I can’t wait to see you!

Last night, I called my grandmother as I usually do once every few weeks. She is hard of hearing. Our conversations usually start with me trying to let her know which one of her five granddaughters she is talking to this time around; and, more often than not, after trying hard to get who is on the other end, she just goes on to assume, out of the blue, which one of us is calling and goes with that flow.  This has never been a problem for me so far – as long as she is hale and healthy, I didn’t have a reason to bother her much by continuing to push the fact that it’s me and not one of my sisters or my cousins.

This time around, though, it was important for me that she knew I was on the other end of the line. For I had a news to share with her that I didn’t want her to confuse it as coming from my sisters or my cousins. So I kept at it – my efforts to let her know who she was talking to. And after a few tries, she heard my name right and I was elated.

The discussion began as usual – me inquiring her about her health and she explaining her current situation, beginning from what went wrong that made her go see the doctor to how it’s all rectified now with ointments and other medications. Touchwood. With that topic covered to my satisfaction, we moved on to talk about family – general inquiries from both ends on how other members were doing, and it is in the middle of this chat that I let her know that I’m to visit India end of this year.

There was a pause. I thought that there was a problem in the line; Paatti, I called out, to check if she was  still there. So you are not able to make it this year too, huh? Your father told me few weeks ago that you were planning a trip, what changed? Why aren’t you coming? came a dejected voice through the phone. I smiled and repeated what I’d initially told her, and prepared myself to say it again, when I heard a soft joyful squeal. When are you coming? Are the dates confirmed? How long will you be here for? … a series of questions came flying.

And, at that moment, I would’ve given anything to see the face that carried her gleeful smile. But I happily compromised to be content with the delight that I could so clearly hear in her voice. It made up for all these years of disappointment of making and breaking plans. And I’m sure when I knock on her door not so long from today, the tight hug that’ll follow will make up for years of shattered promises.

My grandmother was an important part of life growing up. We lived in a joint family setup for a good part of my childhood and hence, spent much more time around our grandparents than our working parents. Growing up with her around, I couldn’t have missed that one thing about that made her stand out and made me look up to her. And of all values I would credit my grandparents for instilling in me, if I had to pick one that is most important to me to date, then it would be what I respected my grandmother for the most – how she was the embodiment of a strong, independent woman. She’s always been a proponent of women’s independence, especially in the financial terms, and she made sure she emphasized and encouraged it in all of her granddaughters.

She moved to the big city from a small town after she wed my grandfather in her teens. In the city, with my grandfather working long hours to provide for the family, she made sure she utilized her time in a constructive way. She learned Hindi and Sanskrit, with my grandfather’s help, and then started tuition classes to teach the languages to neighborhood children. And with the money she made from that, she not only supported her growing family, but also made sure she put away some for her future aspirations.

Till date, at the age of 73, she lives in the home that she built along with her husband. She refuses to move in with any of her children, just because she thinks that will tie her down in some way. She has put aside enough all these years – her earnings and savings from grandfather’s earnings – that gives her a steady monthly income today. And with that, she lives happily in her own haven, by her own terms, without having to depend on anyone.

At a time when everyone around me, including my parents, don’t let go of a chance to remind me that I’m getting old and that my biological clock is ticking, my grandmother is the only one who tells me not to rush into anything just because I’m soon approaching 30, and to take my own time to decide, for getting married at some particular age isn’t everything. Even though, growing up and understanding better what went on in the household made my relationship with my grandmother a little rocky, my respect for her in some aspects remained the same. There are many things that I don’t see eye to eye with my grandmother, yet there is no better role model than her when it comes to her principles regarding women’s independence. And for instilling those very values in me, I can’t thank her enough.

So, here I am now, waiting for November to knock on my door, so I get to hug and kiss that person who has been a big part of making me who I am today. I can’t wait to see that shine on her eyes when we meet. I can’t wait to nag her to buy me kulfi that she’s denied so many times throughout my childhood. I can’t wait to eat the most delicious potato fry I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to let her in on the happenings of life. I can’t wait to take her along to the new home, to see her meet and greet the family, and to have her by my side, as I pen a new chapter of my life.

I can’t wait to see you, Paatti!

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  1. #1 by alenaslife on August 13, 2012 - 7:44 pm

    Grandmothers are the best gift. I’m glad you’re going to see yours.

    yupe 🙂

    Like

  2. #2 by My Era on August 13, 2012 - 9:10 pm

    What a very beautiful post ….brought a big smile to my face and filled me with a warmth that’ll last for while 🙂
    My regards to your very sweet and inspiring Paatti.
    Hugs dear….may November lands on your doorstep soon 😀

    🙂 thank you, ME!

    Like

  3. #3 by The Girl Next Door on August 14, 2012 - 12:43 am

    Awwwww, this is such a beautiful post, Titaxy! Reminded me of my pattis – both paternal and maternal.
    Your grandma sounds like such a wonderful person. Hope you get to meet her soon, as per plan and have a wonderful time with her. I have realised how important it is to cherish every minute we spend with our grandparents.
    Food that grandmothers cook for their grandkids…. that is something different altogether! No one can match that taste! 🙂

    so true, that food part 🙂 thanks, TNGD!

    Like

  4. #4 by Visha on August 14, 2012 - 1:20 am

    Wow…this is so inspiring. Hats off to your Paatti who learnt new languages and started using the knowledge to constructive use. Did she live with her MIL? If so, I appreciate her MIL that she did not deter the newly wedded girl from learning and earning, since both of these were not looked upon in those times.

    P.S I love your name 🙂 Does Titaxy mean something?

    I don’t really know if her MIL lived with her early years of her marriage. I think my great grandma lived with each of her sons few months each year, so maybe she was with my grandmother 3-4 months back then, but I am not too sure.

    Name – It doesn’t really mean anything. Just something my dad used to call me when I was little. He probably doesn’t even remember that now. but amma told me about it once and I took that up as my pen name 🙂

    Like

  5. #5 by Ashwathy on August 14, 2012 - 2:01 am

    Awww 🙂 I simply love this post!!

    May you have a happy reunion in November …. I can so imagine the happiness…considering a similar relationship I shared with my own grandparents…

    🙂 grandparents are special, aren’t they?

    Like

  6. #6 by Swaram on August 14, 2012 - 3:12 am

    Awww what a lovely post. U almost made me want to be there when u both meet and see all that joy for myself. Priceless 🙂

    thank you, swar ! 🙂

    Like

  7. #7 by Makk on August 14, 2012 - 4:27 am

    wow,

    that was superb.

    and you are in India, hummmmm……

    should I say or you got it? 🙂

    thanks! No, I’m not in India, yet. And I don’t get what your last line means 😦

    Like

  8. #8 by Bikramjit Singh Mann on August 14, 2012 - 5:40 am

    beautiful.. reminds me of my nani, I call her now and then , she cant hear what i am saying at all sometimes but I think we have this sixth sense and she replies back to what I am asking and she keeps saying HEllo Hellooooooooooo ..
    grandma’s are beautiful and always the bestttttttttt

    Have a great time and enjoy when you go in nov. have the kulfi’s 🙂

    thank you, Bikram!

    Like

  9. #9 by Kragsr on August 14, 2012 - 11:39 am

    time and again, i end up thinking that people here in India need some form of glitter to swallow anything – as in, they always need a Bollywood actor or a Business big-shot or some screaming news channel anchor – for people to accept a point. It happens so frequently that, people tend to oversee the real role models they are surrounded with – and miss out on many good things that exist around them.

    Your beautiful writing apart, i really like the way you have highlighted your grand mom as a role model – I think it would be even nicer to tell her exactly how highly you think of her 🙂 …….. Gods Bless you all T 🙂

    I’ll be sure to tell her how I feel when I meet her this year 🙂 thank you!

    Like

  10. #10 by Comfy on August 14, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    T, can’t tell you how happy reading this post makes me. Hope November comes sooner than you think and you get to bask in all the love and more. Loads and loads of love. 🙂

    thank you, Comfy!

    Like

  11. #11 by Ritika on August 15, 2012 - 2:12 am

    My grandparents died when I was 16,you are so lucky ! Your post reminded me of my grandmother all over again. She was the most hip and modern grandmom you could ever find 😀

    Give your patti a tight hig from my side 🙂

    sorry to hear about your grandparents 😦 yes, I’ll definitely remember to give Paatti a hug from you 🙂

    Like

  12. #12 by Jas on August 15, 2012 - 2:56 am

    Grandmothers are a boon if you ask me. I don’t have one so it pinches more. Enjoy your time 🙂

    they sure are 🙂 thank you!

    Like

  13. #13 by kismitoffeebar on August 15, 2012 - 12:17 pm

    Beautiful 🙂 I can feel your excitement. I will be seeing my paternal paati in a few days 🙂 my maternal paati, well, she lives in me 🙂
    Thanks for revoking all the nostalgia. Wishing you November soon !!

    wow, that must be exciting! enjoy your time with her. and thank you!

    Like

  14. #14 by pixie on August 15, 2012 - 11:02 pm

    aww.. 🙂
    Hugs T!
    I hope you have a great time in India in November.. I

    thanks, pix!

    Like

  15. #15 by celestialrays on August 18, 2012 - 5:35 am

    Love love love this post! Hug Paatti for me too 🙂

    will do, thank you! 🙂

    Like

  16. #16 by Priya on August 20, 2012 - 6:28 am

    Can so relate to this one T!! Can feel your excitement..
    it was my granma who helped mom in bringing us up.. and she was there for Ammu too! She was always there when we needed her.. but went away when she thought her work was done. She sustained herself and her children through all the tough times. Even now, she prefers to stay alone and insists that we should not send her any money.
    And the ‘hard of hearing’ part is also the same 🙂

    I’ve been making and breaking plans too.. need to make one soon ..
    Enjoy your time with your paatti 🙂

    thank you, Priya! and i hope your plans take shape and you get to see your gramdma soon too.

    Like

  17. #17 by Matt on August 21, 2012 - 5:07 pm

    My granmom passed away recently. Man she was the best 😀 So many memories 🙂

    Well written.

    many hugs. take care.

    Like

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