Few of us can articulate the first time we fell in love. We remember the person and the moment very fleetingly. It stays like a pretty, virginal memory. Untouched and pristine. All of us are hopeful when love begins. Some are lucky to keep falling in love many times over, finding themselves anew each time.
Love truly is a voyage, of self-discovery, a journey of learning about your skin, your fingertips, your heart and your eyes. Almost like, for the first time you know they speak to you in a language close to your heart. You feel new and energised as you sail the soft sea of emotions.
In death too is the exact proportion of emotions and sensations. Just that we never forget witnessing death. Especially the end of a loved one. It is like navigating the choppiest sea of loss. This is not fleeting like love. This stays etched. The hard memories of closure remain with us forever, as we come face to face with the death of a loved one. The closure.
Very few of us are comfortable to write about death. It appears obscene for many to discuss this subject. Grief appears to most like a disease that you must hide to protect yourself against the judgement of a world that is uncomfortable with discussing pain. The idea of “suffering” seems like a contagious disease that must be kept under wraps. The bubble must not burst.
I wish to break the barrier and speak about death
I don’t remember the exact time or feeling when I fell in love. But with my eyes wide open, as I stay on alert and in inane conversations, my heart travels back to the last moments of my Baba’s death. It stays like a reminder of how fragile we all are. It’s clear to this day.
I was there, with him, as he breathed his last. I didn’t articulate what it would be like to become fatherless forever, hereon. So I tried hard to revive him. I called his doctor late at night, lamenting that he was still warm but his eyes were shut. My Ma sat on a chair and told me “he is not there anymore”. I kept telling her she was wrong.
I must admit that the last days of Baba, were easy for us all, he wasn’t speaking anymore. Or else, he would constantly lament wanting to go back to his childhood home in Bangladesh, of which he had no Google map or a real address, but he seemed to know the way back there. I felt frustrated that it was the same story on a loop. I was so terribly wrong in feeling so.
I recall him lying still on the bed, he couldn’t turn sides, over time, he had huge blisters on his back, that I was frightened to touch, lest it hurt him. I wanted to be as gentle as I could. I didn’t understand that I was maybe slowly accepting the reality of his dated days. I wasn’t cognitive enough about the final closure. Gradually that day, as he left us, his body turned cold. The electric circuit had stopped in his body. He was cold like ice and still. Just like the large almirahs around him. Silent, heavy and in resignation to that space within the four walls of transience.
If you ask a woman who lost her husband, a child who lost his mother or father, or a friend who is no more, most of the bereaved people can recall the end of their loved one, like a crystal clear memory that never seems to fade away.
Death isn’t easy to articulate or describe. Therefore, I make no attempt to even remotely describe what the parents of the four young executed Kurdish youth feel like today in Iran. What must it be like for the mother to hold her son’s cold body in her arms? One lacks articulation in describing this feeling of total disintegration. After all, our children are us. Flesh and blood.
As the civilised world mourns the executions in today’s time and age, the families will remain in mourning forever.
According to reports, the families of the four Kurdish political prisoners who faced death sentences were summoned to Evin Prison in Iran, for a meeting, a sign of the imminent execution of their children.
The notorious Evin Prison is known for chronic overcrowding, severely limited hot water, poor ventilation, and infestations of cockroaches and mice.
The Hengaw Human Rights Organization reported that Pejman Fatehi, Mohsen Mazloum, Mohammad (Hazhir) Faramarzi, and Vafa Azarbar are scheduled to meet their families for the last time at Evin, where they face imminent execution after receiving death sentences from Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court.
Amnesty International earlier condemned their arbitrary detention since July 2022. The organization reported that the men were arrested by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence. This started last year with the audacity of a young Kurdish girl’s visible hairline. She was picked up by the morality police and beaten to death. As the world watched in horror and shame, the gruesome manner of violence and hatred towards women. The men who supported them were arrested and brutally murdered.
The Islamic Republic, which has the highest rate of executions in the world after China, has executed 90 people just from December 2022 to January 2021. In a recent revelation, UN experts disclosed that at least 834 people were executed in Iran in 2023, with eight of them linked to nationwide protests.
Therefore, making my point, few can recall love stories with so much clarity or emotion as much as we feel the end of a close human being lost forever to death.
I don’t know the four boys but I can’t forget the slumping shoulders of the elderly father walking towards the prison gate in the wee hours, after the execution of his child. We owe an apology as human beings for this tragedy of misplaced power as the family of these executed youths will never be the same again. They won’t ever forget the ending.
Mohua Chinappa is an author who runs a podcast called The Mohua Show.