A beautiful world is a world full of bed-time stories narrated to you by your grandparents. Those who experience this are the luckiest and I am exhilarated to be a part of that list. My grandparents have raised me like a princess and I am proud to be the person they have turned me into today. As this day brings happiness with this thought, it also brings sorrow as the last of my grandparents is no more. My daadi (grandmother) moved to a higher realm last afternoon. Though her moving on saddens me a lot, looking back at the life she lived makes me smile and feel happy. She was one hell of a woman who lived her life to the fullest and enjoyed every moment of it, whether the day was sunny or rainy, whether times were good or bad. It just didn’t matter, for she took everything in her stride and simply moved on.A #grandmother never ceases to love you even when she moves on to higher realms!#relationships Click To Tweet
Daadi had as good as zero education and despite that she was such an active learner and adjusted to everything – whether it was life in the city or life back at the village. She came from a small village in UP and got married at a very early age, just the way it used to happen those many years back… and we are talking a good 70 – 80 years back. She was nearly 90 when she bid goodbye to this world. An astute woman, who lived so determinedly, didn’t have any illnesses even till her last day and didn’t give you the feeling that you were around an old lady. Rather, she gave you a complex all the time. I remember Desh staring at her and smiling away one day when she was eating. She lost her teeth long back and supposedly lost her set of dentures that mom got made, and she would land up eating any hard stuff she would lay her hands on. We were at my sister’s place and all of us were gorging on chiki when I asked daadi if she wanted to eat it too. I was 100% sure she would refuse, but surprisingly she said yes. While I gave it to her I was wondering how she would manage to eat it as it was quite hard, and that’s when I noticed that Desh was pretty amused too. Guess what – she thoroughly enjoyed it and gave us a run for our money! Man… some woman she was. Mom kept asking her where she lost her dentures, but I am pretty sure daadi was instrumental in ensuring that the set got lost since she hated it and she managed to eat everything vegetarian on this planet anyways… so perhaps putting dentures on was a sheer waste of time and energy for her.
One thing daadi taught all of us was how to be adaptable. She has always amazed me with the way she took to life in Mumbai. Coming from a small village, it ain’t exactly easy to smoothly settle down in a fast paced city like Mumbai. But Daadi – the super woman that she was, rocked at everything!! One would never have known (apart from her language – as she normally spoke in our dialect – Bundelkhandi and very rarely in normal Hindi) that she wasn’t a Mumbaikar. The best part about her was how she would learn English words too and use them appropriately. I remember this one time when we were at an outing and she wanted to visit the restroom. Someone asked her where she was headed and she promptly replied saying, “pilot”… that meant, “toilet”. We laugh at that joke even today. Daadi used to laugh at it too and she completely enjoyed taking centre stage and being the centre of attraction all the time. I guess my paternal genes are really strong and I have some of her instincts in me too. She loved talking and you could converse with her on any topic. She was an avid listener and a brilliant talker. Smooth talker would be a more appropriate word to describe her, as she could have you completely enraptured when she spoke.
Papa was her first born and she had immense love and respect for both, Papa and Mom. Everyone in the family would tease her by saying bad things about mom and dad on purpose, and that would really get on her nerves… so much that she wouldn’t hesitate to pick a broom and run after the person who would speak ill of my mom and dad. Such was her love for them. For mom, she was never a mother-in-law. She was always her mother, not mother-like. There is a huge difference when a woman is your mother, not just a mother-like figure. Similarly for Daadi, mom was her daughter and I secretly suspect that she loved and respected mom much more than dad himself. Mom and she went along with each other like a crazy house on fire. They would laugh, have fun and have their tense moments as well. It would be amazing if every woman could boast of a mother-in-law like my grandmother. I guess the world would be more at peace then.
Even at the age that she was at, she never stopped working. Right from her childhood days, she was a very hard worker and never hesitated to do any amount of work around the house. I remember as a kid, when we would go to the village, when there was neither tap water available nor a hand pump in the house; and she would walk such a long distance to get drinking water from the nearby well. She would carry large buckets and bring them back home filled to the brim. Ofcourse times changed, and dad ensured that he did everything in his power to make her life easy and smooth. But I learnt how important hard work is from my daadi as well as my parents and how there is no substitute for it. She was an epitome of hard work and how she raised her children through tough times is an example on its own.
Daadi was a complete foodie and she loved food. Anything that was called ‘food’ was good. She would relish chocolates as well and as far as I can remember, she never refused a chocolate. Just like me, I guess even she believed that refusing a chocolate was a crime, a sin of the highest order. She had an amazing sweet tooth. I loved seeing her eat sweet stuff. She was someone who valued gifts and each time I brought her something from one of my trips abroad, she would flaunt it in the village. She never really asked for anything, but she would hold everything I gave her as a prized possession. I would love buying sarees for her and ensured that I bought her one whenever I bought one for mom during my extensive travels in India. I remember this one time when she was in Mumbai and we dressed her up in one of my salwar suits and clicked a picture. She was so shy and asked us whether we would send the picture to dadaji. Hahaha!!! That day was so much fun. She was so open to everything in life. Never refused to try anything new, never feared doing anything that she hadn’t done before and had this undying zest for life. There is so much to learn from her.
With her, we have lost our entire set of grandparents. She was the last one alive – of the four, so a generation is lost. But we are all happy that she even saw and played with her great grand-kids, enjoyed every facet of life and every relationship as well. Today, her last rites were completely by my young cousin. I am sure she died a happy woman who just moved on to the higher realm because of old age and satisfied after having seen everything there was to see in this lifetime.
My only regret is not being able to bring her to my house in the US. Her eyes always lit up whenever I asked her whether she would travel with us to the US and stay with Desh and me. The answer was always yes. I also asked her whether she would be able to sustain the 16-hour long flight. But whenever I asked her this I felt stupid, because there was nothing she wasn’t open to doing. I so wish daadi would have come here and blessed our US house too. But am sure she is looking from above and showering her blessings on us. I know I was one of her favourite grandkids (her first-born grandchild) and she will look over me forever, and for that I consider myself lucky and I am very thankful too.
Today, she was taken on her last journey in full regalia and band baaja (music) for she lived a happy woman who embraced life in all its forms. Dear Daadi, we are all going to miss you so much. And even though there are tears flowing down my cheeks as I write this in your memory, I will always remember you as someone who taught me how to live life queen size no matter what the circumstances! Be happy wherever you are and may god bless you Daadima!