For you, when you meet her, the first impression will be just sympathy. A Brahmin lady who became widow in her young age and struggled hard to raise her five kids…. Nothing more than that! But for me and my family members, grand ma is a symbol of boldness.
Married to my grandfather at the age of thirteen, she was the eldest daughter-in-law of that family. As my grandpa was in love with modern ideas, he and his wife had to bear all the torture and blame for being ‘forward’. For grand pa’s father, his eldest son was almost like an ‘outcast’. He refused to give his properties to my grand pa for the only reason that he studied English and became a physician. And my grand ma’s family was very orthodox. Though she never told me, I guess she had struggled a lot in between modern and orthodox thoughts and life style.
In her mid thirties, she became a widow. From a lady who loved and admired jewels and colorful dresses, she suddenly had to transform to a widow female removing her ornaments and leaving her favorite bright color clothes. Her elder daughter was only 15 when she had to undertake the role of a family guardian. With the help of a few other relatives, she could bring up her five kids. All are now educated, married and well settled. She is now a happy grandmother; perhaps a great grandmother who is blessed to see her grand children’s kids. Arthritis has restricted her movements. She is now in bed most of the time finding it hard to walk without a support.
Don’t think she is just living a hell life in bed now. Still our family revolves around her. Whatever the matter is, the ultimate decision is from her mouth only. In short, she is the ultimate authority who decides what should go on there. I used to wonder about her memory power. As we basically belong to an agricultural family, we have a few acres of farmland. My grand ma has the updates with her on what is going on in these farms. Similarly she has the accounts of all utensils in the house. After each function, she will count and verify the numbers without even jotting it down. She also manages the servants and assign them work each morning. Her commanding power is amazing. No one will dare to shout at her. In her earlier days, she used to tame any animal. Any naughty untamed ones will go silent hearing her commands. She never cares whether it is elephant or a cat. She is also brave enough to go anywhere and try anything risky. She had suffered a lot in her early days. May be that has made her an iron lady.
Last time when I went to meet her, she was in a busy conversation with one of our servants, “On the left side of our courtyard, there are five coconut trees. In that second tree has about 8-10 coconuts. Pluck all and sell four. Give one to our neighbor and get money from him. Rest three, we can use it here.” Oh my God… Even without a glimpse of that coconut tree, she knows the exact figure… What a lady you are granny!! Hats off…