I wanted to meet her, the first time Geyata mentioned her. I wanted to see what she is like, how different she is from the one like her, I knew. Yeah, I was curious and now I am jealous.
I openly never talk about myself being jealous. But it just slipped out. It was in an instance. Him says, I shouldn’t compare but I did all the while I was there. Mine, lived with me for the first fifteen years of my life. Of which the first twelve, I thought she was perfect but I guess grew wiser in the next three.
My perception is colored with my experiences. Some no doubt beautiful and wonderful.
Afternoon nap time stories, the untimely sujee halwas, or chide bhaja or gojas. Grandmothers are wonderful in many ways. Though I am not sure I could now say this about mine.
I never asked Geyata her Ajji’s name. It doesn’t matter as to me and anybody who meets her, she is Ajji. And Ajji she is!
86, and still young. Ok not physically but the very want of living an independent life in her, is inspiring. She takes around 30 tablets a day, cooks, cleans, watches tv , entertains etc, all by her self. When I entered her house, Ajji, clad in her typical (typical to me, my thakuma always wore white with color borders) white saree, she was busy instructing the cleaner to wipe the mud off her window shutters and panes. “ Hum dekhne ko aayega ha!” she declares. “ Barabar saaf karo!”
“ Pinky, agga, jhaadu barobar ghe re!”( Pinky sweep the floor) she tells my pal Geyata.
Her kitchen is her domain, one cannot do anything there. I was barred from keeping the glasses on the platform! She doesn’t like anybody dictating anything. Nor does she trust anybody completely. Its not that she doesn’t have any family to look after her. She has a daughter although they hardly meet. It is not because the daughter has a busy life. But it is because Ajji commands her space.
She lost her husband around 40 years back. She has been on her own since then. Single handedly raising her daughter, seeing her getting married and raising her grand daughter Geyata for the first 6 years of her life.
I hardly saw sitting still throughout the time I was there. She was always doing this or that. She has records dating from Geyata’s kindergarten days to our present university exams.
She has all her memories intact. This is brilliant. We, at least I always think ( thought too) that old people grow senile, they loose track of their life and so on. But the fact is that she isn’t old. “86” is a mere number. “ Thoda will power hona chahiye”, she says. And this is true. “Why don’t you go live with your daughter?”, we asked. “But why should I? I will live alone till I can, then I have to go live with her na!”
But then she is hardly alone. People from all over, Geyata’s friends (like us), her mother’s friends and even her dad’s drop by to meet Ajji.
She is the perfect Pr person, laughs Geyata. True, very true. It is her sheer persona that brings people to her. She is so genuine, so chilled out, if I might add.
“ Tumhara koi hai toh, batao. Jaldi se fix kar do”, she asks. She wants to know whether any of us is dating or not. [ my mom too, won’t talk to me like that!]. funny, it is that she teases Geyata about not finding a guy in college despite of being in Xavier’s for five years and sadly, our college Sophias, is a girls college.
I want to write so much more but I cant. I am glad that I met her. But I am still very jealous.