She wore her soft silver like a precious crown
Didn’t like mehendi or modern hair colors
String of white pearls around her neck
My dadi(grandmother) smelled of silk and spices
Little elephants carved in her gold bangle
Two of them in each hand
Crinkled sweetly when she moved.
Draped carelessly, a little loosely
A soft Banarasi saree in beige with a big border in glistening red
Just like the oversized red bindi shining on her dark forehead
I remember her sitting on a wooden stool in the backyard,
The smell of fish and mustard in the air.
Baba(grandfather) making yet another stove from the mud
I think she didn’t want to cook inside that day.
I remember her yelling at me because I was trying to climb the old apple tree.
But then she burst into laughter- because she could never be angry for long.
Dark like the dusk, brimming with talent and mystery
Dadi often sew me frilly frocks like the heroines wore in Hollywood movies.
Then one day I remember my dadi crashing to the ground
A loud large thud, earth-shattering cries
The house went quiet and loud at the same time
Swarming with people, yet desolate
The air turned green, and I puked in the hallway
It was the day when they brought my baba
And wiped her vermillion away
Took away all her colorful clothes and
told her she could never eat fish again.
After that day, my dadi would often tell me that baba comes to meet her.
The doctors said she had lost her mind.
That she was a lunatic and made up all these lies.
One cold dawn of November, she didn’t wake up from her sleep
Her lips dark, dry
And her body cold like ice
I couldn’t do no matter how hard I tried, no I couldn’t cry.
Because I knew baba had taken her away
And in some other world very far, far away
Everything was once again fine.