I sometimes wonder how quarantine would have been if my grandmother was still around. Without any doubt, I can say that all our lives would have been so much brighter. Not that, most of us would have been around her all the time, but she would have made sure she was in touch with each and every one of us almost every day and somehow spread joy in any way possible. Although, My grandfather would have been the happiest.
Its almost been three years since my grandma passed away but it still feels like she’s around, just unable to converse. She comes in my dreams most of the nights and it's just so wonderful, it’s like we are back in time and then I wake up disappointed. It's funny how life just goes on with or without somebody.
My Grandma was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, not the kind that can be cured easily. However, she fought till the end but alas, age was never on her side. Those four months were the most difficult months, not just for her but for our entire family. It was a nightmare but my grandmother was never scared, not for a second. I will never know how she was so strong. So strong that when the doctor told her that she has leukaemia, she smiled and she said: “ Oh Leukemia, my mother also had the same thing”. She called all her siblings to tell them she was ill and she did not shed one tear. In fact, she was the one who broke the news to my grandfather too.
It wasn’t an easy battle because no one expected her to get sick. She was always the strong one even with all her leg pains and backaches. She loved cooking and working all the time. I mean she did not love working obviously, none of us do but she always did everything to keep everybody comfortable even if she wasn’t, without complaining at that moment. Sometimes when I went to my grandparents’ house and asked my grandfather where she was, he’d say “She’s either in the bathroom or kitchen”. The kitchen was her workshop. She just loved cooking, and people who love cooking often love feeding, I assume because I always went to my grandma’s house for lunch and on the days I did not, I would get a call from her saying: “ Why didn’t you come today?” and she would tell me what she cooked that day to get me to come. Ah, how I miss those phone calls and definitely those hot meals.
Fiona, Felicia( My two girl cousins) and I went to the same school, and after school, when we went back home, there would either be something exciting or something boring to eat, but our grandma made sure that there was always something for us to eat and she would be in the kitchen making coffee for my grandfather.
Not a single day went by without meeting her or talking to her. She was so comforting and warm. I still remember how she used to come and hug us when we were crying, she would just hold us so nicely and we would just put our face on her lap and cry and get her saree wet but she would never let us go.
’Not letting us go’ reminds of an incident, apparently this once, my grandma, her friend cum neighbour Shenoy aunty as we all called her and a two or three-year-old me, we were going in an auto to pay the electricity bill and as the auto tried taking a steep turn, the auto happened to skid and fall and I was sitting on my grandma’s lap and it fell on the side we were sitting, and my grandma held me so tight, she did not let me go, and afterwards we found out that her hand had gotten fractured. I was too small to appreciate how selfless my grandma was, she was just the best, not just selfless but she genuinely cared about everybody.
This once when Joel was studying in the US and got stressed about his thesis and exams, she woke up at 2 or 3 am in the morning to light candles on the altar and pray for him UST.
She is the pure definition of unconditional love. She taught us so many things, She always said: “Even if you have just one slice of bread, you should always share it with everyone around”. She loved feeding everybody, she not just nurtured her kids and grandkids but a lot of her siblings’ children, friends’ children. They used to come and live with them, and I’m sure everybody felt at home. She made sure they got what they wanted, there were times when she even ran out to the main road to stop the bus for Joanna didi and Neilu baba so that they finished their breakfast before getting on the bus.
She treated everybody the same, Of course, she loved Fiona, Felicia and I the most even though we troubled her day in and day out. I still remember her saying this to my mother in the hospital “If something happens to me or daddy, Fiona, Felicia and Mona will miss us the most” It is definitely true because we spent so much time together, those were the best days of my life.
There were so many things we couldn’t tell our parents but could go and just tell her. She definitely didn’t keep it to herself, she did not believe in secrets at all. My Grandfather used to call her “All India Radio” but I think it’s a genetic disorder. My friends will definitely agree.
My grandma was funny and super witty, she could make any dull day a fun one just by saying some random thing. She was full savage also, she would tell you the truth, no matter what.
She might not have studied much, or gotten a lot of exposure as I have, but she is a perfect example of a good human being, an amazing daughter, a marvellous sibling, a caring mother, ever-loving grandmother, and a lovely wife to my grandfather. She’s my inspiration. As a human, I would only want to be like her. Keep people comfortable, love everybody and to be content.
But I’ve come to realize that you never really “get over” someone you love so deeply, you just get used to their absence, the hurt. The pain never really goes away. Every Christmas, Easter and especially St. Mary’s Feast, I miss my grandma so much, none of these festivals will ever be the same again. But it doesn’t mean we’re sulking all the time. She’s left us the most precious gift anybody could ever leave for us, it’s a huge bag full of memories.