My grandmother told me that her sister passed away last year. And for some reason, that’s all I could think of.
To describe it, she used the word “expire.”
Now that I’ve been spending a lot more time with my grandparents, I time as limited. One that can be snapped from me within minutes. No sooner am I sitting in their extra room, that they’ve kept so tidy for their grandchildren than I am calling up the ambulance for something unfortunate.
To see them go is a forgone conclusion, for me to bear it, with my grieving mother is another matter altogether. I hope to deal with it as any good son would. With strength.
I got distracted.
The context of my grandmother mentioning her sister was her remembrance of childhood. She often shares it with me, as I sit at her bedside.
I should get used to it.
After dinner, she takes her pill and lies on the bed. Just within the reach of her radio, humming the tune of yesteryear. She never fails to remind me the reverence of the song, whether its Mohammad Rafi or Kishore Kumar.
On this occasion she let the music be the background. She spoke about her grandfather, my great-great-grandfather, and how he always told the two sisters off for staying up laughing while the household slept.
I imagined how old he would be. Then realized he died long before my mother was even born.
How his life would have been.
Their house was in Nagpur, Maharashtra, it was, as she described “a duplex.” I can only imagine what it looked like. I’ve never even seen a picture of it.
I can only imagine it to be beautiful, such a wonderful woman can come from no less a house.
My grandmother and her sister shared a room. God knows how close they were.
She told me of how they went to school together at 11 a.m. and came back sharp at 5 in the evening. They walked. No one in their right mind would even consider walking to school these days, she lamented.
She now thinks of walking for 15 minutes in the apartment colony as an achievement. How life takes a toll.
For a brief moment, she laments our generation for being stuck to the TV. Not an out of place statement for someone her age.
Family time, around the table, is what she misses. I can see her face light up when her three children sit at the table talking and laughing, rather than staring at screens. It doesn’t come by too often.
My grandmother told me about the passing of her sister. And for some reason, that’s all I could think of.