“Salma, koxi asa? Tumka mell-nu khushi zalli, Dev borem korum.”
The main language of the Goans which also happened to be the language of my lovely first love, late Danny.
Danny was my main man. The only man I could confidently peck and kiss on the forehead. The man that I could hug so big and take around the gardens of beauty, while he marveled around the beauty of the gardens, I would feel happy to be pushing him around that wheelchair, a majestic wheel chair that had newspapers, medicine, it was more of a store.
I met Danny in September 2015 and it was love at first sight. He taught me how to cry on his shoulders, how to comfort me, how to be a better being. He taught me about love and life, his words were sweet laddoos. Being with Danny was fulfilling and I would never get bored of going back to him day after day, my bank account going completely empty, a student’s savings (torn and little).
But Danny taught me how me how to take life positively, how to keep it calm, how to be an idiot where possible, how to learn to listen to people for in every listening there is a lesson learnt, how to appreciate and be amazed with people’s opinions, how to tread on the path on righteousness, how to love and never expect to be loved back, how to fall in love and maintain that togetherness for more than a lifetime…
Danny, my love. You have left me with Meena. But I promise to take care of your wife, to love her and be with her, to smile and cry with her, to give her the best that I can. Your death made me weak for some time, I cried, I was broken but maybe that is all that you needed at that particular moment, your moment, the 6th of May moment, the moment of another life.
The last time I was speaking of you to a close friend and I felt that I was not in a good state of mind. I could not get through your phone and at some point, I gave up. But I was far from you, Eldoret-far, I could not depict why you never answered, why you have been quiet all of a sudden or was it that you got a new grand-daughter that took my place? But…
Little did I know that you had already received the call, from the Creator above. That your time was up and Salma would never see you again. Danny, the four walls initiative was meant to cater for all the old people but you melted my heart so much, you stole my attention so much, you took me in your world, you made me vulnerable, you conquered my soul, you, oh you, were something else.
When I came to visit Meena after your death, my heart felt weak. She was at the Chapel praying for you, offering mass and when the nuns saw me they indicated to me to get in and support her. But how could I? How could I support Meena when my own knees failed me, when I was the one crying?
I took a look at the statue of Mary, I remembered how much we would debate about Islam and Christianity and I felt tears roll down my eyes. Danny, you were my grandpa and no religion could separate that bond, nothing, we were just the perfect set and I was so glad that even the other Goans and Indians that I saw around told me “so this is Salma, the one Danny endlessly talked about” I felt a certain level of belonging. While I pushed Meena’s wheelchair, I noticed her eyes were swollen, and all she could tell me is “Salma you are my family now, our Danny is gone.”
Danny, you left me with so many memories. Do you remember when you would tell me about your past and how Shilpa would bore you with her scolding and you would tell me and Meena that, “This Shilpa, look at her hair. It looks like some porcupine spikes”. We would laugh and Meena would try to calm you down, to tell you to stop being so mean on her.
I loved your nature. You spoke your mind. No one could trigger your thoughts. And this love that both of you had, it was coffee and juice. While one was striving to be cold, the other tried to maintain the warmth. 52 years of marriage is not a short period of time and you guys made it. With or without kids, with or without a family, with or without anyone else. Love still remains to be for the birds and Meena-Danny.
Danny, who will now tell me to always express my thoughts? Who will tell me to always be myself? Who will tell me that, “Salma, you are my munchkin, you keep moving, we shall not only see you go to Malta, you will travel the world with your man someday. Salma, I pray that you don’t get just a handsome man, you need somebody whose intelligence matches yours, and you need a hero”.
I remember you were the first person I told about my selection to attend 33 sixty programme in Malta, the first person I always needed blessings from, the first person that I would turn to when I would feel a certain heaviness in my soul and I would need to speak it out.
Danny, my heart is in smithereens. Small pieces, fragile and un-made. I feel like I have not been the best of grand-daughters, I have not done enough for you as you have done for me. I feel that just writing down your love story for the world to see was not too much and at that moment, you were so elated with me and you gave me two precious gifts and a love letter. “Salma, we reap what we sow, May God bless you, a beautiful soul in a world of hyenas and vultures. You don’t belong here; I will take you to my home one fine day”.
There are so many things that I have kept unsaid and I don’t want to keep writing on and on. You know how emotional I am and yes, I am exactly doing that now, crying. I love you and you were and will always be my first love>3