Never a Good-Bye
She could have stayed a bit longer. She should have waited till I was there by her side, holding her beautiful little fingers, fingers wrinkled and white and soft and beautiful. I tried to run as quickly as I can, trying to save time, time that just wasn't there by my side anymore. Yet I tried. When she passed away, my dad said she died peacefully. She had her loving son by her side, giving her the last few drops before her body caved in on his lap. She have had a beautiful day. Nobody knew she won't be there the next morning. Nobody, not even me, even thought for one moment that she could be gone the next moment.
She was laughing when everyone saw her last, going to sleep after having feeding her three sons, her daughter and her grand-daughter. Her house was full of people that day, people she loved and those who adored her. Absolutely.
But I wasn't there. I don't regret it though. I was always there for her. Every weekend, inbetween those soap operas, she'd unload her thoughts, her fears, her worries to me over a cup of tea and I'd be more than happy to listen to her stories. For those few brief moments, the tension of excel sheets and presentations would seem so far away. She'd ask me about my work. She'd tell me that she was proud about me and that I was a great person, that I had potential to do something great with my life. I'd melt in her adorableness. Her worn-out spectables would rest low on her nose as she'd gape like a child on the screen. Between 7 and 10pm, nobody had the right to take away the remote control. She'd sit like a queen on the deewan in the living room and would always smile and talk to those who'd come, albeit distractedly.
She had someone or the other, every single day to pay her a visit. A family friend, a neighbor, her daughter with her son. Her tiny little house was at the crossing of the neighborhood lanes, so would always be bustling with activities. She'd ignore it all, the street side fights and the hawkers. She' be there with us and yet she'd be immersed in her television shows.
My uncle gave her a gift the year before. He had gotten this huge TV so now she'd see those shows in HD. She was visibly happy, proudly exclaiming how pathetic the previous TV set was! Her white saree that perpetually smelled of turmeric would always be wrapped around her and her tiny head would wobble like an infant while she watched the show. There was smile, anger, despair, relief at every scene and she'd always be ready with her commentary. I loved it when she'd discuss TV characters as if they had just gone back home after having tea with her. Her white hair would be tied up neatly and her hands would always be clasped.
I miss that lady. Just her being there, watching her favourite television show, talking about everything under the sun and how it was unfair when people wanted to see her grandson getting married, was enough for me. In between sips, I'd just look at her and the kind of life that she'd had. My father owes everything to thakuma. She was the iron lady, doing what's best for the people she loved. Sometimes, she even hurt people who loved her, but she didn't care. She knew she couldn't please everyone and that was fine for her.