Grandmas are special

A few days back I was telling the twins about my grandmoms. That brought on a wave of nostalgia. We had two of them, amma my dad's mother and chachi his aunt, who was just chachi to the whole world. They were inseparable yet squabbled all the time. My dad teasingly christened them Gulabo-Sitabo.

We had the best of both worlds - a strict mom who disciplined us all the time and the two doting grandmoms who more than balanced her out. Though it's over a decade since they left us, somedays seemingly inconsequential occurrences bring their memories flooding back.

When I'm pushing the kids to have their milk I think of amma who was hopelessly fond of it. Whether she was ill or tired or not hungry at all - offer her a bowl of milk and she wouldn't say no. It stood her in good stead when well into her 80s, she had a fall and even the doctor couldn't believe that she had come away without broken bones.

She was a snorer - a loud and consistent one. She would be snoring loud and clear, yet if one of us asked 'Amma are you asleep?' she'd wake up with a start, "Of course not," she would say indignantly. That turned into such a family joke.

She spoke chaste Awadhi (that's a Hindi dialect), one of the sweetest tongues to me. And whatever she said was peppered with the richest collection of age old proverbs and sayings. She had the perfect one for every situation.

While amma was the religious one doing puja twice a day, Chachi was a young girl trapped in an old woman's body. The high point of her routine was TV time. She had a fixed corner which she'd take right from the time transmission started. Those were the pre cable days yet she'd watch everything the television dished out - from programmes on agriculture and industry to the single weekly Bollywood film. She loved Bollywood.

She was the one who mended our clothes when the seams came off. She was the one who trawled markets looking for the perfect colour of yarn then figure out the 'latest designs' and knit sweaters for us even while pretending to complain about 'these new fashions'. She would much rather chat up our friends than women her own age.

She'd haggle shamelessly with the man who came around to buy off old newspapers. Whatever she made by fleecing off the poor man came to us. Back when pocketmoney was unheard of, those few rupees were quite a treasure. She had the best stories to tell. A bit of mythology and a bit of legend with enough twists and turns and drama to satisfy the most demanding listener.

And she loved my sister - beyond the rest of us. Of course she'd never ever admit it even while blatantly favouring her. My sister was a complete potatorian, she loved potatoes to the exclusion of most other vegetables. Chachi would avoid mom's eagle eye and dish up her favourite for her while the rest of us ploughed through the greens. If mum asked my sister to cook something, there was Chachi quietly and efficiently doing it for her and handing her the tray to go out and take the credit.

Of course it was completely another matter that our mum was a regular Hercule Poirot. She just knew everything. A royal battle would ensue but it didn't stop her from doing it again.

How I miss them. With due apologies to my kids' grandmoms, they just don't make them like the old ones these days.

Come now, it's your turn. What's your favourite grandmom story?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter G. Do drop by to see other G posts.

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