I feel like talking about her .. alot…and mostly when I can’t express enough through my speech, I feel like writing, because it lets me express as much as I want to, without any restrictions.
Words will not do justice to how I feel because Ami ji (my grandmother) passed away. Not because I am at the verge of utter depression and its impossible to utter any words. I am sad, needless to say, quite sad, but also comfortable at the same time. When I use the word ‘passed away’ or ‘was’ for her, it puts me in a state of disbelief, the kind I haven’t experienced before. When I was leaving home, with my suitcase and bagpack all packed up, her eyes got teary. Thats the way she has been, when someone comes in, she welcomes them to the fullest and when someone close leaves, she gets sad. I didn’t like it. I don’t like seeing her sad. And that too because of me! I tried to lighten her mood by all the different ways that I use. They work mostly ;) So I told her I’ll see her again in a few months. And reassured her how quickly a single month passes. So within no time I’ll come back hugging her like I am hugging her now, and telling her stories of all kinds from places all around the world. And I told her that she should just pray that all works out fine with me, since I am going into a world completely foreign to me, and I don’t have someone picking me up at the airport. That did the trick. That worried her. And her sadness was diverted away. But then ofcourse you can’t leave a mother worrying. So I reassured her that it will all be fine. I will make so many friends from so many places, and I am young and energetic now, I need this experience. She settled well with my speech, like a good parent; when you want them to act innocent and naive, they do. They believe all your true and untrue stories. They give you the room for your own experience. They give you respect for atleast trying to put in hardwork into making them believe something. And see today I am talking about it, as an achievement. She would always play her part in making me feel victorious. I always felt that I could convince her so well, and she always let me believe it.
So ofcourse I feel deeply grieved that I won’t be able to see her when I go back home, or hug her as I promised. We all will have a hard time adjusting to a house that does not have Ami ji. She had been more or less the focal point of our home. Thats how she is. She wouldn’t settle for anything lower than that. You know how they say, ‘like a boss’ :)
Every now and then I am finding myself smiling real hard at something that I remember of her. Ami ji! :)
If I start writing about her, this blog will never really reach an end. There is so much my life has experienced of her.
I truly believe she brought me up. She did my physical upbringing, while my manners were given to me by my mother. I must ‘ve turned out absolutely awesome, because really I haven’t seen any better women anywhere; these two are the strongest women I ‘ve known in my life, strong in very distinctive ways though.
Ami ji has had a great ability of playing characters. She was a grandparent, but if need be, she’d play father too sometime, or mother, ofcourse.
Its a well known fact that grandparents spoil the children to a maximum, she fulfilled that duty fully too. When I was a child, I didn’t eat much, I wouldn’t go near anything healthy. So she would spend hours in the kitchen trying to make something that I would somehow get fond of eating. And since she was really good at it, every now and then I would have a favorite sweet dish, and she’d make it for me quite often, I would keep requesting for it.. and she would get gloriously happy at my request. Then when I would get sick of eating the same food over and over again, we’d try and find another favorite.
I have spent a bigger chunk of my childhood and adolescence at my grandparents’ house in Vehari, along with my siblings. I have seen her strong and healthy, I have seen her ill too. I have seen her married and I’ve seen her a widow too. I remember not thinking for her much when my Abba ji (grandfather) died. It was only after many years, when my brother’s best friend passed away, and she was trying to console him that I realized she is not just Ami ji, she was also a wife of someone. She told my brother that she was almost like a queen of an empire, and the demise of my grandfather brought her whole empire crumpling down, she no longer was a secure and independent woman, even if she wanted or tried to be. She needed our companionship now, like we needed hers earlier in our life. Its funny how life played so perfectly, it all fitted together.
There were various times from childhood to now when I stayed back home to accompany my grandmother when the others went out. After the death of Abba ji (my grandfather), it was routine that I slept in Ami ji’s room, which was across courtyard from the room where my mother and siblings were. And we were not supposed to cross the courtyard at night. So once, settled in the room, I couldn’t go back to my mother’s room in the middle of the night. Back then, sometimes I thought of it as my sacrifice, not sleeping with my siblings. But it always turned out pleasant. It was just routine back in the days. I remember watching old Pakistani movies with her on Thursday nights. There was a time we got addicted to playing Ludo and betting on it. Many a times, I won icecream from her. I still remember the sinking feeling in my heart when she used to win.
We have shared a relationship of grandmother/granddaughter, mother/daughter, friends, and I must add I have acted as her bigger sister at times too, and if someone asks I will not like to answer how :p
I remember one of those incidents when my family was going out for dinner and Ami ji didn’t have to go, so I accompanied her back home. It was better that way as ever since her open heart surgery took place, we felt she was too fragile to be left all on her own. On the contrary she very much enjoyed independence. But I must say she was always happy with my company. She felt I was designed in the fashion she liked, or may be it was because she played a significant role in my designing. So we two were at home in Lahore, and she started telling me about her life, her teen years from the pre-partition times. She told me what kind she was as a young girl. How she really liked going to school. How her marriage was arranged for her. How the first time she saw Abba ji. And when we were talking about the arrangement of her marriage, I still remember that expression on her face. I think about it often, may be on a yearly basis. I would not like to write about it, it was different from what anyone might think. It was different, or may be at that age my understanding of that expression was different. I tried to confirm but she had moved on to next part of the story. Now when I am thinking about that longing expression, I see myself in it too. All in all, it was a beautiful story that I heard that day from her. A new one. I saw so many colors on her face that I had not met with before. Anytime I forwent accompanying my family, my ‘sacrifice’ proved to be a win-win situation for me :)
She had been paralyzed for around ten years now. She had to be dependent on us, but her independent traits never left her, never!. She was great in whatever situation she was in, glorious! I think it was a habit of hers. She rose a few steps higher in love. I have seen many patients of paralysis, they all have one thing in common, depression/ crankiness. God blessed her kind soul only with love. God blessed our lives with her love, her smiles, hugs, kisses, the never-ending ones. The last decade of her life, which was so different to all the previous ones, in all ways possible, her home had permanently shifted from Vehari where she had acquaintances from a lifetime to Lahore with us, where it was just boring. She shifted from her feet to a wheelchair. But why can I not remember any frowns. She really did grow in love. And I don’t understand how she got so much of it to offer to everyone, just about everyone. May be its true, love begets love. It kept multiplying in magnitude. She showered it on us all day everyday. All day everyday! I used the word ‘comfortable’ in the beginning. I feel comforted and at peace, because I believe she really gave away all she had. She didn’t save it for later. She knew there is no later. Its only now. And luckily, it was us who were standing under that shower. Even today, I feel blessed. Deaths are never easy to deal with. The idea of never being able to see someone’s precious face for the rest of your life seems distressing. Not being able to feel the same warmth ever again sends cold shivers to your feet. The mere thought of having that vibrant life buried under dirt can leave you crying for hours…
But the fact that she kept nothing with her, she gave it all to her loved ones, leaves me satisfied.
I only feel blessed and nothing else.. I am only smiling right now, and will be smiling whenever she is mentioned. There is no pain that I see there. she didn’t feel any either, because it had to be… the droplet had to merge with the ocean it belonged to…