My Grandmother (paternal) - born in a very orthodox Hindu family, grew up with five siblings, got married at 14 years, went to her husband's place and lived in a big family with four brother in-laws' and their families. Delivered all eight children at home and raised them without much help from any one; not even her husband since he had to travel 25 days a month due to his work. Lost her first son to cholera when he was just 9 months old; after which she became so very cautious and strict in raising my Father, her second son.
Got all her children - 4 daughters and 3 sons married, and saw all her thirteen grandchildren grew up and three great grand children's birth. Victim of a burglary at the age of 80, kept on working till she went to her sick bed; struggled with kidney failure for 3 months and passed away at the age of 85.
It has been more than 3 years since she died; but I can feel her wonderful smell when I think of her. The first and most pleasant smile that I know; next is my baby boy's:)
When I was just 3 months old, my parents had to move to their first home they bought in the outskirts of the city. Since my grandpa was sick and couldn't stay in a remote place far away from Hospitals, my grandparents decided to stay in the City with other two sons and their families.
Though we moved far away from the city, my grandma still managed to visit us more frequently. She used to bring all the groceries required, carried them all alone and managed to catch the first bus to our place. She spends the whole day - helping my mom in all chores, planting new seeds in the garden, improving the home with her many ideas and playing with me, she leaves by the last bus.
Her visits gradually reduced once my grandpa was bed ridden. Rather we visited her frequently. Very rarely I get a chance to spend a week of my summer vacation in my grandparents' place. During the time, I learnt many little chores from my Grandma. Those were the days I loved most as a kid.
My visits reduced to twice or thrice a year and stayed with her for a couple of days. Later, I went to work in a different city from my native place. Once I returned home, I was surprised to see her at my parents' place. I still remember her running like a little kid to open the door. I can still feel her tight hugs and her tears; later I understood the tears were not only out of joy in meeting me but also of the loneliness she felt.
Few years later, I took my parents along with me to the city where I worked. My father who visited her frequently, could not travel that frequently - it was 8 to 10 hours commute one way. Then I had to travel to the US for a couple of years. Meantime, my grandma fell ill; and I was not informed of the same.
Few months after me returning home, my grandma's condition worsened. She suffered a lot during her last days; and we had to travel a lot to my native city to visit her. She was in the hospital mostly. One late morning, while at work, I got a call from my dad that my grandma passed away in the ICU. I purchased a top quality Fleece for her from the States, which I never could give to her!
I still feel that I could not spend as much time as I wished with my Grandparents - especially my grandma. I wish she is around so that I can tell her stories of my travel; I wish she is around to witness my marriage and I wish her presence most when I delivered my first child.
My mom, is one such woman, who loved her mother-in law more than her mother. She respects and still follows her Mother in law's way of doing things. I understood more of my grandmother from my mother.
Now, after marriage, with a seven month old son, I still like to hear a lot more inspiring stories of my Grandma from my mother. I still amuse at the patience a woman has had in raising each of her eight children obediently and the bonding she created among all of them; how she created a happy, safe environment for each of her children; and how she took care of each of them and their little families too.
Whenever I loose my nerve or feel lazy, I remind myself of the woman who created a wonderful Family - which definitely needs a lot of patience and self discipline.