I didn't celebrate my birthday this time around. Reason being my grandmother (mom's mom) passed away two days ago. Reality is yet to sink in and somehow I find it hard to believe that I won't be able to ever see her again when I visit my ancestral house. We cousins are forever teasing her (in a fun way, of course) of how she "never feels hungry" and then goes on to eat around 5-6 idlis for supper with ease. She had a peaceful death -- and we are thankful to God that she was taken away without feeling any pain.
I didn't even realize it was my birthday today till I got those 12 o' clock messages and calls. Funny how life changes. Before, I used to literally remind everyone that my birthday is coming up and here I'm at a phase where others have to remind me about my birthday!
I was able to see all of my cousins at the funeral. When we touched her feet, we realized we won't be able to do this anymore -- and all the emotions just came out like a flood. She has been a wonderful grandmother. I haven't heard her raise her voice at anyone, including her children. She was a very bold woman who took everything in her stride when grandfather passed away. During most of the day, she was alone in the house, only with an old aunt (who happens to be very timid) for company. But never once did she ever complain that she's scared of living at such a desolate place. I admire her for this very courage. She used to sing like a nightingale (a quality which has not unfortunately transcended across generations :)), and I remember how I and Pri (my cousin) used to sing along with her whenever she started singing. A favorite being - "Vara Veena". It's a beautiful memory with a dream-like quality to it. One of my favorite memories of her is the way she used to call me "Ponma"(deer) whenever I called her "Grandma". She apparently found the word "grandma" very funny.
We all are taking comfort in the fact that now she is at a place where her true love is - her husband. They were meant for each other even if they were poles apart. My grandfather was a well-learnt man as far as I know and can talk about anything under the Sun. My grandmother, on the other hand, loved talking about people and not about current events as such. He was a strict disciplinarian whereas she was disorganized, sluggish in a way. We all were dead scared of grandpa, but showed no hesitancy in teasing our dear old grandma. Our grandfather used to give us little gifts like gems and poppins which used to make us smile with glee, whereas grandma didn't believe in giving gifts as such. There were so many differences, and yet they lived peacefully together.
We did cry our hearts out, but then realized she might just not like the fact that we are so sad here without her. She would be happy considering the fact that all her grandchildren got together again after such a long time -- each one of us being busy with marriage, work, school, college etc. All of us got together for a round-table conference of sorts and chatted our heart out about everything. We had a look at all our old pics together, talked about how color blindness exists only in the male folk of our family (weird but true!), and just about anything that connects us together. I'm sure our grandparents are looking at us from up there and realizing now THIS is a type of happy joint family that is very hard to find nowadays. I'm glad I'm part of one such rare joint family.
Getting back to my birthday, I wasn't really bothered about it and thanked everyone cordially for all their wishes. But yes, a number of posts/messages did make me feel a bit better. Unexpected wishes came in form of a popular RJ, VJ and hot-shot photographer respectively. I was expecting these people to shy away from wishing others in public, but I was wrong.
Sandeep Balan again managed to surprise me. And why wouldn't he? He is into marketing and very well knows what appeals to the public! :) He made MTV VJ Jose Covaco wish me, yet again!
To everyone who is reading this post - instead of wishing me, please say a silent prayer for my grandmother tonight. It would be the best birthday gift you could ever give me! Peace.