Crazy, crazy, crazy is all I can say about whatever happened this week.
My parents landed at Muscat last Saturday, and we were so overjoyed that we had a Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham moment right there at the airport, for everyone to see. Our family had patented PDA (Public Display of Affection) long before it even had a name. When we were younger, a taxi with jam packed kids used to come pick us from home to school. When the taxi came, our Mom hugged and kissed us before we left, and no, she couldn't have done it earlier. She never cared about who looked, and neither did we. It was our little ritual; hence hugging and kissing parents at airport when thousands of strangers looked at us was practically nothing.
My grandma was sick and bedridden for the last two years. Whenever I went to Kerala I visited her, come what may. There was little I could do for her in terms of my physical presence. Grandma's condition worsened over the last month, so ever since parents arrived, I noticed that my Mom was not emotionally active. I could also tell that her mind was subtly disturbed. On the 23rd of June, I had to go to a different office for official purposes. I completed around 4 pm, and even though my team was still there I insisted to come back. I found two others who later helped me reach home when I got that news we all were expecting, but not prepared to take in.
Grandma passed away.
July is vacation time in Middle East and flights from Muscat to India are usually packed. Hubby and me managed to get two tickets the same day for them. My son was inconsolable, but everything fell in place, and Mom could be there on time and for all the rituals thereafter.
My grandma was a hardworking woman. She made the best of wines and pickles. She cooked and cleaned for a large family, with no help. Since wines were made by grandma herself, we tasted wines since school days, and as a result, any amount of wine does not kick me out of my senses. Alcohol does not turn me into a different person. Thanks to my grandma, store bought wines always come second in terms of authenticity and taste. Her mango pickles were so tasty, that through my hostel days my friends and I did not have any shortage of side dishes. I do not miss her for what she cooked, though. I miss her for the person I called ‘Ammamma’ whom I hugged so tight whenever we went to her home for holidays. She was so round, chubby and soft that it was like hugging a life sized teddy bear. Her face was so round we made lame jokes about it. The times my cousins and I fought with each other, to decide who gets to sleep next to her, are still fresh in my memories. It is the end of an era.
I have fond memories of grandma that smell of homemade wine, which I will hold close to my heart. The hugs and kisses she planted on my cheeks irrespective of place or the number of people around.
Now I realize, yes, that was where PDA originated. I am just glad I dint shy away from those.