Updated: Nov 7, 2022
Many of us lose our friends and family every passing day, but not all of us try to completely wipe our memories clean, considering most of them to be nothing more than passing clouds, in fear of being sunk in sorrow. Rather, we cherish our encounters, encapsulate our emotions and remember them.
“Passing Clouds” by Chethana Nagulapalli shows how terribly a few of us are trying our best to wipe our memories clean in the pursuit of keeping ourselves happy and what it means when one realises the insignificance of some relationships.
It’s been more than two years since he passed away and not a moment passes by without recalling memories of him. They say we are rarely gifted with a perfect partner. I was until God took him away and now, the past feels like nothing short of a dream that never happened.
Staring at the cloudy sky that drizzled through the window as we rushed home on a train, I thought about the time we first met, under a lovely tree covered by the unending bright blue blanket of the sky with white cotton clouds in the background.
He was a gentleman and understood me unlike anyone else. We had been together for four years before our families agreed and we got married. Everything was picture-perfect until his car crashed and so did my life.
Calling out to me by my name, my sister who is five years younger than me asked, “Do you want to give him a shot?”
Less than a year after the accident, my father vowed to get me married using all his power. In the beginning, it felt as if he cared and really wanted me to be happy but as time passed, it became more evident that he not only feared me being alone but also started to think of me as a burden to bear. Supporting him stands my mother, to whom being individual and independent seems either short-lived or unacceptable. I honestly don’t understand and I don’t care.
Then comes my sister, who is in such a rush to get married and settle down with no idea as to what she will do next. The little champ perceives marriage as a goal rather than inception. Now, I’m supposed to marry a guy whose first marriage didn’t work, only to pave the way for her. To piss my father even more than he already is, my mother declared she wouldn’t get my sister married until I’m remarried.
Staring at her with a tired expression on my face, I didn’t answer. Looking around, she said, “Have you ever noticed how we can compare the train to our life, sister?”
Presuming a sermon is on the way, I continued my silence as she continued, “If we perceive the passengers as people we meet in life, as much as we like the journey and our companions, sister, the journey will eventually end and we must bid goodbyes. Clinging onto the train might take us back, but the journey is done.”
And then, she added something that I will never forget, “Unfortunately, you were married to a passing cloud sister. Do not cling on to him. There is so much more to explore and live!”
I know, almost all of them who give me their enlightenment, do it in the hope to help me move on in life, but the way they do it is just awful. Sometimes I wonder, if it was me who died, would everyone I know also perceive me as a passing cloud in their lives and forget me as soon as it’s convenient? I agree, being stuck like me isn’t ideal, but categorising everyone as passing clouds with no sort of emotion or memory after their demise isn’t just bad, but also terrifying.
For good or bad, the least we can do is to honour them in our memories. I understand individuals strive to be happy but it shouldn’t be at the expense of not having enough strength to even bear the loss of a person. It is disrespectful to pretend that they were insignificant to keep ourselves optimistic. As much as I wanted to say this, I knew her young mind was not in any position to listen to my point.
Pondering over her question and her perspective for a moment, I thought, by her logic, how does it even matter if it is this guy or some other guy! I simply replied, “Yes.”
Honestly, I no longer have any preference except for the hope that he is good in terms of his character and in the process, I would make my family happy too. This was what they have been waiting for and at last, I would rather give it to them, to not only make them happy but also to stop getting life lessons from my kiddo sister. Apparently, I feel I’m nothing more than a passing cloud to them too.
This anthology is available in paperback & ebook.