The Gift Wrap is Undone
With the onset of summers since I was a kid, I spent my days or rather months nonchalantly licking popsicles and relishing all the delicacies my grandma prepared. Somedays they were dahi bhallas while others they were Youtube’d experiment. In winters, I let the lukewarm sun rays bathe me in the prosaic verandah, rummaging my hand through the anaj spread out on the mattress for drying. Ah, the earthly carefree smell.
But, I have been busy now that I am an adult, you see. There is always a but, isn't there?
Her silver strands brushed neatly into a bun smells of coconut oil. Does she still use coconut oil? It is not the sun that kisses morning to the world first, it’s my grandma who bathes, prepares her tulsi leaves and is an alarm clock for the Gods. Only when the tulsi water sprinkling landed on my face did I realise it was morning already. Her ambled steps as soft as the touch of a feather. Does she still wake at 4 am? Is she still feeble or is her sickness not allowing her to walk? How is it that those evenings were unusually long and slow and in hindsight, it seems as if the time was still? Is it possible for days to be that slow? Does daddy still fall asleep anywhere anytime even when he is merely sitting?
The trunk of the ephemeral past unpacked one day and the memories came rushing by. I have spent most of my childhood with grandparents, loved them and still do just as equally as I do my parents, and yet there is a banal distance in the relation. It’s been years since I visited my nana-nani house and just as it is not difficult to behold the changing sky as the sun sets, it has not been that rough emotionally. As for my daadi, I have never been close to her. Is there a pang of guilt for not being able to feel the same care and love consistently you did once? Sometimes it freaks me out. There are memories. There is love. But where is the connection? Has it left me, wasn't there, or just lost somewhere?
A friend once said to me, “The thing is, as you grow up, your relationships and intimacy change. Many of us don’t have the same connection with our grandparents, that we had as kids, and it’s nothing to feel guilty about.
In a world where people are losing their loved ones constantly, I feel a dreading thought overcome me. The thought of my grandparents leaving this world and that trail of unwanted foreboding doesn't halt. It daringly moves to a place where I would not feel as bad as I ought to. Is it easy to live with that hollowness? Or is it ok to make peace with it? Have our grandparents made peace with it as well? Sometimes some people remain, always, a part of our lives but not that integral. We don’t consciously choose to depart from their lives, it just happens. To put it simply, our parlances aren’t in tandem anymore. And that is not bad news, right?
Maybe it is ok to have the nicknames and metaphors and pieces folded neatly away in a box only to open it once in a while. Maybe it’s just the occasional unravelling of the box that makes life worth living?
PS: the anecdotes may be fictional or a fragment of my over romanticising mind, what matters is the love and thought.