Some flashes down the memory lane, I see her face, smiling and embracing me when I went hopping and running in to her Arms.
Me in my childish voice: Ba - Ba mane varta sambhlavo ne [Grandma please narrate me a story].
Grandma: Smile, ahiya mara khoda ma av Shakura Ma tane sambhlavu varta, hey bhagvan aa chokri akho divas doda dod kari muke che [come here in my lap Shakura Ma I will narrate you a story. Oh god this girl she keeps on running around whole day].
She narrates a episode of Ramayana, where the great Hanuman Dada, goes to rescue Sita Ji.
Me: Ba Hanauman Dada kon hata? [Grandma who was Hanuman?]
Grandma: Are dikri Hanuman dada to bhagvan kevay [Dear daughter Hanuman is a name of a God]
Me: ee bhagvan keva hoy? Ee bau mota hoy? Kya che Hanuman dada? [How does that god look? Is he too big? Where is Hanuman?]
Grandma: ee dikri bhagvan motaj hoy ane, apne dekhya nai, Ee mari mavdi mari Shakura Ma hui ja tu ave [Dear daughter God is always big and, we cannot see him, ohh my mother, ohh my Shakura Ma go off to sleep].
Me: Tame mane aji varta keso ne to hu sui jais [if you still narrate me a story I will go to sleep]
She begins another episode of Ramayana, as I rest back into her lap clenching her terry-cotton saree and the powdery smell of her body that was wrapped in that saree. The sound of her bangles as she tapped on to my head, all ended the cacophony of my unanswerable questions with the joy of victory and the satisfaction caused by her immeasurable love. Those stories were priceless, even though after I grew up and had not time for her stories, it had an everlasting impact on my mind. It wasn't her stories in those early days back in Surendrangar (A small town in Saurashtra Peninsula, Gujarat) it was her, the warmth that can never be explained. The undemanding love that she bestowed upon her first grand child. Me.
Her little castle town had become my birthplace out of merciless riots that had occurred all over Ahmedabad city and it was her who coaxed my father to force my mother to flee (in a truck) to her in a 'Safe Haven'. I thank her for that, although I had bore lot of regrets in time for mentioning a name of much unknown town on my passport which would often become a matter of queer amongst my mates. She after my birth tirelessly worked on keeping up an ailing child in the healthiest state. Soon after the situations recovered I was called with my mother back home. I lost her. From time to time I have always lost her. I missed her.
As an when I grew up I often inquisitively asked my other, why didn't she ever chose to move with our family? To which my mother used to answer,"Beta, she is old and you grandfather lives there and she has lived there all her life. Will you move to an unknown city in a small apartment?" She was right she lived in a mansion, incomparable to our small house with small venting balconies in a concrete city. Still my childish mind never accepted that, I always forced her when I managed to go to her town or when she opted to come with my Grandfather for his routine check ups. She usually swiftly replied to my questions, I will come my child. I have lot of work and then would hug me and make me sleep in her lap. Laughing and tapping, Shakura Ma. I never knew why did she call me Shakura Ma. I still ask why, many times when I lay in the starry sky her face comes to me, and I ask her, Why? She Smiles and fades. She is now gone, gone forever, why?
She left this world just 2 days before I migrated back to India, Sluggishly this time too as if she said, I will come Dikri. But I know now she will never come. Why? I am in a cliche. I loved her, longed for her all my life and she didn't even give me a chance to see her the last time. Why? She too deserted me like my Grandfather. I was a child when he passed away. I couldn't understand why he went away in that age. But in this age I did understand why she went away. I couldn't cry much when she left, but I still resent yet love her. The only thing I remember after she passed away is her voice in my ears, I will come. I thought she would really come and I kept on waiting at the door that she will come, but once again didn't come. I know she blessed me in that fervent dream, but that wasn't enough Ba [Grandma].
One thing I am thankful to her and my grandfather that I had an opportunity to live with my grandfather's sister back in London for a considerable period of time. She was really a part of them I could feel the same smell and warmth around her, although I could never tell her. I love her too and most times when I see her image I see my both grandparents smiling at me. They are like my priceless loves.