My Grandmother

June 26, 2010
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When I envision my 76 year old grandmother, I see a plump and wrinkled old woman emanating cheer and a softness that is usually associated with grandmothers. One wouldn’t be able to differentiate her from conventional grandmothers of her age. But beneath that illusionary image of grandmotherliness exists a young, totally independent minded individual whose lively and quirky nature bordering on sarcasm throws her into sharp relief.
My grandmother and I didn’t exactly share the strongest bonds. Our numerous ideological differences didn’t allow peaceful coexistence. By rule I refused to give in to her even most sensible reprimands. It was her subtle sarcasm that irked me most. Being on the sarky side myself I had found a competent opponent in her. She would challenge me on my ideas using her wit and sarcasm effectively. But with progressing years, I now note with amusement that she simply loves long debates with her grandchildren. Surprisingly strong willed, she refused to give in easily. As a 13 year old she had gone on a three-day hunger strike when her mother forced her to give up school to take care of her younger sisters. My great-grandmother eventually had to give in.
My grandmother and I are famous in our blood circle for the frequent disputes that were unavoidable as we crossed each others ways too often. But then we bonded over these arguments and now completely understand each other. She’s no longer my opponent, but my best confidante and I her protégée.
It is her indomitable courage and cool headed decisiveness that I find most attractive. After losing a man she deeply loved, she brought up her young daughters and son sensibly, gave them the best education and got them married to the best people on earth. She staunchly refused to compromise on her daughters’ education despite the then society’s not very encouraging support. The teacher amma of her town, having been a teacher for 25 years of her life, she understands the importance of good education. . Education, she says, is the best asset parents can give their children. Today she prides in her children and her many grandchildren and talks about them proudly to even complete strangers.
Another striking feature of my grandmother is her passion for experimenting in the kitchen. Not renowned for her culinary skills as opposed to the popular belief about ideal grandmothers who can conjure up yummiest imaginable dishes, she is often the target for jokes which she either takes in good humour or quenches them with her repartee/retort. She still can’t make the ideal ubiquitous sambhar curry(an indian curry eaten with rice) which she aims to before she turns 80!
Currently suffering with cataract problem, diabetes and a general failing health, we all hope and pray that she achieves her goal and lives to make more sambhars.

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