Monday, June 30, 2008

No bangles to count, no sons to give birth to.

She was my grandfather's wife.
May her soul rest in peace.

She was one of the four people in her generation who i know was happy at my birth: birth of a second daughter.
I loved her. A lot.
At age of 7 i was almost as tall as her, ad at 9 i was an inch taller. And i she could have died laughing when i had said that i was as old as she was, in fact more, coz i was taller!
She didn't die then.
At thirteen, disgusted with the onset of puberty (read abnormality), i used to seek solace from her. She comforted me telling how she was married at 13 and had her first of the seven miscarriages at 15.
She was intelligent. Never having gone school, she could stun listeners with appropriate English words at precise correct places: responsibility, cordial, distance etc, the most often used words.

She wore earrings which made two elliptical holes in her earlobes. I used to wonder how much weight it would be adding to her, remove earrings while weighing yourself Ma, i used to say. When she slept beside me i used to count her bangles. One. Two. Three. and then fall asleep. The day Bapa (grandpa) died, and she had just regained her consciousness, she had hugged me and cried, saying i won't be able to count bangles henceforth.
Post- Bapa's death, she shifted in with us. I detest to put this this way, but i think Bapa's death was a boon to our bonding. We both just grew closer. All praises of my lemon tea, she would always have long tales to tell: how she was the ugliest in the village yet got to marry Bapa who was so so handsome (I never believed in both the parts, i feel it was vice versa). How due to Bapa's fish obsession she had to kill 'fresh' out of water fishes and cook them with potatoes and mustard.How she fell from the bullcok cart and flattened her nose for the rest of her life. How she was worried that she had firstly outlived Bapa and then the age that he had lived.
She had wanted to die as soon as possible: tell her you are dying tomorrow and she would be happy. Apparently. And in case i herd any of those cribbings regarding 'why i m alive at 88' i used to say, in something which i now realise might have made her feel curse-ish, that she could not die till i had a son. She was worried, what if i had two two daughters and stopped right there? Or would i end up do something 'immoral' to let her die early? She is the place i got my weirdness from, and yes asthma.
She loved my singing, my humming, my noises. Lying next to me she would ask me if i could sing her a song, which i was sure she could never understand. She had said that she would miss my voice the most when i left for hostel.
She had hugged me, with my chin resting on her scalp for a whole 15 minutes, at 3:30 am in the morning the day i was to leave for hostel. I hardly had spoken to her over phone.
Two weeks before my end semester exams had to commence for the second year, i got to know that she was hospitalized and i was so sure nothing would happen. I had not given birth to a son, she could not die!! I remember borrowing ice for comforting swollen red eyes. She was there only for a while.
My exams had to start at 2 pm in the afternoon. Law of contracts. 7 am. Call from home. She was no more. She had left. i realized i could not remember how she sounded. How her bangles felt. how her fish curry tasted. I rubbed my eyes to get rid of the mild wetness. And cotinued revising. She had breached her contract. She had.
She must have been moving upwards that day. Happy to have stopped outliving her long dead husband. But i know she was somewhere sad for not being able to wait till i had my son.


ananya. said...

first...hope you aren't depressed or sad.Don't be.And you know and even she knew anyway that she'll be there with you whenever and wherever you need her. :) the smiley looks stupid.

swetali said...

Smileys are never stupid.
Just that U omit to see what its trying to show. This i guess is a consoling sorta smile.
Really, thanks again for bearing another long blog!
N i m depressed for another reason..... ;P (wink tongue out!)