she lives on in my dreams

My heart cracked and ached as my grandfather hobbled out till the gate and applied vermilion paste and rice grains to our foreheads for good luck before we departed.
What would it feel like to live with someone for a few years shy of fifty?
To lose that someone?

He stepped in to fulfill the role of a mother and a father to my mother, as she learned to live without my naani.

Being the eldest of four siblings, mum shared everything with her.
I cannot gauge the loss of a parent; I saw my mother fall apart as my grandmother was cremated.

I felt nothing. It was too unreal. Even after I was home, I’d expect the door bell to ring and there she would be, chuckling that we did think she’d gone away.
She was a fighter. Her face was softened by kindness and grace. Resilience too; she dealt with the most unfavorable of cards dealt to her in the spirit of the game and suddenly, she went away.

That she was mortal never really occurred to me. She was my naani, she loved hanging out with us and she loved being happy.
She’s always been around. She will always be around.

I was in the tenth grade when my father called. My last pre board examination had ended; I reached home, packed what I could find and left for the nursing home she was admitted to.

My grandmother’s siblings were there too. Chatting, assuring each other that it would be fine. Their eldest sister would be back in shape in no time.
Tubes and wires snaked in and out of her: that’s the best my memory has to offer.
I did not even enter her room because I knew she’d come back. She was strong.

She didn’t.

I wish I hadn’t been so sure. I wish Continue reading