March 25, 2014

Memento

I have struggled immensely to write this post. I gave up a couple of times as well. But I felt a deep emotional connect with the idea and my initial thought process as if I owed this piece to myself. What started off as a tribute to a memento, finally  became a way of closure for a memory.

My most cherished memento is a hand written letter from my late grandmother, from 9 years ago.

I was 18 years old then and was leaving home for the first time to join a college, 2200 kilometers away. She suddenly marched into our prayer room and handed me a white empty envelope. Behind the envelope was the hand written letter. It was a hurriedly written small letter, essentially, ruing the fact that I was going far away, asking me to take care of my health, study well and keep in regular touch.
The contents weren't extra-ordinary that you wouldn't expect from a grandparent. However, what made that letter so special for me was the fact that my grandmother had been practically blind for almost 15 years. I have distinct memories of her reading newspapers every morning holding them less than an inch away from her eyes. I remember her watching TV sitting barely a foot away, with her ears glued on the screen (yes, not her eyes!). Someone with such severe disability, to put that much effort, makes it priceless for me

I took the letter that day, put it in my wallet and it has stayed in every wallet I have had since then. But I didn't realize the importance of the letter till very late even though I was always emotionally attached to it. I believe our memories are conditional. We can't miss even our most prized possessions everyday owing to our hectic and roving lives. I never really "returned" back once I left home. Those childhood memories of my home and my grandmother were locked away and were overshadowed by the last 9 years when I moved cities, universities, jobs and countries. 

I met her twice in the last 3 years of her life and hadn't seen her for a year when she passed away. I couldn't return home for another year after that. Since I was away for so long, I never really felt how much difference her passing away had on me personally, till I returned back to her empty room.It was only then I re-lived those moments in my head, and thanks to this contest, I realized the significance of this memento and got some closure to her memories. 

She and this letter, although close to my heart and ever present, aren't a part of my daily life, I must admit. We learn to live without our near and dear ones, such is life. But I do miss her in small gestures. Like, how she wanted to add Ghee to everything , including Maggie! Or when I see my father putting his car keys everyday in front of her photo as he couldn't take her blessings for this one as he took for his previous cars. The most we all miss her when we look at the empty eyes of our grandfather who spent 68 years and 10 months married to her.

The back of the envelope, she wrote on
The Letter. I am addressed to as "Maan".



Late Smt Kanta Devi Mathur (1927-2012)





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"This post is my entry for the ‘My Most Memorable Memento’ contest conducted by My Yatra Diary travel blog and Indian Coupons."