Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear Paatti


I am thinking of you, grandmother. I could just call you. You are alive. But I am thinking of you now like I think of someone long gone. Forgive me for that. I will call you tomorrow, and we will talk about your mother, my great grandmother, the one who had many stories to tell. But someone will have to hold the phone to your ears. And you may not hear me properly. Or at all. 

You always spoke when I danced. I was your trophy. You'd ask me to dance for the guests. And when I danced, you always spoke about something else. "That one's daughter is getting married. Did you know?" And the guests were too polite to ask you to shut up. So I did. Or I think I did. I always wanted to. Forgive me for that.

I remember your stories of America. Your wore like a tiara the fact that you were the first woman in the family to go on an airplane. You went to hold death's jaws open for as long as you could. But dear uncle died anyway. You changed your saree, wore shoes and sweaters, ignored the meat-smeared dishes in the sink, and even overcame the shock of how much curry leaves cost. But you lost one of your sons anyway.

Can you tell me again that story, the one about how you were locked out one night in the snow and how scared you were? I have a similar story to swap with you. It may not have snow in it, but it does have fear and loneliness. I think you will understand.

I will call you tomorrow. And, as always, you will not ask me when I would get married. You have no idea how much I love you for not asking me that ever. 

I have many stories of your failings. But I will let go of them like you let go of that vegetable when you went to Kasi and never ate again. 

I will call you tomorrow and tell you I love you. It is very likely that you won't hear me, that you won't know that it is love that rolls in my throat. And someone will have to hold the phone to your ears.

That someone will put the phone down and tell you it was I who called. They will say it louder and closer to your ears. And you will burst into a toothless grin. You will ask where I called from. They will tell you. And your winged mind will soar high above the reach of your shaking arms and hurl its love over the oceans to me. 

I love you, too. 

12 comments:

asmana said...

Awesome! make that phone call now. And it makes me want to call some people I love and tell them I love them before they are too old and someone has to hold the phone to their ears and shout out my name loudly.

Shailja Patel said...

Heart-wrenching and gorgeous. Calling someone right now........

RS said...

Touching...

Rashmi said...

awww. beautiful!

Srini said...

So touching!!!...reminds me of my maternal grandma who is no longer

Jaye Martin said...

Thank you Ani! I talked to my Dad on Skype today before he went to the hospital. He's been very ill. Oh! Our amazings hearts that feel such incredible depths of being!Love this life. Love.

Sangeetha Sriram said...

Thank you Ani! :)

Shruthi said...

My heart's breaking right now...my grandmother doesn't remember me. Every time she sees me she thinks I am someone else. I don't want that! :'(

This is so beautiful, it is making me so nostalgic! Sigh.

Parijat Desai said...

Thank you Ani...!

Deepan Kannan said...

Aniruddh! It is a lovely one. It reminds me of my grandmother. She is no more. This post makes me long for those wonderful childhood moments I had had with my grandmother. I miss her Ani! Thanks for this post!

sschimmel said...

Dearest Ani,
This has so much depth and heart, which is not surprising because of the source that it is coming from...YOU!

It takes the reader back to a nostalgic realm where most can relate someone they have had similar experiences with, but what makes your story so special is the honest approach, love and respect you have and give in return.

Thank you for sharing a part of yourself with others. You are an amazing being of light and love!

Pooja Kumar said...

So beautiful!