16 weeks along in my pregnancy..get woken by my cell ringing..Mom in tears tells me ‘Apni Nani nahein rahi’. I broke down. Don’t even know how long the tears flowed.
There is so much I remember about her..so much I love about her..so much I miss about her..Nani was not into physical display of affection, so there were no endless hugs or kisses..but I have such fond memories of the huge smile not leaving her face while we were visiting her..eyes brimmed with tears every time we said bye at the end of summer vacations..her plopping me on her shoulders while she ran to catch Bhai..the non stop games of Thyont (a card game I know no other name for)..and her non stop cheating during the game (and did she cheat or what)..the extra dollops of makhan she used to put on my roti..the absolutely hilarious stories she used to spin in the evening when it was time for bed (how I wish I had written them down..don’t even remember a single one in its entirety any more 😦 )..the 50 paisa given every day during the summer vacation to have kulfi on a stick from the vender who came cycle bell ringing in peak summer afternoon..memories so many..so many
Nani loved to get new Salwar Kamees stitched..loved to have ghee on roti, in sabzee, in daal (even when the doctor her asked her not to any more)..loved, I mean absolutely loved getting her pictures taken..loved her grandchildren and their children..She had such a hard life. Widowed in her 30’s with 6 kids, she never let anything stop her. Worked tirelessly in the fields and ensured all her kids studied and studied well, were well settled, had a good life. Smallest things gave her pleasure. Ah Nani I still tear up as write this.
She had been diagnosed with lung cancer but doctors refused any treatment because of her age. They said chemotherapy would kill her faster. She was given a few months to a couple of years to live. She lived about 7 months since her diagnosis. But every time I think of her I am grateful she did not suffer too much in her last months. She was uneasy, I am told, but not in a whole lot of pain. She actually went for a walk, talked to people, was laughing the day she passed away.
Intellectually I know she would not be with us for too long, but on an emotional level I wanted her to live at least the 2 years doctors predicted. I wanted her to hold the great-grandchild I was carrying. Have a picture of the 4 generations (from as back as I remember, I have had this image of Nani, Mom, me and my daughter, four generation women, sitting down to have a picture clicked. The image will now always stay an image, never to turn into reality). But I take with me her happy voice on the phone when she found out I was expecting..her endless wishes for me and for the little one..her joy in the news.. Me having a baby was one of her fond wish and I am glad she knew it was going to come true.
Nani..I want to talk to you so bad..I want you to see the little Buzz so much..I want to hear you say ‘us ka sar puchkaar diye meri taraf se’ so bad..I want to rant and rave..the last of my grandparent is no more..I still have trouble wrapping my head around the thought. I kept expecting you to come out of the room which was yours when I went to Mamaji’s place. Sometimes I still forget that you are not a phone call away and even to date when Buzz does something funny the thought crosses my head, ‘Let me call Nani. She will laugh so much at this’.
It’s been a little over a year since you left us Nani, but I miss you so much..