Saturday, December 1, 2018

Gone Grandmother!

Suddenly...she's gone!
The most celebrated member of our household, the senior most member of our entire family and one of the few people who lived to see an entire century unfold in front of her eyes is no more. Our beloved centenarian grandmother, who's hundredth birthday we'd just celebrated earlier this year breathed her last, early this month. While we knew she had lead a  full and fruitful life always surrounded by her near and dear ones down to even the fifth generation of great-great-grandson, and death was a near eventuality, the suddenness of it all still baffles us!  It was meant to be a routine/ precautionary visit to the doctor just before our impending pre-planned travel, followed by hospitalization for administration of drips for a day or two.........little did we realize that it was time for Doddamma's rendezvous with death!

Now that the obsequies and last rites performed by her eight septuagenarian and sexagenarian children are complete, the relatives have left, and everyone has got on with their daily humdrum of life, we miss her a lot, especially in the little things that had been interwoven into our daily routine - during mealtimes we remember pulling out her silver thali along with our steel thalis  or during the daily pooja we'd fondly recall her picking up to beat the traditional 'jagante'  during the 'arathi" or how she would always wheel herself into the makeshift football play area our living room is often turned into, much to Abhay's chagrin, or the sound of her coughing that I could hear from my office that shared the same wall as her room, or when we still end up peeping into her room to wave goodbye while leaving for would certainly take a while for us to get used to living without our grand old matriarch. Thanks to the love, constant care and sacrifice  of  her primary care givers, viz. her eldest son and daughter-in-law,  our grandmother or "Doddamma" could lead a long and healthy life with such joy and enthusiasm  (even as she was wheelchair bound) that was unmatched and is truly hard to come by in  today's  technology-driven and impatient millennial world!.

Since we were travelling when our doddamma passed away and could not witness the formalities leading up to her cremation, it was hard for us post our return, to fathom  the thought that doddamma is no more! So much so that even now I almost expect doddamma to wheel herself out of the front room at the sound of pooja bell!!  As we got back, my little one roamed all around the house in search of her favourite companion, who'd keep her company in any indoor game or play the patient audience to her funny antics or join in a jagante duet during the Friday evening pooja.. .....  her dodda ajji was nowhere in sight!    

Abhay too fondly remembers his friendly territorial fights with dodda-ajji as he set out play indoors or how he would coax her into listening to him practice his music lessons or how dodda-ajji would always come to his rescue when being disciplined by his parents! Ever since he remembers, Dodda-ajji has always been a big part of his life at home, and now that's she's gone... he too misses her. So I had picked out a wonderful book that throws light on bereavement, especially from the perspective of young children, "Gone Grandmother", a Tulika publication by Chatura Rao and Krishna Bala Shenoi. Nina's grandmother went away before she could say  goodbye. Though the next day and the day after appeared to be the terms of her surroundings, her school and her friends, it felt  different.... ...... as her Nani didn't come back and it was as if she'd disappeared into thin air. When she quizzes her mother as to where has nani gone, her mother replies "to the stars". Just as she tries to figure out as to whether her nani has really gone to the stars or God's home or has in turn become a part of the air we breathe or the soil below, she fondly remembers her times with nani - the general knowledge book that she'd read with her, or listen to Vividh Bharathi with nani while jumping the skipping rope, or recalls some endearing moments exclusive to the grandchild-grandmother bond. She finally realizes that she may never see her nani in her plump-cuddly shape again..... but can find her  nani  shining down at her as the brightest star in the sky! A poignantly narrated  tale that beautifully captures the child's grief and dilemma over the loss of a loved one and how she comes to terms with the same. Abhay liked the author's philosophical take on death of aged grandparents and was touched by the book. Though my little one is too young to understand what happened, or too young to fully grasp dodda-ajji's absence  and may be just too young to probably remember as she grows up, her times with dodda-ajji...... but as of now, her answer to the question"Where is dodda-ajji?" seems to be "Dodda-ajji is with God"!  Rest in peace...dear doddamma! 

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written piece and very touching. Her absence is very much felt by every one who visits the house as she always with agility made her presence felt and her everlasting enthusiasm to interact with all even at her advanced age.