The woman who was a child

I remember her first as a bride, milk white next to my rather dark chitappa. I was in fourth grade then. The competition was fierce to vie for her affections amidst a brood of siblings and cousins. Snatches of images crowd my brain. Her in a six yards saree when my mom and other chithi were in nine yards. Giggling and playing the truant daughter in law. Her love for samosas with spicy raw onion chutney, the kind you only get in a certain Tirunalveli Halwa stall in the dusty suburbs of Madras. Her fine straight hair loaded with strings of pearly white jasmine. Yes. She loved flowers. She did.

I remember her love for Lux soap and Gokul Santol powder. Her eyes round and kohl lined, sparking at the mention of sarees or jewelry. I remember landing at their doorstep in a trip not in the distant past, walking into a kitchen bustling with action. Shelves lined with pictures of us, the kids of the family. I remember her love for life.

I remember standing in a hospital corridor two years back leaning against a parapet wall, looking across to the building that housed the ICU where her husband, my chitappa lay battling for life. We shared a deep conversation at that time talking about life, marriage, infertility, childlessness. All things profound and totally unlike her. I watched as a tear escaped her stoic countenance.

The memories come rushing, tears escape my eyes, finally giving into the shock of knowing she passed away this evening. Just like that. A young life escaping into the cosmos leaving behind grieving hearts and shocked shells.

Rest in peace Chithi. You will always be remembered with fondness and love.

24 comments

  1. Beautifully Written. I also remember her for the things you have listed.It was shocking to learn about her early demise. RIP Chitthi. May god give strength to Chitthappa to bear this loss.

    Anila.

  2. Dear Laksh
    Your words about Viji Mami is so apt and reading your blog brings more tears to my life. When I am struggling to put my thoughts in words you have described her so well. Prayers for her soul to rest in peace and for more strength, courage and confidence for mama.
    Vidhya

  3. I feel very heavy reading this post. The post is so beautifully written that seeing her picture brings tears to my eyes. May he soul rest in peace.

  4. I am equallly shocked as u all. I remember her fondness for silk sarees and r many trips to nalli wenever she came to trichy and her masicha keerai which everyone talks high of which i cud never taste

  5. Thanks Lakshmi. You have described beautifully all my memories of her, that I would not have been able to do so well myself. I pray to god for Chithappa and may her soul rest in peace.

  6. Very well written. Really shocked after hearing the news. I can remember her beautiful smile and that fun speech. Both of them are like our family members. Can’t find words to express. May God give strength to Shankar mama to overcome from this loss.

    Abi

  7. I am truly sorry for your loss. When Anila told me this morning, your chitthi’s face came in front of my eyes immediately. I usually dont remember people I see in snaps, but I remembered this chithi for the same reason that you described. She was fair and well dressed with a huge smile in each picture. I hope your chitappa finds strength to cope with his loss and life.
    madhu

  8. Dear Lakshmi
    Heard the sad news about manni. Your heading aptly describes my memories of her. May God give Shankar athan the strength to cope with this loss.

  9. I was terribly shocked too when I heard of the news from my dad. I will remember her bright cheerful face ever. May her soul rest in peace.

    Aparna

  10. Accept my condolences, Laksh. My heart grew heavy when I heard the sad news yesterday from my dad. Its a bittersweet feeling to see that we are connected by Viji Maamis demise. Hugs.

  11. Laksh – please accept our condolences to you and the family. Yesterday when I ssa your Chithi’s picture here, she seemed so familiar- thought I had seen her somewhere else…wasn’t sure where. And I was trying to place her and then this morn as I was driving into work, I thought I figured it out…might need your confirmation. Did you have a picture of her and Chittappa in your photos blog? So sorry for your loss, she sounds such a lovely person, here is wishes for more strength to your Chittappa, may her soul rest in peace…., love, UL

  12. Akka..What I remember the most about her was the way she treated all children with the same care and love!! Still remember the trip to their home in Tanjore. It was 10 in the night- she had been sleeping.But when she figured we had missed dinner she immediately reproached us and made us eat- all with a smile!! Such a lovely person..Condolences from me and family.

    Meena

  13. Thank you all for the prayers and strength. We needed it.
    @Boo: Yes it is bittersweet. I have met Yaadayaada once in CBE and kind of grew up hearing about you and her from Chitappa. Don’t think we have met though. Perhaps you know Abi and Anu though?

  14. dear lakhs, very well written. she lived as a child, with a
    bubbling smile,& enthusiasm in dressing, having design .. mehanthi in her hands ,enjoying the company of children &so. your describtion is apt. her loss is greatly felt in each &everynook &corner of the house&every occation.its agreat lose for sankar. may her soul rest in peace.

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