Though the males of kin are exceptional conversationalists, I have always rooted for the females of my family. These ‘go-getter’ and ‘no nonsense’ mavourneens are always on the creative pursuits. But contrary to this, initially, I got myself into learning the art of weaving talks on the frame of instance from men. Only to find out later that they were woven around the doings of females themselves.
Now whenever one takes a step down from pacing life to slip into the past, the content of visual memory always overpowers the content of spoken or heard reminiscence. One of my favorite chores as a child was to leisurely slouch on the verandah to observe my grandmother tiptoe from one task to another. And it would put me into such a tranquil state of affairs, which most monks long to get into.
As far back as when I began to recognize her, she remained the creative head of our family and the genre of her tasks ranged from: anything to everything. To us, she was bliss and her hands were themselves of god, capable of creating anything. But for me, her real prowess lied in the simplicity with which she executed the complex tasks from her routine.
Like, she seldom relied on anyone to comb her hair. Years went by and grandma wore the same hairstyle: a bun. Feeble yet proficient, her hands executed the romance of comb with tresses. Separating, solving and sifting down the locks; these were her moments of alleviation. Hair then parted into three, weaved into a braid, were rolled up and above the nape of the neck. Hitting the same spot every time, it was then supported by pins. As she began pinning it, it seemed as if the pins had learnt their positions and needed her lift only for the earthly world.
Her clothes were her second love, all shades of pastel stitched in the same style. She was never harsh on them. With very little soap and light massaging, it was the gentlest treatment that any fabric ever received. She would then rinse them over and again, until the sunshine sparkled best off the water and the smell of soap became negligible. The clothes were then spread across their full length and well-spaced. She herself creased the wet clothes on the line before retiring for an afternoon nap.
In the evening when the sun was still hot, she would come out of her room with a book in her hand and sit on the cot in the verandah. Piling her crisp dry clothes on one side, she neatly and slowly hand-pressed them into the ones as good as new. She would then open her book, put on her glasses and with enough sunlight to her aid, would run her fingers across the text caressing each and every word. She was not a bland reader; she added tunes to her readings. Those soothing hums were like be-charming symphonies of a divine spirit.
To me, she was like a never-ending movie, and I watched it with all my heart throughout her existence. There was so much to gain and so much to learn; she was a teacher without a classroom. Throughout her day, she danced from one moment into another. And these moments of her days, were my chapters in the books of faith, humanity and compassion.
I believe joy lies both in motion and in stillness of the moments. It is imperative to put heart in our intent and let not pass these momentous pearls of happiness that our dear ones hold, for which we are futilely searching in deep waters.
Government official, writer, runner.