It has been exactly an year without you. I cannot say that I miss you, I feel your absence and there are tears in my eyes.Yet there is no void without you, somehow you refuse to go and stay put in our lives. And weirdly cruel it might sound to you out there, but each time I remember you, I just cant stop laughing at the silly,funny and annoying acts that you merrily did. I am imagining you in that Universe where you are stealing those white stars thinking that they are Milky Bar chocolates. You were a sweet old nasty rebel who lived the world the way she wanted to.
Not even a day passes without thinking of you atleast once before I sleep. And honestly when I had outgrown your lap, I hadn’t found time enough to remember you so often. Now that you are unreachable, your penguin walk comes strutting before me- always, all ways and there is no escape.
Bou is my Bou. She wasn’t the grandmaa a Jeje Maa is supposed to be. She was the Mummy, the friend, the teacher, the Cartoon Network, the enemy, the Punching Bag, the Family Clown, the all… while I was talking those first steps in my life.
I distinctly remember how she would enjoy the tough times she had while handling the unruly me, while Mummy was away doing her Post Graduation. She would oil my hair and I would punch her for damaging my hair style and later make her shampoo it. I was in Kindergarten and none less than a hyper-melodramatic moronic kid. I would forget my homework at home and she would nervously run to school, carrying all my notebooks, not knowing which one could be the forgotten homework copy for which I could be punished. Then she bribed my Ayaas there for sneaking that notebook to me.
She would make tiny clay utensils for me to play kitchen-kitchen. She would drag me to the gents barber shop to chop off my bird nest like hair, lest I wailed to have the Madhuri Dixit hair do for school. No hair= No care! She would fight with all the people who picked up fights with me. She would tell me endless stories until I finished my food or fell asleep. Now, she has gone to sleep forever.
Bou! We would be annoyed at your extraordinary skills of stealing anything sugary and forbidden. We would laugh at your never ending desires to dress up like a 20ish bride. You never failed to sneak into my cosmetics and consume the entire bottle of perfume, lotion , nailpolish , despite having your own. You always thought mine was better- you out-rightly naughty woman! And of course pluck those exotic roses from the garden in the name of offering them for Puja and then they would pompously sit on Goddess Lalita’s Bun (Head+ Pitch Black Tassil – Hair) 😛
We would frown at your never ending chatter about all the irrelevant stuff in the world, while you watched the repeat telecast of a previously watched episode of a mindless soap and took pride in predicting the next scene before it came. When you were asked relevant questions about the ‘n’ number of mischiefs you had done throughout the day and the crate of ripe mangoes was found empty- you knew where to divert the attention and feign innocence. When you were silent, your Ludo dice would endlessly clang in its tiny box. You would play Ludo by running all the 4 colours yourself and being your own opponent. You never trusted our ability to be a player of your match and never were you ashamed of cheating to win. You crooked woman! I often wonder, if you took revenge on us for raising all the nasty kids in the family for 2 generations,and hence suitably being a bounty combo of All-in-one-Oldie!
I had so many dreams of getting you so many things with my first salary, making you proud by becoming someone someday. When I think I reasonably became one, I didn’t find you much proud. I think, you were always infinitely proud of me irrespective of how big I was in years, or seemed to be by ‘big’ accomplishments. You were a merry and content lot- always. I thought of buying you more of those fancy bangles that I got for you always… and those silver payals, you were unhappy that they didn’t make much sound like that of a bride! My Bangles , my payals were with you till your last. I wish I was there too.
I regret that I couldn’t buy you the promised new Ludo Set, couldn’t play Ludo with you one more time- where no matter what , You always won. I never can fight with you again, over the loud volume of the TV, over the spilled nail-paint bottle, over eavesdropping on my telephone conversations with my friends…
You have never complained of less attention, of being old, of being made fun of, of being scolded or of being in pain- even while you writhed in that heart attack.You had come to this world, a wailing infant. You lost your mother before you could understand what a mother was. But you never failed to be the best Mother for the kids and kids of the kids… and you dreamt of raising my kids as well! You loved us all infinitely, nurtured the child in me immeasurably. But when you turned a child, I got impatient and fought with you. I can never forgive myself all life through, although I am still in doubt whether you picked up those fights intentionally and actually enjoyed them.
You were a messy, illiterate, unsophisticated, funny lady. You Bou! But your spirit, uncomplaining attitude, never ending cheerfulness, infinite ability to endure pain, never getting mad at us for all the jeering- I wonder whether my education could ever teach me that.
I want to cry out aloud today, because you are gone. But when I remember you, countless happy memories dance before my eyes and your silly smile makes me smile too. I wonder if I will ever be able to leave the world with as much grace as you. I still can’t remember the last time I saw you hurt, sad or in tears. How could nothing make you sad Bou !?!
“When Children are small- they talk and you laugh.
When Children grow big- you talk and they laugh.”
I wish I hadn’t laughed, I wish I had been more patient. I wish I had played Ludo with you one more time. I wish I had let you pluck all those yellow roses, Oh my Lalita Devi! I wish I had watched TV aloud with you- even the 6th repeat telecast. I wish I could talk and I wish I could laugh on you, one more time…
Bou, today you smile in a garlanded portrait in my Puja room…that serious looking, somber image doesn’t suit you well. It makes me nervous… You better become that goofy, whacky woman who cant live one day in her life without annoying people or making them laugh…
Bou. I hadn’t really realized how much I have loved you all my life…
Bou! You are and always shall be picturesque, the brightest colour of our life’s portrait.