For a very long time, I never realised the town had a different name. For me, it never mattered. It was her place of residence and that is all we knew during our growing up days. For us, it was enough. In fact, me and my sister never cared to know her name as well, for a very long time. Again, it doesn’t matter as names and relationships don’t always go hand in hand. Not for me, not for my sister either. She was our dear Granny, my mother’s mother and there lies the inherent respect that we derived and which deemed to exist forever.
We visited her and grandfather during our summer vacations, once in a couple of years. We lived far away but the connect was somewhere, ethereal to say the least. My grandfather was a reputed personality in the adjoining areas surrounding the town and widely respected. I and my sister used to be in awe of the palatial house they lived in and where my mother was born and raised. I am still in awe of that place, I don’t think we can afford to build a house like that in the city, even in today’s economical surge of possessions. The other day, I told my wife that the kitchen in the house used to be the size of our master bedroom, so it’s now easier for you to understand why we were so awe struck. She was the queen of the house and we all ran around like scattered pedestals from a garden of blooming flowers.
The house was perhaps the starting point for the current generation in our family that has grown up and is established in different parts of the world. Our cousins lived in different places and our visit was similar to a reunion – catch up, play pranks, have fun, irritate and disturb my grandfather’s afternoon siesta, and get the flak for it as well. But, nothing changed as our granny used to be at the back of us, supporting our trivial acts of childhood. All that and more, today belongs to the world of folklore.
I will never quote as being very close to her. Distance is one factor, second we did not belong to the classic generation where a spate of people lived under the same roof – grandparents, parents, cousins, relatives. But, the little moments spent with her during our early years will we etched as golden moments in our lives.
As we grow older, she grew old as well. Ironically, the sad part in the happiness of we growing up is the difficult episode of watching our parents growing old. Inevitable and excruciatingly believable, painful at the same time. She went through a similar phase, we lost our grandfather few years back which obviously was a big jolt in her life. From being the queen of independent living, I saw the transition that relegated her to the confines of four walls and very few people around her. Not that love diminished, it’s just that times were changing and she was part of the usual escapade.
With a life lived long enough to watch her children and grandchildren grow up and leading a fulfilling life, were indeed the high points of her illustrious life. Most significantly, her contribution is unsurpassable as we don’t exist if she doesn’t. A unhinged legacy.
Some people don’t leave us, they just distance themselves to keep vigil and see that we are safe. A mother is irreplaceable and her loss will be felt. As for her influence in our lives, time will make the statement at an apt hour of realisation (it does already!).
Paatti, please rest in peace and help us to remain blessed.