Warm, innocent smiles
Extra tight hugs,
Always remembering to make your favourite dish,
Being brazenly proud of your most trivial achievements,
Filling your childhood with unending love, kisses and happiness…
Grandparents are the best gift one can get.
My oldest memory with them is a faded one, it’s of Tatha and Paati holding me when I was a tot and we were in a garden in our Mysore Colony house. Is the memory from the picture or an actual one? I don’t know. But I can feel their love from that moment on.
Their love for me was extra, always extra. It wasn’t so much about the material things, it was the way they waited for me to get back from school so we could have lunch together, pushing me to pursue music and dance and making me feel like I was the best at it. Always giving me this confidence-high that I could do anything I wanted to and be a pro at it.
That shaped me.
I am a product of them.
Paati had a funda, no matter how small your achievements are, make it ten-fold and swell your chest with pride. ‘Cause why not?? She’d be out there telling the world how proud she is of anything that any of her grandchildren did. And I’ve come to believe whole heartedly, that when you make a deal of your achievements, the joy multiplies. So here I am, celebrating big and small things in life and it does make the happiness infectious.
They were my safe space.
You know how dramatically lonely kids feel when something goes wrong? Whether it was something in school or if I got a scolding from parents or fought with a friend, I knew I could go to them. Not that they would necessarily resolve it, but they’d be there for me.
They were my window to creativity in every form.
We attended classical music programs (kacheri), theatre plays, classical dance programs. I truly enjoyed it. I never once thought that kids my age weren’t doing that. I just tagged along and then started enjoying it over time. Of course, my bribe was that one samosa during the interval.
I’ve seen Paati being loved and cherished by everyone in the family! Always a slurry of relatives coming to meet her, even if it was just a pitstop. And she was perpetually prepared with her stock of bakshanam for any one who might visit.
She cooked well, my Paati or may be it’s just grandmums. They cook with their heart and it comes through in the food. Her food was like her, comforting and full of mushy love. And she never shied away from making a sweet dish taste sweet, like sweetness in her kisses. She had something special up her sleeve for every occasion, I try it now. (Not even close though!)
My Tatha was the sweetest soul, child-like even. He had this calm smile and beautiful eyes (something of a blueish-grey). The kind of person who’d always be kind and gentle; I see him in my dad. He was always dotting around me and my sister. He took life as it came. No sudden breaks! He had a routine, his morning prayers, newspaper & coffee, household chores, lunch, a nap, running around us, some coffee again, evening prayers and television. He followed that each day, as long as he could. Even in his last days, he never gave up on the newspaper!
Tatha was always there, dotting on me and my sister, taking us to the park, picking us up after school, eager to have us back home. My lunch hour used to be filled with moral stories that he’d narrate and I ate my food without a fight as long as he could keep making up the story. It was a thing, Tatha telling me stories, Paati fussing over how little food I’m eating and always adding that extra spoon.
Whatever he may have faced in life, he didn’t have a stress line on his face. If anyone signified cool as a cucumber, it was him. As I grow, I see how much value that adds and hopefully, some day, I can master his zen-like demeanor.
They had this ocean of love in their hearts and I was lucky to have it being showered on me for such a long part of my life.
There are so many memories I have of them and yet they seem so few. One of the more recent ones being how McDonald’s had newly come to India and on my insistence how we had enjoyed a McDonald’s Aloo Tikki Burger together!
I had seen loss before them but it’s the first time in my adult life that I felt it. It hit me so hard losing them one after the other. I realised then, what grieving was. I yearned for more time with them, I dreamt recurring dreams of them until I truly understood what it means when people are long gone but still stay with you.
They’re such an ingrained part of me that they’ll never really leave me…I will never loose them.
Paati used to say that she wanted a book written on her life. Damn I wish, I had taken notes back then!
Not a book, but a blog post today, on her birthday – 12.05.2021 ❤