Wednesday, 17 September 2014

When Memories Outlive Lives

15th September 2014

My maternal Grandmother stepped into her heavenly abode yesterday. She was 82.

As a strong sense of loss gushes over me, I also feel relief. This confession may sound inappropriate to many. But honestly, that is the predominant feeling flowing through me since the time I heard about her demise. There are times when you love someone very dearly, that you would rather have God take them away, than selfishly cling on to them while they suffer mere existence. This was one such instance. I am relieved that she is rid of pain and illness and is in a better place now. 

The last 75 days were hard on her. For most parts of this duration, the hospital was her home. She depended on medical tubes and life support to be alive. Shuttling between being unconscious to being in a semi-conscious state, my Grandmother was critically ailing. There is no doubt I will miss her profoundly and that none can take her place, but I am glad God has decided to put an end to her worldly sufferings.

Grandma was one of the gentlest human beings I have met. There was an invisible halo of pure love around her. She only had nice things to say about people. Expressing gratitude does not come easy to many, but that was one of her strongest qualities. She felt much obliged even for the smallest of help anyone did for her. Without holding back her words of gratefulness, she generously served them to anyone, she felt deserving. Though weathered by the many hurdles life has hurled at her, Grandma lived her life with dignity and self-reliance, to the best extent that she could. Widowed at the tender age of 30, she brought up her four children and made them the wonderful people that they are today. She played the role of a loving and dutiful Grandmother to her eight grandchildren and helped each of her children raise them all. 

As are most grandma-grandchild relationships, ours was a special one. She always had a word of praise for me and had time to listen to anything at all that I wished to share with her. She genuinely cared and took interest in my life. She came over and stayed with me the few weeks before my wedding and was my personal beautician! From homemade face-packs to hair oil massages… oh, I was coddled like a princess! Grandma loved it when I let her pamper me and of course I loved it too! 

I recollect the three days that she spent with me last year. Her fondness for my preparation of a cup of coffee in particular, is a memory I treasure. My husband and I are coffee-drinkers. Hence, I was forewarned by my mother to prepare a special cup of tea for Grandma every day, as she preferred tea over coffee. On the first day of her visit, while I made our usual cups of coffee and was about to begin brewing her tea, I guess Grandma felt experimental and decided to try my coffee! So, she too drank coffee along with us and the rest, as they say… is history! The packet of tea which I had purchased especially for Grandma remained unopened, as she chose to drink coffee for the rest of the days that she was with me. Every evening witnessed the same ritual. She would eagerly wait for her coffee, slowly sip on it relishing every single sip with a smile and then shower me with plentiful words of praises for that simple cup of coffee. It amused me how such a small thing could make her so happy! For many months thereafter, even until our last telephone conversation, she made a mention of how much she liked my coffee! 

These beautiful memories and many more similar ones of her, are precious to me. I feel blessed to have been able create these with Grandma. They shall remain with me forever. I shall rewind and play them in my mind and relive those priceless moments with her. 

She ever so loved reading my poetry and prose, and called me the ‘writer in the family’. It gives me great joy to realise that I have been a reason to paint a smile of pride on her face. Hence, it was only befitting that I dedicated a post to her. A humble tribute to try conveying what she really means to me. I can imagine her reading this write-up, cradled in God’s arms and occasionally bursting into shy giggles. 

Oh, how I miss that gentle smile of hers…

May her loving soul, rest in peace!


  1. Hello Nandita, I read your articles and was choked up. I think everyone can relate to this. We've all grown up in the loving care of our grannies and grandpas. Yes, they always pampered us and their home remedies, ubtans, massage is something we all grew up with.
    Your Grandma was indeed a woman of great strength. Being widow at the tender age of 30 raising kids all alone needs nerves of steel. Coffee episode brings a smile ......
    Nandita, the irony of life is such that we all have to leave one day.........we are all like guests here....nothing is ours, nothing belongs to us. But when a dear one departs, it causes a lot of heart ache. She truly called you a "writer". Today, we all got to know about her because of you. How beautifuul you've penned down your feelings.
    May God give you and all the members of your family strength to bear this loss. May Grandma's soul rest in peace.

  2. Lovely thoughts and words beautifully conveyed as ever Nandita. May your grandma's soul rest in peace. May she look down over her near and dear ones with love, pride and a smile forever.