She was my link to a fascinating time in my country’s history. She had been a witness to the freedom struggle, and to my pride and delight, also a humble participant in it. That connected me irrevocably to a glorious era of great men and women who selflessly gave their all to win independence for our land. She had seen it all, and through her, I felt that I had been a witness to it too. Her vivid descriptions would stir my imagination and her stories of the pre-1947 days would never fail to intrigue me, no matter how many times she narrated them. I would take great pride in telling my classmates that my grandmother had met many of the heroes of the independence struggle that most had only read about in textbooks.
I went through a whole range of emotions that I felt for her at different stages of my life – the awe as a young child turned into a slight wariness of her strict discipline and then the proverbial generation gap as a teenager. As an adult, I may not have agreed with her on most topics but I could never discount her opinion – she always made me stop and think. I would always know whether or not she would approve of a situation and anticipating her reaction would make me smile. But what remained unchanged were the enthralling narrations of a bygone age that would spill into politics, philosophy, psychology, current affairs and what have you.
Its therefore more than a personal loss that I feel today. It’s as if I have lost a slice of history – a valuable connection with a celebrated past. Although the direct link is unfortunately no more, her voice will forever remain strong in my memories as will the most precious takeaway of our times together – an endearing interest in people and a compelling passion to share and discuss everything under the sun.