The last of the grandmothers died this week.
It’s a pity I wasn't really close to any of them.
But it was always comforting to have them.
In their white saris, and silvered hair,
observing the movement of their soft, beautiful hands
talking of an era of blacks and whites.
This one, wasn't anything like that though.
I never saw her draped in a sari.
I remember her dog. Golden, a curly haired Retriever.
Who’s name was Joy.
Granddad was a funny man. Lover of music, and everything nice.
I think I loved him. Even when I didn't know what love meant.
He visited us when we lived very far off
With candies and happy cards
with handwritten messages from his wife.
I still remember her writing.
Jerky mostly, but rounded off with pretty O’s.
He always came with a smile.
I’m sure he went with one too.
Grandmom lived alone for a decade or more,
At first, strong, even with a broken spine,
but craving, later for an end,
(though never, never wishing it out loud.)
Joy was put to sleep,
I told my parents I wanted him then.
He would smile too, always, like granddad.
A shiny golden ball of happiness.
The first dog, I fell in love with.
I’m not sure he knew he was to die soon too.
Grandmom never cooked well.
Neither did she have stories to tell.
But I still have her hand drawn cards.
My first knowledge of the expression of love.
Years went by, she wouldn't die.
She wouldn't live.
Her skin grew pale,
Yellowish first, then ivory.
Her calls stopped coming through.
Mobile phones replaced the corded ones.
I remember my brother wanted to give her a little phone.
Rushes of affection
In the hearts
Aware of her deathly pallor, she shut all doors.
The doors of her mind were shut too.
Would forgetting be easy for a woman so sharp?
I visited her a couple of months back.
She was smiling. A smile of remembrance.
I focused on that. And her brilliant eyes.
Did she know who I was?
I didn't want to probe.
Battling with memory she fleeted back and forth.
She sang out my name, her mouth broadening with glee,
She held on tight, the next moment,
It wasn't me. Anymore.
‘twas my mother she could see.
The smile remained. Diminishing slowly.
She knew, she was faltering.
Grandmother died this week.
Leaving behind nothing, but a house.
With oaken furniture
And walls with photographs of the happy man
And his happy dog.
And a beautiful lady, posing with the sunlight over her shoulders
and of course her smiling lover.
All now surrounding the tiny figure, lying on the bed.
Mouth gaping, eyes shut,
Not very different from the last time I’d seen her.
But at peace
Freed of the pain of remembrance,
Freed of the shame of living... For so many, many years.
No one cried, but they sang.
Her favourite songs.
In tune, or not. They sang
With solemn faces.
Someone, related to her in someway
Read out an obituary.
Written neatly in a paper torn off a diary.
I recognized that handwriting instantly.
It had the same pretty O’s that had once talked of love
Scribbled in those colourful cards...
That my happy granddad had once brought.
Originally written on : 8th April 2015