There has been enough writing of the self or of circumstances I have often found myself trapped in,I think that the time now has come,to write about people who often go unnoticed in your lives,it is like oxygen,like you are always breathing,the blood is always flowing,the blood is getting oxygenated and then de- oxygenated and it gets purified,and its in your body,and you know it,you are breathing and you know you are,but we don’t really pay close attention to the flow of breaths we inhale and exhale,and that’s what is keeping us biologically alive and we know it,but how much importance does the breathing get,how much thanks,how much attention?
As I’m writing,believe me when I say that ,I’m not pausing,I’m not making things up,I’m not even thinking rationally or sequentially,I’m simply typing onto words that describe my very beautiful,my very epitome of sacrifice and suffering,my very solitary reaper of freshness ,love and care,my very own – Grandmother.
No,this is not her biography,this is not about describing her,this is not only about thanking her even,this is about telling you all that I am deeply moved about how she is ,I fail to realist what she is actually made up of,I mean,a woman in her 80s ,of course a woman of a different era altogether,she is supposed to be an orthodox woman in her late 80s, aware of her approaching years,and sitting in front of the television watching serials or mythological shows or the very beloved babajis on air and hardly getting out of her room and ordering her daughter –in-law to get work done and medicines presented.
This is quite ironic to how we often stereotype old ladies to be. But let me make it clear,my grandma is highly different. And just like I firmly say that I’m going to remain as the ‘ Different Misfit’ ,different from a lot many out here,in the most weirdest angles,but I got this from my granny,apart from the misfit,she is an old,weak woman,she is short,and her hair has still managed to not get older,I think her hair know well,what suits her appearance,she has good brown-orangish hair, and not to forget,her charismatic blue eyes,eyes to fall for. She keeps her hair tied in a neatly made bun and drapes herself well in decent looking saris. No lipsticks,no makeup,no perfume,no sandals. She chooses to be her natural self,in her chapals. Only accessory to her will be her purse. And with purse,I mean,not the blinging purses,but the small pouch type of purse,she keeps around her waistline,cutely tucked inside her sari petticoat.She is a magical figure,at least to me.
‘Granny,I’m here.Namaste.’, I said as I reached her place,while she was mopping the balcony floor.It had rained heavily.
She first didn quite seem to hear it,even though I was very loud and pitchy. I saw her mopping, the door was open. I repeated my greetings.
‘ Namaste. Here you are,my child!’, she replied with a 100volt smile pasted on her beautiful face.
I am happy that my mother was able to convince m to go visit my granny,that Sunday,because I was going to have my economics test the next day,so I refused at first,bu then she managed to take me there.I’m glad, I did.
She is in an age that you can never tell how much time one has got,and all you can do,,is live the day like its your last,I think this has kind of become the motto for my grandmother. She walks like a snail. Slow yet gracefully.She lives in Lodhi Road. She lives alone.The house is massive. There are 6 rooms in that particular floor where she lives,the ground and top floor too connected with the first.The ground floor is occupied by a family of 4,a kin to my granny.while she stays on the floor above,she is expected to be with herself only. My maternal uncle,my grandmother’s eldest son,lost his wife a few years back,he has two kids,big enough to go settle in Mumbai.My uncle has been a headache for the entire family because of becoming highly psychotic and depressed,that clearly reflects in how things have become ugly with his relationships.He moved out to Noida after the demise of my late aunt. I don’t remember the last time I saw him interacting with people of his family,let alone my granny. They are like sort of reclusive now.Although my granny wouldn’t still mind him coming to reconcile with her or talking or offering a shoulder,even after what all she has been through regarding my uncle,my uncle refuses to lock eyes with her.Well,that’s a different story altogether.
My grandmother lives alone,in such a big house ,where two families of 4 could easily accommodate themselves.the winds blowing enter the rooms that are empty and unlocked,and rap my grandmother in nostalgia ,but she stays strong.family photographs hanging on the walls,Pictures of Rhino,their late dog,finding its place on the walls,reminds her of how the family was,and always sans her.Yet,she is stoic and sturdy and never did she complain on these little details.
My granny has had a beautiful relation with my mother and her three daughters ,they are always there for her,its like after my granny has understood,that her daughters are now mothers themselves,she has realized,that she no longer needs to be on their head anymore,so my aunts and my mom herself is paying back to her,as being the reverse mother to her.It is a beautiful relationship they share.I sigh.
She got us tea and some snacks.She prepares them herself,despite having somebody to offer to help.She sits with us and talks and narrates news that she has got from here and there.She left the room when all of a sudden,out of nowhere my uncle pops up for some paperwork urgency,we greeted him,but we didn’t exchange anymore words.He leaves after a few minutes.
I was reading ‘The wedding’ , because I was sure,I was going to get bored because there was no sibling around,My dad was busy reading India Today and mom was accompanying my granny in preparing food. They later went to the terrace to see the traffic go by and have a good talk. They love to talk, trust me.While my mom carefully instructs granny to stay strong and be alright,I notice my grandma trying to control her tears,you could just make it out from her ****** expressions,her hands,quietly folded over another,and her head bowing down,she has never been confident and assertive,I had correctly judged.I ad overheard them talking,when I was passing by the room library searching for Sidney Sheldon.And that was when my respect for my granny grew,because in an age liker hers,the very innate ability to hold on,that perseverance,the strength ,the power of forgiveness ,I mentally touched her feet and hugged her,because I was in no mood to disturb her conversations.I passed by.
I was learning each moment. In that house,I have been a lot of times before,but this one time,that Sunday,I was feeling like home,like a school moreover,in a moral science class all night. I was done with my economics revision,and it was time for diner.She had prepared Hot chapatis and my ever favorite Paneer for the dinner.She paired paneer with yoghurt,that was a new yet crazy combination,I tried and I was enjoying it,not because it was THE combination,but I felt like it was her idea of how food tasted, like she always felt curd could fix everything,not potentially everything,but,It’d be stupid to object her.
The dinner was tasty.
She cleans up the entire house herself. Like I said,6 rooms and a balcony,is not a small thing.it is one strenuous task she agrees to take up,not occasionally.but everyday.She refuses to take a house help,despite her health conditions,because she wants to utilize her time or pass time in some way or the other. TV is the only source of color in her life.That keep her occupied. I salute you,granny.
I offered to do the dishes that day,but she saw me doing it,she came half running,half walking to stop me from doing it,and said this doesn’t look good,the guest doing it,and I was a princess to her,she asked me to step back,and I did not revolt,I knew,she did not have anything else to do except do them and sit and watch the sky and finally sleep . I stepped back.
I was reading my book,and there’s this part,when Noah shares that he still feeds the swan because he thinks Allie is the swan and she promised him to be there with him,so she finds her way through the swan.And I saw myself crying.i rushed to the balcony.Took a few deep breaths,sobered myself up,and a few winds blew,and I felt nice.
My granny was talking with my mother while my dad was listening like a puppy.i was reading,I could barely hear what she was talking about,and I didn’t want to even know what were they talking about,because the more I knew,the more anger built up,and the more I’d get sentimental and feel sorry for my grandmother.But no,she is not the one you’d feel sorry for,she was never wrong,and she isnt,and wont be,she is just a simple figure,an epitome of sacrifice and suffering and with such patience to be jealous of.We offered her to come and spend the time with us,and all her other daughters and her grandchildren,but she refused,she wanted to be in the house,take care f the house,she was just so emotionally attached to the building that had lost its meaning,it was just a HOUSE and nt a HOME.she wasn’t made to feel it was,she had no reason,but she still loved it there.
I still wonder,while I’m writing here about her today,she wont be able to read this gift I am giving her,giving her love back,what would she be doing? No,this isnt T V time,maybe making tea,what after it? She cannot read or write.She cant be on the phone all the time,then what? Maybe just sitting in the balcony? But today,its hot . then what? Just sitting on the couch,watching my grandfather's portrait hanging on the wall,I think she’ll brush off the dust on the garland and the painting maybe. Or she’ll re arrange the sofa covers or curtains. I don’t know. While we have so much to do,while people forget people everyday,while people make new friends,have so many tings to look forward to,we have so much access to **** our time and pass it away,but she ? she just stays this way and she just exists.
It was time to leave. My respect level for her had gone par average. I just wanted to stare at her for hours in silence,or maybe play with her,or maybe teach her pronounce some swaggy English **** words,I do that when she is at our place.She loves it with me.
As we were walking downstairs, I tried and rush and pause and rush and slow down again and again,to whether escape the moment,of the farewell,because it’d be hard,I could bet,and slow down so that I could see more of her.i just couldn’t get enough. In that moment,I swear,I loved her like a man loves a woman.But ine,was much more passive or hidden,I have always had issues with expression,and I regret that.
She could climb downstairs,the steps were steep and endless.She stayed there,while we went down,she bid us a goodbye,waving her hands like the flag of love ,like saying ‘ IT WAS GREAT TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE,I FELT SO BEAUTIFUL.YOU JUST FILLED THIS GAP I THOUGHT I’D SUFFER THIS WEEKEND.THANK YOU SO MUCH,I LOVE YOU,AND I DON’T KNOW,IF I SEE YOU AGAIN,BUT PLEASE BE IN TOUCH,AND LOVE EVERYBODY’. BUT SHE SAID ‘ bye’ .A LONGER,STRETCHED VERSION OF BYE ,THOUGH.
It was dark,I saw her waving,I was waving back,so was mom and dad,mom and dad rushed forward,while i was till bye-ing my granny. I thanked god that it was night time,an nobody could see the tears gushing down my face. While we leave in 3.she bids us adieu in just 1. Years ago,she’d be with 4 others,and now she is just single. Alone.By herself. Still not complaining.NEVER.
I wiped them .My tears,and was crying till I got into the car,people saw me weeping maybe.I sat down.Still sobbing. Trying not to let people or mom and dad precisely notice my tears ,and I wasn’t brave enough to tell them that I was crying because I thought it might be the last time I saw her or how a wonderful woman she is.The wind was blowing hard and cold on me,while I was listening to Dead hearts on the phone.like the universe was conspiring in making me cry my guts out . My reverence for that woman was getting higher and higher beyond measure.At the traffic signal,a little girl comes up to me,my head was leaning back into the car seat,like a drunk Peter van Houten,while she leaned against the car window glass too,I think she was the only one in the entire night,to actually see me crying,she smiled. I smiled back. She glanced at me for a few moments,I was still smiling at her,she asekd me if I had money,but I wasn’t carrying any then,so I said ‘I’m sorry’ without speaking.She understood and she smiled and left.Slowly and gradually the wind helped me in evaporating my tears,so that I didn’t have to manually wipe them off,because just in case,mom saw me doing that,I wouldn’t know how to respond.
Thankfully,I fell asleep in the car and as I reached back home,I felt a little lighter,I called up granny and informed we were home safe.[ she always wants us to inform her when we do] And she very sweetly said good night and a bye and then I thought to myself that HOW COULD SHE BE SO GENTLE AND NORMAL? I WAS SO JEALOUS OF HER RESIGNATION.I LOVE YOU GRANNY.
With a heavy heart and a new day to follow and with less percentage worries of the test the next day ,and more of how my granny would pass away the time and sleep with a smile on her face ,I looked at the walls,said my night prayer and rolled my eyes,and went off to sleep.
There’s no place like home... except Grandma’s .
an ode to the pure heroine i have ever come across.thanks granny