....my ode to the woman who made me what I am today... this I wrote when she left me on a cold January morning in 2004... sharing it now...
Now that you are no more; I try to read between the lines.
As your pyre was torched, I recalled my first encounter with death. It was Koka’s and I was a kid. By no means I could comprehend why people were mourning and grief stricken. I wondered why Koka had to go, leaving us behind; leaving his favourite belongings aside – his spectacles, his bunch of keys, his magnets and his huge collection of Reader’s Digest magazines. And you would explain “…. When you go to Heaven you cannot take anything along with you.” It was not easy for me to acknowledge the ways of life at that tender age. I’d say, “No, Aita, when you die, I’ll reserve a truck and send all your favourite things – the new lightweight electric iron, the mixer-grinder, the oven to God for you.”
Aita, you had an ageless endurance, a quality I’d like to imbibe.
There were many questions to be asked…There were many stories to listen…There were many bits and pieces to know…There were many recipes to learn….And there were many feelings to understand…
There have been times when I’ve hurt you immensely, by fault or by default. We have misunderstood each other. But wasn’t it amazing how honestly we made amends and became friends again! Yes, we quarreled. And I realized it only brought me closer to you. Because Aita, I also realized that you quarrel with only those whom you love and care for the most.
I thought of you as a “terror” as a child. But now I realize how essential and necessary was it for you to “terrorize” me. Today I am a strong woman…. No… Aita, you got me wrong… I am not beating my own trumpets… I was complimenting you rather!
I want a shoulder as broad as you. To take up any challenges, to fight against all odds, to see the lowest of life, to go through the deepest of sorrow and to bear the biggest of loss. And yet stand upright and strong, without giving up. Because for you Aita that was not the end of the road.
I’ll miss you always Aita.
I’ll miss your warmth… I’ll miss your love… I’ll miss those lovely chocolate cakes, those caramel puddings, those butter biscuits and I’ll also miss my favourite vegetable “tenga”
Its all the small things you taught me, by your actions- spoken and unspoken; which has made me what I am today. And how ashamed I am that I never thanked you enough. I am doing it now Aita. Thank you for all that you have done for me. There isn’t anything more that I could’ve asked for.
Aita, I am still trying to find that particular truck which will take your belongings to Heaven and also my salutation to you.
I can see you smiling at me Aita. And I know you will be with me always.
AITA - Grandmother
Tenga - A sour curry made with lentils and tomatoes.... for non vegetarians fish can be added.