Remembering Ajji

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For my Grandmother – Ajji


My earliest memories of time spent with Ajji are probably sleeping soundly in her lap listening to lullabies, looking into her big black eyes as she caught me red handed doing some mischief and always wondering how God made such beautiful, soft and warm hands. Hands that fed me delicacies, hands that bathe me as an infant, hands that held me up after every little fall, hands that applauded the silliest of talent shows that I put up.

As I look back now, 10 days after her death, my eyes well up with tears and I consider myself the luckiest grandchild to land such an amazing, adorable grandmother. She was the purest, kindest soul that I have ever come across. She was always content, always at peace and always selfless. If I could imbibe within myself even one of these qualities I can guarantee you my life would be so much better.

Ajji was someone who had a very unique personality. Her soft heartedness never came in the way of her strong willpower or the way she held command as the Empress of her house. When Ajji asked you to do something or not do something you never questioned her, you simply obeyed, and she did this without ever scaring you or raising her voice. She explained the logic behind the action to be taken in her soothing and reassuring voice and you understood. I respected her not because of the fact that she was my grandmother but because she earned it. In my eyes she was a woman of substance who loved me unconditionally.

As I grew up me and Ajji had long conversations. Conversations that ranged from movie gossip, to the TV serials she watched, to the books I read, the teachers in school and college, my friends, my workplace, and most importantly spirituality. In many ways Ajji was my Guru when it came to spirituality. She was a religious woman with a very strong belief in God, she was a spiritually evolved being but not ritualistic. I know many people who read the “Bhagwad Gita” but she was one of those rare people who lived by those words. She understood what it meant to perform karma without attachment. She knew how to forgive. I have seen her forgive people that I for one would never forgive. I have seen her let go of her past so gracefully and so easily that I only wish that God grant me the same ability if I were to ever reach her age.

In the last years of her life as she slowly grew bed ridden she was able to detach herself from her body. Even in times when she was in pain, she never complained, never cribbed. When you asked her how she was feeling she would always say “Fine”. Not a word more, not a word less.

There are many beautiful love stories that I have read and seen on celluloid. But my favourite is undoubtedly that of my grandparents. I truly believe it is easy to fall in love and very difficult to hold onto that love all your life. My grandparents epitomize that “Everlasting Love”. Their love is unconditional, unending, pure and ethereal. I remember Ajji saying to my grandfather in their last conversations how she was tired of this life but was only alive for him. Even when she was hospitalized for the last time, she waited for him to come to terms with the fact that this was truly “the end”. And my grandfather’s last words to her were, “You go ahead, I’ll come soon.”

I still very clearly remember our last conversation, we talked about a latest movie that I had watched, how busy my mother was these days, and then she asked me when my college was beginning, when was my next doctor’s appointment. She asked me to take care of my health and to enjoy this new career choice that I was making. I can still feel her hand holding mine and I can still hear her voice ring in my ears and feel her cheeks brush my lips as I kissed her goodbye. Only I never knew that it was the final goodbye.

Now as I talk to her looking up at the skies, I tell her how much I love her and miss her. I talk to her about how much I cherish our times together. I tell her how grateful I am of leading this life, because I wouldn’t have existed without her. And I make one final promise to her, that I will tell my children someday of this wonderful woman who loved me more than I loved her, called my “Ajji”.