Everything I Ever Wanted To Tell You, Dear Grandmom
I sit staring at my laptop screen for a few minutes desperately searching, grasping for words that would be perfect. Because anything less would not be acceptable. Struggling at painting that perfect picture. So, I'm going to do the best that I possibly can.
We should've had less arguments. More agreements. We should've had more conversations over cups of tea. About you. About me. And about how you inspired me. I should've written more letters. Talked on the phone more often. I should've told you how much you mean to me. That a lot of what I am today is because of you. The distance separating us should've been less. I should've been able to see you more often. But I always loved you and thought about you often. You always slept late. And I slept with you. You told me these fabulous stories. I remember being in such awe of them, refusing to let my eyes close before the story was over. Till date I don't know if you made them up for me or whether you read it somewhere. Sometimes, you read off a book. Weaving magic into every word. It's time for me to tell your story. I'm not sure if I can tell it like you did, but I'm trying.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about you. Maybe it's the fact that Mr. B's grandmom is in town and the only thing I remember is knowing I have the world's greatest grandmom but then reality kicks in and my sensible self tells me you're not here anymore. This doesn't mean you ain't with me. I'm not sure where to begin this story because I'm not sure when the unadulterated, blinding, idontcarewhatanyoneelsethinks kind of love began. Did it begin when you heard Ma was pregnant with me? Or was it when you first held me, or was it when I first called you 'Didu'? I don't know where and when it began but I know that it lasted through some easy, hard, crazy, angry, sad and happy times. It lasted across oceans.
You were no ordinary woman. And like the amazing woman you were you did some amazing things for us. If I told people about the time when you moved to Bangalore without knowing anything about the language or the people there they'd be amazed at how well you handled it all. If I told them about the time when you learned Kannada to make life easy, or when you schooled yourself to understand English when your kids were born (Ma and her 2 brothers only spoke in English at that time), they'd respect you. If I told them how you took care of 3 children when Grandpa passed away and none of the children were working, or how you waited to hear from your oldest son in America for 5 years, or how you didn't bat an eyelid when the younger son wanted to join the Army, or how you uprooted your life from Bangalore so that Mum could have a better life elsewhere they'd know you never gave up.
You scolded us, told us stories, cooked for us, made sure you gave enough love to all of us grandchildren and never complained. You went to America to be with my Uncle, because I think you felt he needed you more than us at that point and I'm sure it was one of the most difficult things you did. It's never easy to adjust in a foreign land especially in your 60s. I remember that day when we left you to the airport.
And I remember the day when my sister called me up to tell me about you. Her voice was trembling and I knew it even before she could complete the sentence. Before that I had numerous conversations with Uncle about your deteriorating health and how we didn't want you to suffer. We were expecting it. But nothing can EVER prepare you for the death of a loved one. Nothing. But they tell me you didn't suffer, which is all I wanted. 2 months later I can think of you without that piercing pain but I can never get rid of the lump in my throat.
Once I had started working and had less time for myself and much less time for others I had promised myself to write a handwritten letter to you. I never got to it. And I know it's too late now. But I hope you know how much I love you and appreciate the person you are and the person you helped me be. I hope you know you were my soul mate in more ways than one. You always said the right things, the most beautiful things. One day when I have kids of my own I will tell them about the person that was you and hopefully they will see what I saw all those years ago, sleepy eyed beside you, while your mouth formed the words that would make a magical story. Hopefully they'll see and know exactly what I saw.
All those nights when the world slept while we talked of fairies and kings and talking animals I hoped for forever. And forever it shall be.