This is the last post of the year. 2008…what a year it has been. Let alone the news and events like nuclear deal, IPL, Olympics, polls, Obama, terrorism, recession, etc. Even at a personal level the year has been quite eventful.
Two life changing things happened to me this year and these involved the two most important people in my life.
In February, I got married to my college sweetheart after almost a year and half of convincing her parents- It had to be the most cherished moment of my life.
In October, my Ammumma (nani) passed away. She meant the world to me and it has been my biggest loss till date. Her departure has left this huge unfillable void in my life.
I met up with an old friend of mine in a coffee shop today, and during one of those mindless conversations- this came up. He casually asked me whom would I dedicate the passing year to. Probably he just said it as an uncaring comment and didn’t expect any answer for it.
But that just kept me thinking- till I finally wrote this blog.
Here it goes… If I had to dedicate this year – I would dedicate it to my nani.
Nani, I will tell you a secret today- as a kid I read a story once which said that God loves kids the most and because he can’t be there with each one of them all the time, he sends his favourite angels to take care of them as their nanis.
Its not that I believed in these fairy tales, but this one just seeped quietly into a corner of my mind and just stayed there.
How else can one explain the love and joy that you brought to our lives?
Nani, I remember that you were the only one who used to believe in the lame excuses that I used to make to avoid the school as a kid. You always tried your best to negotiate with ma on my behalf.
Your energy was infectious. We never needed an occasion to devour your ‘halwa’ or ‘kheer’, we just had to mention it and you would ever lovingly indulge us with your delicacies. You made it look so effortless that you put the younger lot to shame.
Let not people mistake you for a docile housewife. You are the most powerful and assertive women I have come across. You stood like a pillar with your husband, almost single handedly raising seven children, so that he could become one of the most successful lawyers in the state. I have heard the stories of how you would run the huge household with almost an iron fist- taking care of the huge joint family, the bungalow, the properties, the fields, dogs, cows, workers and the cars.
You were so well traveled and had so many stories to tell about so many cities that I suspect that I got the travel bug from you. From holidaying in Kodaikanal, to playing ‘ping pong’ in colonial Ooty, to helping your son settle in IISC Bangalore, to getting a major surgery done at AIIMS, to accompanying your husband on his trips to cities as distant as Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Mysore, Roorkee and to god knows where all, you have seen it all.
I am told that, when it came to some of the most important personal and professional decisions, your husband trusted you the most for advice. Though you went to school only till fifth standard (I know how much you regretted it) your common sense was astounding.
How can I forget how you used to stay up with me all night in my eleventh hour preparations for board exams. You almost fell sick by the end of my exams. If it wasn’t for you- I would have never survived them.
As a kid, whenever I had to buy a toffee or chips or comics or anything that my parents didn’t approve of- I would always come to you for money. Tell me something, you kept the change in a knot on your ‘pallu’ only for me, right? Because you stopped doing it as I grew up. Oh how much I miss that knot nani… it almost opened up the doors to my happiness. I wish I had access to something like that even today.
You proved that modernity has nothing to do with age. From short skirts to love marriages, you had such liberal and progressive views on each one of them, that if I put them here, some fundamentalist party might raise a protest against you. For you, the terms like ‘generation gap’ were non existent. Your ability to look at things from our perspective made you so endearing. No wonder, all my friends bonded so well with you and instinctively called you ‘nani’. I must add that you had a charming effect on female friends of mine and I leveraged it to the maximum effect. Wink.
I remember you weren’t in your best health around my marriage time. While we were concerned about how you will travel to Jaipur, you were the cheerleader of the party. You packed your best clothes before any one of us and what a power packed performance you gave there. We had to restrain you from dancing in baraat but from the corner of my eye I could still see you doing a jig in the car.
On the night of the reception you were the first one to walk up the stage to get clicked with the couple (By the way nani, I framed that pic and it now adorns my living room). You were the most beautiful woman that night- and even Tanu would agree with me on this.
Nani, a night before you left us- you spoke to Tanu for good fifteen minutes (she misses complaining about me to you) while I was busy watching some stupid show on the TV. I thought I would finish that and talk to you in leisure… but that was the biggest mistake of my life.
If I could undo just one thing in my life…I would have spoken to you that night.