It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the first story that comes to my mind when I look back at my life clings to you. I have seen people writing about falling in love with their gender counterparts and falling out of love as easily. My tale here holds this woman I love in the close embrace of longevity which is sure to last a lifetime and which stands sturdy against the curse that time and distance exude.
So who is this woman? I was 10 years old when due to the advantages of a job or say the disadvantages it tags along, my mother had to relocate to another place. Then there was my father who had hardly stayed with me, owing again to the job obligations. Grief held me close when she left, for a mother's love is irreplaceable but the one which time had in store for me was nothing short of a fairy tale.
She took me in as her own kid. She was my grandmother.
Initially, I was a bit apprehensive if we would get along well but somehow, it all fell into place. The day began early with me following her around the kitchen. We would go to temples together. I still remember the odd timings-sometimes 6, sometimes 7 in the morning and at times as early as 4:30 on a chilly winter night.
We had one good school in our locality, a convent my mother wanted me to be a part of and my grandmother took on the challenge of getting me there. She would take me to tuition classes everyday walking perhaps 1-2 km a day. In the end, it paid off and there I was at an institution which now is my alma mater. Day by day she learned of my taste for food, cooking stuff that I would be delighted to have at the lunch break.
The best part of the day was when I would return from school and share each minuscule details of my unadventurous life and she would listen to it all enraptured as if it held any interest.
Giving close competition to it were the tales of her childhood, tales of newly constituted India, tales of her Pakistani friends that she wishes to hear from, tales of poverty that usurped her right to basic food and education, a journey of how despite all the odds she was one of the most educated women in the society.
There were nights when there was no electricity and we would sleep together under a starry sky.
I would look at her falling asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow and the tiredness of age and work took over. I stayed with her for 8 long years and she has been the most beautiful and the most encouraging part of my life.
in a country where hypocrisy rules, my granny taught me how a girl was different from a boy in supreme ways, she taught me why a girl should learn how to cook to sustain herself in hard times, she taught me how to place my faith in the almighty, she taught me how to follow the path of honesty, she taught me how to cook, how to knit and helped me along with my studies as well.
In the age she belonged to, her thoughts were revolutionary and so she inculcated in me to hold my head high as I parade around with my own values, oblivious to prison of societal laws.
She has aged, her hands are more scarred as she still refuses to stop working, her grey hairs have turned white with the wisdom she continues to gain and impart, her face holds more wrinkles now but she is still a gorgeous woman with the most benevolent heart I know of and her eyes still have that gleam of revolutionary ideas.
She is secretly proud of me now, me doing MBBS and all, though she would like me to always play modest. We talk on the phone and she continues to advise me with best of her ideas on studies, music, friends, boys anything I can name on. When I go back home she would cook that delicious kheer I have always loved feasting on and then there would be so much new to debate on.
She is a perfection I hope to be someday.
She is the one woman in my life I would perhaps love the most and fear the most for she has to look at me and she would see right through my lies or any mask I put on. She has always been there and she would always be there, irrespective of time and age. Well that is how you define love, right? And here she is, bearing exquisite details of a Godmother, my grandmother, the first love of my life.