Ten years ago on this day she passed away. She was my best friend. My closest confidant. An ardent well wisher. With a loud mouth. Fair skin. And a giving love that holds my imagination to this day. She was my great grandmother.
It was in her arms that I grew. It was she who is said to have fed me with “Arai Keerai” ( a variety of greens, that she used to buy from the market for 5 paise ! She used to call me ‘5 paisa aria keerai’ !
I don’t know where she was born. However, I do know that she was wealthy. Regaling me with stories about her father’s horse drawn carriage, and my great grandfather’s whisking her away to marriage. I remember eager to see her through my school and college.
As age & small family feuds took a toll on her, she caught me by the neck one day, and told me sternly, “You will never ever fight with your brother. You and your brother are my hopes for this family’s glory to be restored”. It didn’t mean much to me back then. But today, her words ring in my ear every time a mood swing catches me and my brother on the wrong side.
With a penchant for teasing me, she used to tell me that I would marry a ‘bell bottom’! I used to take fancy to it until, she defined what she meant by ‘bell bottom’: “Anything other than a saree! The churidhar fit in right there. Which anyway is what my wife prefers these days. She was right. I married a bell bottom !
Its ten years since I last heard her speak. But her words ring in my ears even now.
- “If you need something, beg if need be. Never steal”.
- “Hard work has no substitute. Don’t bother about what the world tells you. It will always tell you something or the other”.
- “Respect every human being”
Values that shaped my belief system.
The stories that she used to regale me with are still fresh in my memory. I wonder if any man or woman has that story telling ability. An ability to hold a childs mind and inspire him to think and grow.
She stands guard, I know. In the most trying times. And I know, I have escaped with bruises when an arm could have been lost. In those times, I know for sure she is watching over me. My best friend. My closest confidant. With a loud mouth and fair skin. And a giving love that holds my imagination.
To this day. Especially this day.