Season Two

Half a Century later

I have been living with my grandmother since the time I remember, thanks to the joint family set up I was born into. I loved cuddling her until I fell asleep, right from the time I was a toddler. I remember her as being quite active, a superwoman, who drove her car to the spiritual classes she was always excited about, post-retirement. This was a couple of decades back and to have my grandmother going about and breaking the stereotypes so later in her life and so early on in mine, was amusing to say the least. I look up to her with awe.

At school, I excelled in language classes and showed off my perfect scores to her. One such day, she took a stack of papers out of her cupboard and showed me her scores—she had Sanskrit lessons at the classes she went to, and she always aced the tests with a perfect 100, at the age of 67 back then. When she started handling her own classes, she grew busier with attending to students and preparing for her classes.

She was always well turned out, her wardrobe reminded me of the rainbow. I have only seen her in crimson red, midnight blue, jet black or rich yellow hues. Many of my younger relatives are reminded of how old they themselves are, by watching my grandmother carry herself. She radiates positivity and shines bright in a crowd by just being herself.

Not just her sarees, but her choice of accessories turns heads too. There are days she chooses an intricately designed chain with beads that match her outfit or wears a few glass bangles that jingle every time she tugs at the pallu of her saree. 

You might be with someone for several years and presume that you know her completely. So was I. I thought that I knew her whims and idiosyncracies, even when other found her unpredictable. I realized the true beauty of her zeal, the pulsating youthfulness she always nurtures in everything she does and the innate passion she has for the world and new experiences, when she asked me if I could join her on an international trip.

After a lot of discussions with family about the what-if’s and the expected events that might happen, I took my grandmother, who was then 78, on an international trip, all by myself!

It was a week-long trip to Singapore and Malaysia. Though I was 24 at the time and unsure if I was capable of handling the situation, I decided to take the leap. She was clearly happy and excited about all the places we went to. There were times she got tired and I rushed to buy some fluids for her or had to give her a massage after a long day.

There were times when her body wasn’t at pace with her mind and I had to rush to find the lift as she was always scared of stepping onto an escalator. Despite all the difficulties we experienced, we had a wholesome experience together. When we posed for a picture in front of a supertree in Gardens by the Bay, she hugged me tight.

We both were teary and were proud that we crossed the borders together, and steered clear of all the challenges, right from the family discussions the day we broke the news of traveling together to that very moment. She has always set the bars high for me, right from my school days when she flaunted her scores in Sanskrit to not letting age restrict her from doing what her mind desires.

When people ask me where I see myself half a century later, I say ‘traveling the world with my grandchild’.

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