My paternal grandmother passed away on 10th January 2014.Oh no,no, this post is not a rosy picture of my relationship with her nor about her glorious past and, this post is not about the philosophies of life and death.This post is far different from what you can even guess.
I did see lot of positive and negative things during the funeral.The negatives outnumber the positives but I am not going to write about the negatives here because of two reasons : 1)The negatives won’t fit in just one blog post and 2)my Father might kick me out of the house for badmouthing about his relatives(he doesn’t follow my blog,but still this is a very bad risk.)
For the first time in my life,I became a “real” host.When my Grand Father passed away,I was too young to help my parents in anything other than controlling my Brother.In most of the other functions, which were weddings,there was nothing to do except getting dressed up in the morning,having sumptuous meal in the afternoon and dancing in the night.This time the scene was different.I had to immerse my hands in everything from sweeping the floor to settling the bills.Money is important;in fact,having cash is very important.More than liquid cash,cash works better in Kerala.Especially during an emergency such as death,having cash in our hands is a big relief.I was always against the idea of keeping cash in our hands.But,this time I realized how helpful cash could be;of course we cannot pay by card to drivers,helpers and in grocery shops.A fair amount of cash can be very helpful during emergencies.
This is the most important lesson that I learned.After the funeral,that night I didn’t think much about my Grand Mother but I thought very hard about what I saw during the day.There were a lot of times,when I have teased my Father telling that he doesn’t know how to keep up friendships.He rarely keeps in touch with his friends.But,my Father never ceases to amaze me with his life.His entire “bachelor lodge” friends gang came down and that was a big relief for my Father.They cheered him up.Most of them had taken off from their work and traveled early morning to reach our place.They joined rest of the family giving orders,making people work and settling some bills.Next day I got to know from my Mother that all my Father did was sending a text message to two of his friends in his old gang.This is when I understood the true meaning of friendship.My Father doesn’t have them in his Facebook friends list,he doesn’t talk to them daily,he doesn’t remember their birthdays,he doesn’t text/IM/Whatsapp them,but when he needed them the most they ,all, were there with him.Nobody complained or made a fuss about he sending text message to only two people.They were more than enough happy to stay with him for the entire day.That night what I thought about was how many friends do I have whom I can truly and blindly trust in my life,how many friends will actually come down to console me when I am in need,how many friends will pay off my bills even without mentioning about to me later and how many friends will take the pain to take a day off to sit with me.After thinking for a long time,I came down to just two people and realized that those two people have been with me for more a decade.Though I had told about my Grand Mother’s demise to few of my friends,only these two people came to see me.I’m so glad that I have two people in my life to whom I can hold on when I am in deep shit.The irony is the people with whom I talk/text/chat didn’t give me even a call.Having sincere friends is a big bliss in life.Yes,this is an advice — If you don’t have trustworthy friends or relatives,work on it.They make a huge difference in your life.
My Father was in an important meeting when my Grand Mother passed away.His mobile phone was switched off and thus,he became the last one to know the news.The shock was immense as he wasn’t expecting such a news because Grand Mother had looked perfect before he left for work on Friday morning.This is the time when you need an efficient and sensible spouse.In our society,men get little time to grieve as they are expected to run around.Here things were different.My Mother made sure that my Father is free from all the strings of responsibilities and gave him the space to grieve,cry and pass the phase.It was a big thing a wife could do to a husband and vice versa. She ran around the house,made sure the things are ready for the rituals,made all of us work, and in the end everything went on well as we all helped her.She didn’t pester him for taking decisions or opinions because those weren’t the need of the hour.For the first time,we felt that we worked together like a family.My Mother told my brother and me only one thing — this is the time to support the Dad and we made sure that he has his time with his siblings and family members. Later when my Father hugged three of us,I could sense his relief and I feel as a spouse and kids,the best thing one can do to another family member is to help him/her move on during a bad phase.He did tell us to go back to work but we stayed with him until the rituals are completed only because we didn’t want him to go through the pain alone.
Now to talk about my Grand Mother — We never got along well and we had our own fair share of disagreements and fights.But,she was a beauty with brains and an awesome Mother.I was surprised when I realized that I didn’t shed even a single tear throughout the funeral.But,on the third day when we went to collect her ashes,I did see pieces of her bones and I couldn’t help not to cry then thinking about the Iron Lady of my family.