Sunday, January 12
The Uppal, 15:34
I woke at 5:30 to the sound of my phone and talked with Irma. She had been woken by a phone herself and had ridden to the hospital on the back of Anu’s motorbike, because she had been told that Auo had been put in a life support system.
We exchanged many phone calls in the morning as Auo began losing her pulse. Then she rallied. Irma asked to be allowed to take her phone into the ward. She put it on speakerphone and I talked to Auo for five or more minutes, explaining what was happening and telling her we loved her and were waiting to take her home. The doctors said that she probably had not heard me but Irma said that Auo moved her head and she saw a flicker of expression when I started talking to her and another when I said goodbye.
Now it is 15:34 and I am looking out of the window of my hotel room, which is Room 232; while talking to Anib on the line-phone on the window sill. Anib is crying and trying to find a way to make himself tell me that Auo has just died.
This is what I see: trees, smog and the back of the hotel sign. This is what I am looking at when I learn that my daughter is dead.
Naa and I will spend the rest of the day in our hotel rooms talking to each other and to Irma in conversations that flip from practical arrangements to trying to make sense of our loss, and from the past to whatever will be our future, in seconds flat.
Nothing will feel either real or solid. Everything will feel brittle and cracked.