A note to appa 15 years after, on my memory

Sanjana Ganesh
4 min readFeb 28, 2022

Tw: Death

Hi Appa,

I just finished watching the last episode of Euphoria. It’s on an OTT platform. Do you know what that is? I’m sure you’ve been up to date on all that stuff wherever you are. You’re a generally tech savvy guy, aren’t you? No really, tell me. I don’t know.

In the final episode of the second season, there is a flashback scene where Rue played by Zendeya writes a letter to her recently deceased father, almost thanking him for his existence. She recounts her last moments with him, his last breath, the final tussle with the paramedics. She recollects a lovely line that her father tells her about memories existing outside of time. All she would have to do is close her eye and be with him.

Why didn’t you tell me any of this when you knew that you were going to die? I was 12. I had read Harry Potter. I knew what death in general meant.

Since you already had the date pencilled in your mind, I wonder if you ever thought of writing us some filmy lines before your final bow. It could have been useful to make art out of it and put my direction-less trauma to some use.

I feel like I want to be pretty forgiving and write this note without anger towards you. I want to instead tell you about what it feels like to not remember much about you except through stories that others have told me.

You should spend a day in my shoes, trying to understand what it is like to have memory that is basically a soggy piece of paper on the road after a rainy day- only few imprints of letters left but tonnes of brown dirty shoe marks.

It’s turning out to be pretty hard to keep the anger at bay. It’s very clear that I can’t remember anything because of you. When you died, you took about 50% of me away and all the memories that came with it.

Now, when I try to close my eyes like how Rue’s father asks her to, I can only see flashes without any time, context or dialogue.

My flashes show me moments when you bought Anusha and me a small inflatable pool, called chutney lovers chutney Mary (we don’t know why) and allowed us to wreck our wall with paints just because you thought we could/should wreck the wall.

I remember how you’d stretch your arms open so that we could run and jump on you for a hug and 10 million kisses after you’d return from some work trip. On how you’d regale us with stories of your childhood in Borla while massaging our hair. I remember our trips to the fern forest beaches in ECR where we could roll in the water and play in the sand for as many ever hours because there was nothing more to life than that.

I remember going to the dollar store in Besant Nagar with you to buy grape soda and learning to eat kimchi for the first time. Who can forget having to clean my puke after thulping 3 hard-boiled eggs a little too quickly. Ew. Yuck.

I remember learning the entire concept of a foreign dish called pasta and understanding how to pronounce mayonnaise and au gratin from you. I remember standing next to you, watching you make carrot sandwiches. I remember you kissing Amma on the lips many thousand times and telling her that she looks beautiful.

Then I begin recounting how the good days turned very difficult for you without a beer. How you'd show up to my tution plastered while having to pick me up or how you'd get accidentally stoned out of your wits on a family holiday. I remember how you would make me lie to Amma.

I close my eyes and instead think of the last days when you were not yourself. You were someone who was constantly trying to prove that you were okay with the struggle of being broken while failing miserably at being okay. You hated being helped. You hated the people closest to you who brought help your way. You didn’t want it. You couldn’t take it so you did what you thought was best.

I cannot coherently recall our last phone call. What did we talk about? Did you make a joke about me getting my first period? Did you tell me about which film to watch or about how we were going to the library and then to RM bakery after you come back? Did you promise to come home soon? Are you finally happy now?

Anyway, I hope you are well.