I call these posts nothing.  Sometimes they emerge coherent and appear to be about something.  But they really are one vast stretch of nothingness in the grand scheme of things.  I am reminded of the idea of “nothing” encore while reading bassist Victor Wooten’s book called The Music Lesson where an interesting cast of characters make successive incursions into Mr Wooten’s life and talk to him about rhythm, intonation, tone, dynamics and other aspects of music. 

One of his lessons is about nothingness.  The teacher who teaches him about the importance of nothing, of nothing being the base (or bass – an instrument that forms a base).  She highlights for him how the addition of zero or nothing to any number multiplies it by ten. 

When nothingness is all pervasive we start to sense the things that matter, the things that count. 

Death brings us face to face with nothingness.  It settles in like several zeroes stacking up behind the living, mutiplying their grief tenfold several times over, as hopes and dreams crash, as wave upon wave of memories crash over us, splintering into several pieces that can never be glued together again.  And words…words can never express how we feel.

My dear cousin, only 19 years of age, is no more.  He lost his life on the first day of March, 2010 leaving us all in tears, unable to make sense of it all.  I did not know him well.  I had only seen him on a couple of occasions, once when he was very young, four or five years old.  I remember him moving around the house, never without his notebook and pencil, looking like the little scholar he grew up to be.  I met him again a few years ago.  This time he was a lovable teenager doing justice to his name – Anurag (love).  He spent several fun filled hours with my daughter who was four at the time.

Now he’s gone.  I never had a chance to get to know him well.  His mom is my mausi (my mom’s youngest sister).  The age difference between her and my mom is immense and my parents have loved her as though she’s another daughter.  I have always been close to her and since hearing the news all I can think of are my memories of her, of how much I enjoyed her company while growing up.  She was always smiling, always cheerful, very giving and fiercely protective of every family member.  She made every summer vacation spent in her company memorable for my brother and I.  I could never imagine a grief of such immense proportions ever crossing her angelic countenance. 

I am stunned and speechless at the unfairness and senselessness of it all.  Every word sounds trite, every feeling inadequate and yet one reaches, one tries to order the events, attribute a cause, find someone or something to blame, wondering why if there’s a God would he allow such a thing to happen to someone who should never have experienced such grief, seen such tragedy.

And when all wondering hits a grim brick wall one sinks to the ground in utter hopelessness, the meaninglessness of it all. 

The sea of nothingness appears like the only reality with no lessons to offer, no takeaways, no morals to the story.  That’s when the things that count emerge in sharp focus; the people around us, the need to never take anyone we love for granted, to live every moment like it’s our last, to dance on the beaches that surround the inky waters of nothingness.



  1. Every word does sound trite, but reaching out is what good friends do..and so I send you a big, warm hug and a prayer in my heart. All that is lovely perhaps NEVER dies, but just passes into other loveliness.Also, everyone who is in agony, trying to find a thing or cause to attribute their agony to..trying to make sense of it not half as successful, but those with words are able to make the dots connect in some minuscule way. It is not for nothing, it just just a human way of trying to attain "closure" for what it's worth. No one should sink to the depths of misery thinking that their reactions are, live through every moment of your anguish, and then you'll see how the things that matter fall into focus.HUGS

  2. Don’t know what to say, except that one is with you in your grief. And need one say it again – no one ever has, with such eloquence and such grace elevated nothing and its form to a state of stark ennoblement, even if with such shattering impact as in the present offering.

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