And then life takes over
“Di, do you remember the year Dadi passed away?”
A text notification suddenly lit up the screen of my otherwise quiet phone. It was my brother with that one question he wanted to ask. I was on my way to work that morning. Sitting in a cab and watching people rush to their destinations, this question absorbed me into multiple thoughts and loops.
“Because a lot changed after her death.” Another text followed.
He was right.
My grandfather left the world before my grandmother. She was unwell and needed care. She was the one who was dependent on us but he left us and she stayed back with all the mental and physical pain that she couldn’t share with us.
For as long as she could, she only took care of her family. She was a wonderful cook. In days when there were no cooking shows, her recipes were a hit amongst many in the extended family. I still use her fish recipe. My chachis, buas and Mum learnt her cooking style and she lives in the food we all cherish. A firm believer in God and one who wouldn’t miss her daily prayers and bhajans, she was what faith looked like. At least to my eyes.
He was right. A lot changed after her death.
The charm of visiting the city where my grandparents lived died. My father’s youngest brother who tended to Dadi in her last years, left for Mumbai to make a career for himself and to bring up his son. I got busy with my engineering and hostel life. My brother turned into an atheist. “If God couldn’t take care of the people who were his staunch followers, why should I depend on Him?”. He had made up his mind.
The many memories of our growing up years were bundled up in big suitcases. There were tears but time moved on. Slowly, her temple transformed. There was a new marble slab and new garlands for all idols in the temple. The diyas and the thaals were polished and cleaned up. Her room was redone and made available for cousins who were growing up and needed a room to study.
All right things to do.
Those suitcases of memories occupy further corners of our hearts. A faded photograph somewhere tucked in the temple and a few family photographs on the walls is how we all end up. Yes, there are flashes of those happy days spent together but life takes over everything else. The daily humdrum and the running around our own homes. Getting food on the table every day forces us into routines that we don’t think much about.
Until a text message pops up on a morning taking us back to the days when we were kids and grand parents were around. A day when the traffic doesn’t bother and the time on road is better than answering mails or meeting folks at desk. It was one such day.
Writing for the non-fiction grid at Yeah Write #357 this week.