Monday, March 24, 2008

For Dida..


i went visiting my grandma yesterday-my Ma's Ma.she looked better than the last time i saw her (touch wood!)
considering that she always lived faraway,i never really got very close to her.but there were times when i went there and went running out into the "uthon" and invariably ran into ant hills.Dida always used to put "choon" over my feet as an antidote for the ant stings.
she was this woman who ran around that huge L-shaped house-managing the kitchen,looking after the "uthon" and "pukur" and attending to Ranga (my grand aunt) and Aku (my grand dad).Dida always brimmed with energy...so much so that she managed to dislocate her hip joint twice and fracture her leg!
but all that changed when Aku passed away.within days of his death,she became recluse-like...reading spiritual books and centering her day around "pujo".with Aku,my Dida died-she became this another person who was nothing like my Dida-she chopped off her waist length hair and ceased to be the Dida i knew-the huge bindi was gone,her hair parting looked bare without the streak of red.she looked pale in her white saris.
yesterday,when we sat chatting over our cups of tea,she spoke of Aku.she didn't cry but i knew she missed him.I knew this was what they call "love".here was this woman-who was born much before St. Valentine became a celebrity,before white teddy bears holding red hearts became famous and even before love letters became an institution in themselves-who felt lost without her husband,even years after his death.she made me read his letters (he was in the army,and had been transferred to Kashmir and Burma a lot of times)-none of them qualified as "mush".he asked her of their children's health,whether the house was been properly looked after,whether she needed money and other such mundane things.so what was it that "drove" this love?i can't say...probably because i have been born to these times.
it's been 3 years since Aku and 10 years since Ranga left us...that huge house,with just 2 people living inside, looks scary now...except the little space where my Dida sits in silence and reads,sews and,perhaps,cries.the house has remained strong-witnessing births and deaths.it has been my Dida's haven.it was this house she came into as a child bride,it was this house she breathed life into and,maybe,this is the house that will be handed over to promoters after she,too,is gone.
as i left,she hugged me and i,for some queer reason,cried.i cried as i silently prayed to Dida to be there the next time i come down.she doesn't have to be active,she doesn't have to run around,she just needs to be there...she just has to be there.

12 comments:

Bubbles of FireWhiskey said...

i have tears in my eyes... you reminded me of my grandmother and i suddenly realised how much i actually miss her behind this whole facade of staying busy... :)

god bless you and your family...

little boxes said...

@bubbles:just call her up and tell her you miss her.
and tell me how you feel after that

panu said...

damn.

little boxes said...

@panu:could you elucidate on that?

Neel said...

It did make my eyes watery. and i remembered these lines by a very close person of mine
'charte dewal maanei noy je ghor, nijer ghoreo onek maanush por. kokhon kisher taaney maanush paye je khunje bachar maaney, jhapsha chokhe dekha aei shohor. ami onek koshte onek kichu ditey shikhechhi. shudhu tomaye bidaay ditey hobe shopneo bhaabini'.

Lucid Darkness said...

My mum's mum hadn't been the same since her cerebral stroke. One strong lady, yeah. And to look at her now! Heh.
I er don't know what to write without getting weirdly :S-y, so I'll skip that.

The Mad Girl said...

Oh dear! This makes a sad and an equally beautiful reading.I don't know what else to say!
*Hug*

If said...

**hug**

i miss my thakuma and i miss my dida. i grew up around them, because both my parents worked, and they're both not here anymore.

little boxes said...

@neel:thanks for understanding...
@LD:i understand...they have this weird strength to face life which has always amazed me..
@mad girl:thanks
@if:i find it weird i have never really grown around them like you but i know i will miss them terribly once they're gone...

Aruni RC said...

Posts like these make the me reflect.
I never knew my ma's ma, she passed away before my birth. My thakuma . . . used to hunt, knew how to shoot, and regaled me with tales of the Civil Defence during WW2. After half-a-decade since she passed away it feels strange to admit that those memories are triggered by reading your post.
I'd put them away in some dark cupboard, but like old silverware they always come out fresh.

Angika said...

I've linked yours too, but I can't think of a good name for the link! What would you like to be called?

Phoenix speaks.... said...

*hugs* this post really made me want to do that to you.. :)
My dida too changed a lot after dadu's death..he was her responsibility..seeing that he had his medicine on time..frying alubhajas just the way he liked them..managing everything around the house.. and then reading him the daily news(his eyesight was weak).. and after he left,she succumbed to the void he left behind.Now she forgets things,her hand trembles,she gets jittery,nagging(very unlike her..)and sometimes uncannily quiet and something tells me it's not just age...
*hugs* again...