MIDWAY: In memoriam

Back then, I didn’t understand love. But she loved me anyway. Enough malarkeys to last a lifetime, but she never complained. She used to tell me stories. All of them, she said, had three sides: your, mine and the truth. I can only tell you my side. You figure out the rest.

She lived at a time when black-and-white television was man-made and Colour TV, the creation of God (I wonder what she would have said of teleconference!). Her eyes welled up at the sight of skinny folks onscreen and never failed to return the Namaste of the newscasters.

I pitied her but also used to double up with laughter at her innocent antics. But she had her own strengths. A magician in the kitchen, there was no food she couldn’t cook. Even the thought of her armed with ladles and spoons was enough to water the mouth. And her compassionate nature was second to none.

Every time I came home during the holidays, she used to inquire if I had become a doctor. I never bothered to explain that I was barely into my secondary school. When I place myself in her shoes, I realise that I must have been a little rude to shun her polite inquiry. But I had little patience for sweet talk in those days. But I could easily discern my parents’ tremendous respect for the little things she did for the family and for who she was. Not that I didn’t love her. But my love for her was akin to my love for my play doll. And much depended on my mood.

Each Dashain, she used to bestow on me her countless blessings: “Dactar bhayes!” Unfortunately, my aims were as changeable as the vegetables. Someday I liked brinjals, and others, but I loathed the same stuff. I can only speculate what she made of my divergent and inconsistent resolutions. I must have amused her quite a bit.

Today, I am sure she is proud of who I am. My only regret is that I could not

appreciate the little things she did for us when she was around. Indeed, we place little value on what’s at hand but lust for the unattainable. I bitterly regretted not giving her her due all those years when one bleak rainy day four years ago, my dear grandma left us all. Even as she left this world, that angelic smile was manifest on her face, as if she were going to a better place.