My grandmother, for the second time today, is the subject of my writing. The first time I wrote a few lines on 'ammaji' (that is how I, and almost half of the world addressed her), was almost twenty years back. She was the subject of my poem in class eight and I vividly remember the pen portrait I had created. And twenty years down the line, I sit to recreate her memories once again.
As an infant I probably spent hours in her lap, was lulled to sleep by her endless crooning-none of which I remember. But I do recall the aroma of those hand made sewaiyas that she dried in the sun and packed in little plastic bags for us to carry back at the end of our holidays.
I do remember how she filled ladles with oodles of 'ghee' to be served with hot paranthas and how my father loathed the very idea of adding so many calories to the already oil-drenched paranthas. Ammaji never got tired-of showering love and food on her sons and her grandchildren and of picking on her daughter-in-laws in her typical manner.
"Oh!What a ruthless mother she is!", she would scream every time we were given a handful for a little mischief here and there. But most of all I remember her for that one slap that she instinctively gave me when I put my finger in an open fuse to see how an electric shock felt!That was the first and the last time, I think, she hit me, for I remember no other incident. Was she repentant? I was too small to know, but wondered always. As years passed by, I remember my efforts at teaching her English, all of which only ended in a lot of no sense and zero results. But among all the episodes, I must mention the one in which,while in college, I was a die-hard fan of Sachin Tendulkar, and had a book mark of the master, which happened to be seen by ammaji. She was instantly on high alert and bombarded me with questions on this one 'photo' of a boy in my book! To add to the fun, I told her he was the one I had chosen to be her grand son-in-law. She turned around and adjusted her bun, " Is he a brahmin?"
What ensued , need not be mentioned, for I'm sure, the hilarious turn of events is much predictable....So, in all these years ammaji never grew old. Or so I thought. She still had the energy to nurse me for a week when I was sent home from hostel on contracting viral. But she did grow old, on the day my grandfather passed away. She never remained the person she was. For seven years, hence, she battled to tell the world her tales. But listeners were few.
Even as her physical capabilities diminished, she managed to find her piece of joy in my marriage and in the birth of my son. She continued to grope for herself, as she fought with forgetfulness, a possible alzhiemers. In one of my visits just before her death, I had an argument with her, a sort of a fight-a fight with an old woman who couldn't remember much. On my next visit, she could hardly recognise me and before I could pay her another one, she was gone. She died even before she could witness the realization of one of her dearest dreams-the marriage of my uncle's daughter whom she loved so much.
Three years since she snapped all ties with our World,I move on. I remember a lot of her, but most of all I remember that one big fight I had with her towards the fag end of her life. I wonder if she forgave me for that-I only wish you have....ammaji.