My great-grandmother remembered very little of her life. And I wasn’t one of the things she remembered. In her memories, my dad was still a young boy. So, my existence didn’t make sense to her. Introducing myself as ‘Krishnakumarinde molu’ just made me an anomaly in her timeline.
But that never stopped her from talking to me whenever I sat beside her in the verandah. It didn’t matter to her that I was a stranger, as all that she wanted was some company and a compassionate ear. Clad in a settum-mundum, donning a charming toothless smile that lit up her face, she would place my palm on her hand and recount the warmest anecdotes. But she only had a handful of stories to share, and they always revolved around one person – her late husband, my great grandfather.
She enthusiastically narrated the same set of stories every day; how she used to eagerly wait for him to return home after work and the things he used to surprise her with. When it was the turn for the story of the precious sari he gifted her, she would let go of my palm to gleefully illustrate the width of the kasavu in the sari by widening the gap between her frail hands.
Some stories made her eyes well up, but she always brushed them off with her signature laugh, content that her stories kept him alive for another day.
I am thinking of her today as I wonder what memories I will hold on to when my mind starts deteriorating. Of all the moments I have lived through and will live through, which ones will make it to the end? What if all that is left behind is a silly memory that doesn’t qualify as a good story? Or would I be lucky enough to talk about the moments and people that made life worth living?
I hope and pray that my mind treasures the best for the great-grandchild I won’t recognise!