Saturday, 29 December 2012


I am not here today
for I was never born
and I can never die

I am not here today
in this ordinary form

I am particle
and consciousness
in someone else's sky -

I am wings
I am flight
and this body
will surely die.

 © Shaista Tayabali, Singapore, 2012.

My dearest younger sister,
You travelled from Delhi to arrive here in Singapore. I was at Mount Elizabeth Hospital myself, a few days ago, filled with my usual combination of terror at the state of my scarred eyes and the immense joy of being loved. They say you 'passed away peacefully' this morning. Who chose those words, I wonder? I know so little about you. Only three things. You were a physiotherapist, you loved movies and you had a good friend who tried to protect you. Not knowing your name, we have named you Nirbhaya, the Fearless One.
Did you know that when she was 18, Frida Kahlo had an accident on a bus? An iron rod entered her left hip and exited between her legs. In later life, her gangrenous feet were amputated. But someone was carrying powdered gold on that bus and the glitter speckled her body, turning dark into light. She spent the rest of her life in excoriating pain, but through her art, purified that pain. There was no one to blame. It was an accident.
You drew out poison on a bus thirteen days ago. It was no accident. Was it the medical teams who battled to keep you here until today? I would not choose for you to stay. Not with that particular poison in your veins. Growing up in India, most of us experience some measure of that poison. I am no exception. It informs the way we move, the choices we make, for the rest of our lives. We become tortoises with lionhearts, instead of lions. We become elephants who never forget. We never forget.

Your sister, Shaista.


Ruth said...

Oh Shaista. Impossibly, you wrote something perfectly suited for this horror. Thank you, for this interior view. xoxo

Praying for you in your pain.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I am sending you prayers...the bus incident is so painful to know it really happened...thank you for your words of flight...from another Lupus body vessel...many blessings for 2013. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Shaista, only weeks ago you were mourning another heroic young woman's passing. Surely these events are becoming more frequent? Sadly so. I so love "I am...consciousness in someone else's sky". May her painful passing awaken enough people to save some other young women.

Cait O'Connor said...

This is very moving.

shaliniaspiring dreams25c said...

i don't know to write,my hands are trembling.but the incident that had happened two weeks ago like in this point of time..while i am watching harry potter..this is very moving and we can't change our future so easily,but we need to stand against this rapisis.

steven said...

i have followed this very human and then also as you suggest - not entirely human process - first with horror, then with compassion, and finally with an unknowing that with your words became a knowing. shaista i am grateful for your insightful thoughtful "in this world but not of it", understanding. steven

Relyn Lawson said...

I just wanted to pop by and wish you the happiest new year. May your 2013 be full of blessings, laughter, and happy surprises. Thank you for being a blog friend and a joyful part of my life.

Celestial Dreamz said...

Oh Shaista you always reach straight for my heart through your words ... and yes nirbhaya stays in our elephant memory ... in our lion heart ...

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