At The Age Of 80.
The orange shade of the sky swirled with a brush of gold and hints of blue as they covered me like a blanket on a cold winter night. Comforting and soothing. These were the days when I’d lay in my backyard for hours contemplating the ironies of life, with my head up against my grandmothers shoulder. She would narrate stories of her mischievous childhood as I’d laugh at the thought of it. A women as senile as her could never have been young. Her eyes would dance from one corner to another like a Bharatnatyam dancer and her laugh would echo through the breeze as she’d tell me about the day she stole her fathers “lungi” (a traditional south Indian cloth draped around the waist for men). She would chuckle at the thought of her father shouting from behind the door for an entity she had long stolen. And then, as suddenly as it came she’d space out into the far horizons in a distant land with a look of longing upon her. I knew better than to disturb her in times like these of course. For one must never disturb a women lost in her fantasies. Or so my grandmother would always say.
Everyday she would wake up at 5 am and cook for our entire family (a family of 5 to be precise), single-handedly. I would approach her with the intention of helping but she would simply smile and tussle my hair. Pushing away any further conquests of mine. After breakfast she would walk for about half an hour to the nearest well to fill water, on her way back she’d find a thirsty sparrow to accompany her in return of water. Every afternoon, in the scorching heat she’d set out to feed the peacocks, as her hands swung the grains in a sweet melody it was almost like a dance. I’d gaze in amazement as she’d hum to herself and the birds with the same look of longing.
One day I decided to ask her why she spaces out at odd hours of the day. Her eyes suddenly lit and she smiled painfully. She pulled me close into a hug as if consoling herself. At long last she replied, “I miss my days, Chinna (a nickname I got due to being the youngest). I miss those early morning sunsets with Amma. I miss running across the dandelion fields with my sisters. I miss the way my brother would tease me and pull my leg at every possible instance. I miss Nana and the way we’d all fear him every time we did something naughty.” As i looked upon her tired face, a stream of tears cascaded down.
Since that day, I never asked her why she’d zone out. I understood one thing. There will come a point in life when everyone leaves you. A point where all the moments you cherished would turn to memories. A point where all the people you loved will watch you from the stars. A point where you are the only soul left in your journey. And no matter how strong a person you are. No matter how independent you’ve become. That pang of pain every time something reminds you of a person that no longer remains, hits right at the heart. This is to remind you of all the little moments, the priceless joys and the racing hearts. Don’t get too caught up in life that you forget how to live. Call your mother today, thank her for all the beautiful memories. Message your school friends, ask them how they do and where they’ve been. Most importantly, pray for your blessings. Smile at that newly blossomed flower. Laugh like a child. Dance in the rain. For these little things turn out to be the most reminisced when sit upon your rocking chair at the age of 80…