her grandmother whom she lost last year. Rummaging through grief, death, and loss, her writing makes for a compelling read.

Almost exactly 18 years ago on a January evening, I found my grandfather died in his bed. Or rather, in the process of dying; he was wheezing out his last breaths, and 8-year-old me did not know what to make of it, so I just stared at him until he stopped. Then I called the grown-ups in the next room.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about him a lot, not least because I lost my grandmother last September after a mercifully short battle with cancer. And I’ve been very disturbed by how little of him I remember beyond the day he died. I don’t remember his voice, but I remember what it sounded like when he was wheezing his few breaths. I remember he snored, but only because had initially confused his wheezing for snoring. I remember he loved toffees (he called them lozenges), but only because I remember giving him a leftover coconut-flavoured toffee that day from the colony’s Republic Day celebration. I’d never part with the chocolate-flavoured ones, of course.

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