personal diary

We miss you Kai pati!

It’s been six days since my grand mother passed away and we have missed her since then. But, make no mistake she led a near complete life that it just falls short of a perfect century. She was 96 when she left us. Married off at a tender age of 12, she had the god given opportunity to see the birth of three great-grandchildren.

I still remember the other night on Monday, which turned out to be her last night, when I had the urge to write about her. I didn’t, because writing is tiresome when you have the momentary option to pay an oral tribute instead. But at this moment, when I am at my office with my editor expecting my story to be in her inbox within the next one hour, I need to fulfill the unstated promise that I have made to myself.

Whenever a person leaves earth, it should always be the case when their good qualities are spoken about and very highly too. I firmly believe that. My grandmother had a lot of good qualities.

It was ten years ago, when my grandmother came to live with us. Fondly called ‘Kai pati’, by my sister and me, there are many personal memories of her that we shall cherish forever.

‘Kai’ in Tamil means vegetable. She knows how to cook and that simple statement is understated. All of us in the family relish well cooked delicacies and she was a wonderful chef. With my mother off to work, it was often left to my grandmother to prepare the ‘kai’ for me. She would always prepare just before I come to house after attending undergrad college (it got over by 1.30 in the noon), and ensure it was kept hot. Furthermore, my mother’s cooking improved, however marginal, because she was always offered guidance. Mother’s recipe they say, but on this occasion, let’s prefix the word ‘Grand’ before mother.

Among her standout qualities is her strict adherence to cleanliness and orderliness. Not one to be disorganized, she made sure our house was well run and well kept. She would regularly clean the dust that settled on appliances, especially on the television, with she used to say ensured her sanity. A day back, her big Godrej was searched. With her love for sarees well known (She could well give Nalli’s a run for their money), we found all of them pressed and arranged neatly in an order. Just today, my school ID cards (believed to be long lost), was found safely preserved in one of her packages.

On top of it all, it was her determination to be independent and be courageous, even when in frailty, that stands out. In her nineties, she washed her own clothes, walked without support, helped mother in arranging utensils. Maybe, she derived that strength from her husband, who happened to be a proud military man. Just as I am writing this, a friend and a colleague walks in and by chance, talks about his grand mother. “She lives by her own and swears by her right to be independent,” he says. Guess, all grandmothers are the same.



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