My 'pati' ( Grandmother) was 81 when she passed away last week. A seasoned grandmother who had seen most of the ups and downs in life, seen her grand children grow from skating on a toy scooter to zipping past in flashy cars.
But I had not realised till the day I saw her sleeping quietly on the drawing room floor, how much I had really built a bond - a silent bond with her.
She was one generation ahead of my mom, but we never had arguments over attire or phone calls. We actually watched and laughed through Pandiarajan movies together. I practised my dance in front of her - mostly classical, and sometimes even to macarena. She tried every dish I made, ( even if that meant, picking out 100 pieces of shredded onion blended in cabbage). She oiled my hair, massaged my feet, gave me ready to eat - thayir sadam ( Curd and Rice mix).
She was a learner, and a teacher bundled in one. She never believed in learning/teaching anything by force. She had not studied beyond the V std. So we taught her English and Hindi , but ended up learning to read and write Tamil . She learnt to sing , when her voice had cracked, but she sang religiously every day. She was always immaculately dressed. I remember hiding behind the dressing table just to see her perfect the vermillion on her forehead and adjust the flowers on her hair. She shone, and my eyes glinted.
As time flew by, we became "grown ups". Reached the age of 25 when grand mothers were relegated to good mornings, and good nights. " Patti please, indha serial vendam "( No patti , not this serial again") was more heard around the house.
It was a Saturday I would never forget. It was the last time I saw her alive in flesh and blood. She was 81, frail but the enthusiasm with which she ran her hands over the silk saree, and her chain was catchy.She wanted to attend a family function the coming friday. The calender , was testimonial to crossed off days signalling a count down. She had bought a new box of Ponds powder(She always smelt the dreamflower woman). She was like what her little grand daughter was 15 years back.
She held my hand , and asked " Do I look healthy ? Do I look good ?"
" Pati , you look gorgeous. Just come at 4:30 pm , the whole crowd will be there to see you."
Yes, the whole crowd did come in to see her, but she didnt live to hear the chatter. I dont mourn her demise. I understand , she escaped from pain. She had lived a full life. But I do miss her presence in the house. The silent pati on the chair, when I came back from office was someone I will miss for ever.
When we went through her box, later that day, I could see , an obvious vacuum in the box and an implied one in us.
We were living life , like a pair of logs. Small joys did not excite us like it did before. Dressing up was a routine, family get togethers were crowds, life appeared short , fast paced and went past by the clock. I looked up at her photo on the wall, waiting to hear her voice. But she was smiling. She never spoke much, only smiled. But this time Mrs.Rajalakshmi Vishwanathan ( that was her name) had something to say.
Why do things become a drag on us? Because we fail to enjoy the moment of truth. Enjoy every act of yours , and also others. It brings zest into life , and life into rest.
Ofcourse, she would have typically said this laced in the frog and Bhagya story, but that was pati.
Wife to my Thatha, Mother to my Father, but a nice cuddly pati to me.
I will miss you.