My mother informed me that today's her mom's death anniversary. Or death-day (as popularized by Nearly Headless Nick :p) and I brought in some amount of irreverence right at the onset because I'm not sad at all. I don't remember when and exactly how she died although I was in my 20s then, but I remember exactly how she lived and how she made having a grandparent such a delight!
She was a funky woman but very traditional. Home and hearth and husband above all else.
She was short (more than me which makes me love her more) and fat and very very squishy!
She had horrible eyesight and was reduced to making her way about the house almost through her knowledge of having lived there for over four decades.
She and her soda bottle glasses. Because of her tunnel vision she couldn't see me make faces at her while she was talking to other people.
She used to tie her hair with thin black ribbons and make a plait every night before going to bed. And whenever she'd laugh, which was often, her nose would go all flat and eyes would go into slits and she'd look quite the archetypal Oriental person from the comics.
She let me put a face pack on her once and got freaked out when I started to pull the dried stuff off her face...her 1st facial at 70+
She'd use a lotion we'd got for her when we'd gone abroad so sparingly that the damn thing reached it's expiry date. When I asked her why she didn't use it properly she said it was a gift from me and it was for special occasions...Go figure!
She used to be up at ungodly hours only because dawn arrives in Calcutta at an ungodly hour. And she'd nag me out of bed every day of the summer holidays that I'd spend there; making me drink the chocolate milk and eat at least one sandesh that my grandfather had got for us.
She's partly the reason I can write in Bangla (however erroneously) and why I like Inland letters so much. She used to insist on letters written in my mother tongue and each time we changed cities she'd inquire about all my friends and I think tried to be subtle about the number of Bongs that there never seemed to be enough of.
She of the beautiful old furniture- the four-poster bed that my cousin and I'd hide under, and the lovely mahogany (I think or maybe even rosewood) cupboard that seemed to house all the treasures that were hers.
She'd keep a diary of important dates and events and there was an old floor-model sewing machine that I managed to mess up, that a lot of my infant clothes had been made on.
Why am I not even wistful? Well because my son, in his gazillion gestures and nose-wrinkling smile, seems to be a pretty good copy of her. Sometimes I can almost see the imprint of her face on his.
Genetics being what they are, am still surprised how this kid could end up resembling a lady from two generations ago.
I wish she'd been able to see him. She'd have gone gaga over him because she used to dote on me and yet wonder how to get me to not be such a yakkety!
She really was a doll and a perfect embodiment of everything grandmoms are supposed to be because now her daughter and my mother has become the best grandmother a child could have. And i just need to see my son's smiles and joy to know that. Over and over again.