In a touching post published by Humans of Bombay recently, RJ Rohini Ramnathan opened up about grief and loss, after her husband — Kaushik Iyer, a creative maverick in the field of advertising — passed away in 2017.
Ramnathan said that after Iyer’s sudden death, she kept thinking, ‘why him?’. The Humans of Bombay post quotes her saying, “I thought it’d be simple– I’d found the one and we’d live happily ever after. So, when this happened, I didn’t know how to be. I’d usually go to Kaushik for advice, but he wasn’t there…
I was feeling so many emotions– shock, pain, denial, anger and then I just became numb. I wanted to block everything. Thankfully, his parents and mine, simply let me be and grieve in my own way."
After 14 days of mourning, Ramnathan attempted to distract herself from the pain of losing her husband, and threw herself into her work. She resumed work in full flow, from filming to doing interviews. She put up a tough exterior and even managed to smile, but what people didn’t see was, when she returned to her empty home, she would break down completely. This followed for ten months, after which Ramnathan went into therapy.
While therapy helped, Ramnathan said that piecing her life together after Iyer’s death was excruciatingly challenging. She missed him while making the smallest of life choices, like which couch to pick up, and was reminded of him by everything — be it the process of filing out forms where she had to now mark her as single and not married, or in simple conversations, when something came up which she knew only Iyer would understand.
Iyer’s most favourite city was New York, and the couple had often talked about relocating to the big apple. After his death, Ramnath embarked on a journey to that city, to understand why Iyer was so fascinated by it. She tells Humans of Bombay, “Being there was like living the future we could never have; I hated it.
But it was also important because being there made me embrace my emotions instead of blocking them out. Slowly, I started putting myself first; I knew Kaushik would have wanted that."
Ramnathan and Iyer first met through common friends and soon started dating. Ramnathan recounts that Iyer soon became her closest friend, and after being together for three years, the couple decided to get hitched. In the four years of their marriage, Ramnathan claims they lived in love, travelled often, and made many memories together.
It has been four years since Ramnathan had tried to begin again after Iyer’s death, and although the process has been difficult, she has learned to keep him alive in her. “Over time, I started finding him in the little things– when I cracked a joke I knew he would get, in poetry, and in the first bite of rasam-chawal, his favourite. And I still celebrate him. Every year on his birthday, his parents and I spend the day at an orphanage; Kaushik loved kids," she explained.
Ramnathan said that she had had the privilege of sharing her life with Iyer for a very short while, but in that time, Iyer had given her so many beautiful memories, which will last a lifetime.