This is a post I wrote in 2008 and never published. My grandmother (Ajji) lived five more years. Among the people whom I have seen pass away, she and Jyoti Sanyal are the ones who still live fresh in my memory.
Ajji was a remarkable woman. She once gave me her definition of beauty: "When you have two hands, two legs, and all other organs given by God in perfect shape, what else can you be but beautiful?" She was the kindest, most loving woman I have known. And, her love for children stayed intact after the many years of bearing and rearing children.
Ajji is standing beside me, peering into my laptop. I ask her if she wants to try her hand at the computer. She doesn't say anything, but comes closer, grinning. I type out her name in very big font. She reads out each alphabet, puts them together mentally, and says with a wide smile, “LAKSHMI.” She stumps me with her life spirit each time I see her. She always has been, all these years. Then, she asks if I can take pictures from the laptop. I say there's no camera attached.
“Oh, I wanted you to take pictures of me,” she says. Am a little surprised, but I just tell her that I can take pics from my mobile. “Oh good, then you must take pictures of me. You'll need it ... later ... give a copy to your mom here..., you too take a copy and go. Aamele bekaagtade (you'll need it later),” she says.
I understand, but only a moment later. My stupid grin disappears. I feel empty in the stomach. My mom is raising her voice over the din of the music am playing, and explaining some recipe to me. My eyes cloud over. I look at ajji, she's still smiling, standing beside me. I tell her I'll take her to a studio. She likes the idea.
My phone rings .... work calling. Ajji moves away.
Life's incredibly beautiful, isnt it, thanks to death?