How very fast the first two weeks of college have passed by! I’ve been drowning under assignments, projects, teaching catechism and writing articles for Raga. And, not to forget those damned French Classes.
The next month, August is a very special month for me. I celebrate my grandmother’s life on the twenty-first of August. She died on that day in August 2011, you see.
My Mai – A Konkani word for grandmother, was literally my world when I was younger. My mother went to Saudi because she got an amazing job opportunity. I was six then. I was in the second standard. I had been put a year earlier into school, so I’m a year younger than most of my classmates.
Since I was too small to left alone with my dad who worked during the day, my mother asked my dad’s mom, my paternal grandmother if she would come down from Mangalore to take care of me. She agreed.
So, for the one year my mom was abroad, my mai was my mother. She was in one word – awesome.
It was listening to her narrate stories from the bible and her stories from her childhood, that made me develop an interest in books. I am forever indebted to her for that, among many other things I might add.
She was a strong woman. She raised her four children single-handedly after my grandfather died when my dad was two (he was the youngest). She was an educated lady, who encouraged reading and writing as hobbies, and she was the one who pushed me to overcome my shyness and learn dancing. My confidence today, is a result of her faith in me.
It was because of her that I read the whole bible before I was ten, and developed a deep respect for religion. She was a staunch catholic, but she did not practise in blind faith. She was a respected lady in Kallianpur, my hometown. She was a member of loads of social welfare groups and inspired many people.
Unfortunately, the last time I saw her was for her seventy-fifth birthday in January that same year. She died that August,after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was mighty in death. More than a thousand people came for her funeral. But, I didn’t know any of this since my unit tests were on.
I couldn’t visit her one last time. But, I’m okay with that now.
[I cried for like two hours straight after my dad told me that she’d passed away. I refused to speak with anyone for two whole days because I was so angry.]
She was the epitome of selflessness. And, of Love, Joy and Happiness. She taught me that I can do whatever I want. She inspired me.
Someday, I hope I can be as welcoming as her. I still have walls around by heart and take ages to warm up to someone. But she was different.
Mai was the one everyone turned to for whatever they needed. Whenever there was a wedding in the area, she’d be there first to help make the coconut milk called ‘roce’ and to help in the marriage preparations. Anytime we went to Mangalore, she would greet us with a ‘Welcome! Welcome!’
We weren’t supposed to go for her birthday that year, my dad was apprehensive about me missing school since I was about to go to the tenth grade, the most important year (according to the educational system, not me). But, somehow I convinced my dad and we went. She was so overjoyed seeing us at four in the morning! I shall never forget the joy on her face.
My brother and I were her only grandchildren who’d visited her before she passed away. We are truly lucky for that.
Mai was simply the best. She’s gave me the confidence to tell my mom to go to Doha for a job opportunity, and that I’d take care of my younger brother.
She’s amazing, even in death. I continuously draw strength from her. She gives me hope.
So, this one’s for Mai. Even though she never saw me get into Xavier’s, I know she would have been beyond proud. She would have been overjoyed when I would have told her I got into Raga.
I miss her.
I love you Mai.
Rest in Peace.
A couple of pictures that depict who Mai was – for me, and for everyone who knew her.