“ No granny No! You are coming to Bangalore…”
“ Mane Java de! (Let me go!) … I don’t want go to Bangalore”
“ Come Granny, Natak mat kar (stop creating a scene)… you have to come with us!”
“ You can’t force me I want to stay at Grant Road with Naomi.”
A teenager kept pushing, dragging her old fragile, grey eyed wrinkled Granny in front of me while boarding a flight!
At first I thought the Granny was senile, had gone cuckoo and the young girl was trying to get her into the flight back home, but after listening to their argument I realized that the Granny was quite sane and she did not want to go to Bangalore with her granddaughter but wanted to stay back in Mumbai with her daughter Naomi, living at Grant Road.
It was really difficult for the young girl to get her cotton frock, red scarf Granny to buckle up in the seat!
Granny kept saying “ You cannot force me… you cheated me!”
Everyone on flight thought the granny had gone cuckoo and was giving a tough time to the granddaughter.
I was feeling angry with the young girl, as she was a bit rough with Granny! I was no one to judge but what ever I saw and heard I did not approve of it!
Just because she was old, just because someone else cannot take care of her, because she is weak and does not have enough money to take care of herself? Why did she not want to stay with her son? And why with her daughter? Was she ill-treated?
A million stereotyped questions came to my mind. I wanted to walk up to Granny sitting four rows in front, buckled up! I wanted to know why she was troubled… I wondered.
I saw Granny at the conveyor belt… she kept saying “Mane Java de! (Let me go!)” I brushed against her twice but did not have the courage to help her, but her smell still lingers, that old age smell that comes from old creased, weathered eye people. The smell of age, the smell of stories, the smell of years … I cannot forget this smell, my granny smelled the same.
Moist, warm and earthy!
My Crazy, Loony Granny!
Now this lady my Granny, was a tough cookie… I don’t think anybody could force her into anything, even at the age of ninety she would simply catch hold of me (I was eight!) and walk the busy streets of Bombay, often landing up on the footpath with the cyclists, all bruised! I still remember crimson blood dripping down her creased arms. Ahh! That texture would be really amazing for some of my graphic design work!
Now they say that my Granny was so feisty and courageous that she dug up her brother’s grave, to kiss him one last time. At an earlier time she did deliver her baby at the steps of the village temple, all alone using a sickle to chop the umbilical cord!
Granny always stacked some Hashish with her; village folks always had it in their metal trunks! Each time she baby-sat me, I would sleep soundly! The effect of Hashish, which Granny use to make me lick!
Granny loved me the most, but till the day she passed she didn’t know my name, she was hard of hearing and she always called me by a homophone “Ranju Baby!” I kept correcting her each time but in vein. I remember telling her its not “Ranju” it’s “Anju!” But she never got it!
Granny loved blessing as well as cursing!
She cursed her eldest son that he would go crazy like her and take the same medicines she took! It happened!
She blessed her youngest son, that may he get all the riches and lovely mansion! Bingo!
Now she blessed me “Ranju” to all riches, beauty and intelligence! It never happened?
Because it not “ Ranju” but it’s “Anju”!