A Picture A Day : Day 1

The kids are now halfway to bed. Halfway because they are there because we want them to be, but they are in no mood to sleep. I wonder how in heavens am I going to change Saee’s habit to one of waking up early in the morning. Her school timings change when the new academic year begins in mid-March, and that being only a few weeks away, I am on panic mode. Besides, with both the kids in bed early, it is much easier for me to work. Not that I mind a pair of tiny hands coming up behind me and hugging me every now and then. 🙂 (And just then a tiny toe pokes me in the back, indicating that the owner of that toe is trying to get out of bed!)


We all know how a picture says a thousand words. A picture, good, bad or ugly also prods you to think a thousand words. Ever seen a picture which takes you back through the memory lane? I am sure you have. We all have. Most of the times we get nostalgic while poring over our childhood photos or marriage photos. Some of these are downright amusing. Then there are those pictures which you see in magazines. Maybe the picture of a perfect woman with a picture perfect (in other words, photoshopped!) body. These pictures engage you in a different way.

Some photographs are just plain amazing. They tell you so much not only about the subject that is being photographed, but the mind of the photographer which sees the beauty in that subject. Would you believe it if I told you that the photograph is first imagined in the photographer’s mind, and then it manifests in reality? I remember my pathology professor from my dental college days saying this, “The eyes see only what the mind knows to see.” While he was referring to us seeing cells and nuclei in the slides under the microscope, this rings true for almost everything we know of. The Law of Attraction is based on the same principle. As a hobby photographer myself, I know for sure that an image first appears in the mind’s eye. How the final picture must look. If that image is not good, the picture will not look good. It is as simple as that.

Then think about this image that I saw while browsing for photographs on the net.

old lady

You can’t but smile at the picture of this old lady. She has more wrinkles than my average readers’ age in months. You can see that she has virtually no tooth. She doesn’t wear much jewelry except for that amazing nose-ring and the striking green bead necklace. Her shawl is frayed in places, but her clothes have vibrant colors. You don’t know if she is smiling or not, but you want to believe she is.

Her freckles give her that air of knowing. That wisdom of experience which comes from years of working, of youth spent in hard toil. Her eyes, tiny, look like the meditative stance of Gautam Buddha.

She reminds me of my grandmother. My mother’s mother. She wasn’t this old when she passed away. But she was the perfect grandma as far as grandmothers go. She had a pair of dentures which she only wore while eating or on special occasions. Every other time, she would flash her edentulous grin instead. I loved the way she licked her lips while speaking, as often happens with those whose teeth have been lost since some time.

Her hair had thinned out. And yet she would painstakingly still comb it and make a teeny tiny plait out of it. Her sarees were always, ALWAYS soft, weather worn but the most comfortable surface to lay your face on.

We didn’t live nearby, so we kids would only go to her house in vacations. However, being a clingy-to-my-mom child, I unfortunately didn’t have the privilege of spending much time with her. I should have. She was an amazing lady.

On those days when I wasn’t being clingy, I remember sitting with my siblings in a circle during lunch time, and she would feed us in turns, while narrating a story. The story would usually be the same, and we would often chip in with familiar sentences. The last morsel was always saved for the crows.

She was a great lady. The whole housing colony where she lived was in awe of her. If she scolded a child from the colony, the parents of that child often scolded the child back, saying, ” Kaku Aji (that was the moniker they had for her) will never scold anyone without a reason. You must have done something wrong. Tell us or we will punish you!”

She was an amazing cook. She never cooked anything other than our Goan fare. She didn’t know how to cook Punjabi food, or Chinese food or any other type of cuisine. But whatever she cooked, was always made to perfection. Just the right amount of spice and salt. She made the best fish. It was always steeped in love for all of us. Some of it has rubbed off on my mom, and then a little of that love of cooking has trickled down to me. But never in my wildest imagination can I match that taste and texture of the food she cooked.

She was so slender, that had she been alive today I would have easily dwarfed her even with my measly 5’2″. Weight-wise I could have hidden two of her behind me. But her personality was so huge, I can never match it. She had completed junior college and had to leave her Bachelor’s degree to get married. Which is why she always encouraged my mom to study more and complete her M.B.B.S. before marriage.

I wish I could have had more time in her company. I miss her. I don’t even have a picture of her. The only photographs there are, are with my uncle. But this photograph was enough to trigger a host of lovely memories.

Thank you Sukanto Debnath for this amazing picture. It took me back several years down the memory lane.

It reminded me of my Aaji.


6 thoughts on “A Picture A Day : Day 1

  1. Aww! Such a lovely post..so well written…grannies are indeed something else! I recently lost my ajji…and this post reminded me of the lovely vacations we used to have as kids at her place!

    • Thank you so much Amu! I lost my grandma way back, somewhere around twenty years ago. But I still remember some things about her very vividly. It’s as if when I think about her, I go back to being an eleven year old. I hope you find the strength to overcome your loss. Please accept my condolences.

  2. And now you have done the same. Reminded me of my aaji. I miss her too. I just had one grandparent so she was so special but, just how much we realize too late..

  3. Pingback: APAD. Day 8. Memories | Mind Brew

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