Death had always been that topic that I never cared to think about. It never crosses your mind that people can die unexpectedly without a prior warning. As stupid as it sounds, you always wish you had that warning sign or a hint that these might be the last days with someone you loved so you can cherish them more.
I never pondered on the after effects of someone’s death. never thought about the trail it could leave behind even if they died peacefully, without any pain. I feel that’s the worst kind of death. Yes, you wouldn’t agree with me because who wants to die in vain or pain?
When my grandmother died in her sleep, I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe she was gone. I was angry too. She just left me like that, without any warning sign. She left me alone when she promised to be always there with me. I didn’t know how to handle it, how to handle her being gone and that’s the day i started fearing death. It took an angel away from me.
As long I remember, she was always wrinkly and smelled like fresh Cintol soap, always worn her cotton saree draped around herself so that she was fully covered and after a bath she would go to the pooja room to pray. I never knew what she prayed for but I always admired her sincerity in her prayers. She never missed it and never lost focus on her prayers. She always admired her husband’s photo that also hung in the prayer room and prayed to him too.My Grandfather, a man who i never had the chance to meet but i always heard great storied about him, she always spoke of him with sparkle in her eyes and that always made me wish that i had met him, i really do.
My Grandmother was famous for two things- her cooking, especially her Rasam and her stories. As long as I remember I always asked her to recite me a story before going to sleep and she always chose mythology. The Legendary Tales of Ram, the prince of Ayodhya or the Brave stories of Krishna during Mahabharata. There are many versions to the same story but my Grandmother’s tales were the one I believed to be true by default.
She didn’t like talking much, always busy in her own little world and had her fixed routine but she always cared. She noticed the little things like when I would cough too much she would make her instant home-made type of syrup or when I couldn’t sleep she would keep patting me till I did or sing me some tamil lullabies that i still remember them by heart. Sometimes I would catch her staring at me night, thinking I was sleeping and she would just pat my head and go back to sleep. I loved when she did that, her grandmotherly affection.
Oh, she snored, she snored loudly. I would always try to wake her up or shift her so that instead of laying on her back she would lay on her right-hand side or left-hand side, as that sometimes helped in stopping her snoring all together But with time I got used to it.
That’s the thing you see, I got used to it. Used to seeing her in the kitchen cooking lunch every day, used to see her sitting on the sofa and watch her Tamil serials from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm and would giggle a little bit when she used to cry at sad scenes watching those serials. I was used to seeing her down taking a walk when I played and I never waved at her because playing ‘chor police’ seemed more important at that time and i was pretty sure i would see her again when i get back home.I was used to seeing her sleeping in the bed sharp at 10:45 pm with the lights off and the night lamp on as she was scared of the dark and that also became my routine that i can’t sleep without a night light.
But I never imagined, one day she would leave me without a trace or sign.
That everything I got used to her doing is what I would miss the most about her. The bed felt empty, the Rasam never tasted the same and the house felt quiet when there was no one to watch the serials. Sometimes when I used to go down to play, I imagine her walking slowly and she would give me that small smile, seeing me happily play around with my friends and this time i would wave at her, acknowledge her.
You see, my Grandmother was a timeless beauty. She was always the same for me and I expected my life to be just like that, with her always being there that I forgot that time would one day take her away from me.
So, this is an ode to my grandmother, with whom I wish I had spoken to more about how much I loved her, how much I valued her and how much I was grateful to her to be my grandmother. And this is also a shortened memoir of how I want to remember my grandmother, a kind ageless beauty , a woman named Susheela who raised five strong, kind and brave children and who always prayed that their lives would go on smoothly without any obstacles.
by Bhargavi Ravi