I Used To Admire her eyes more than anything. They were like two beautiful marbles, looking deep into you. She was very smart, more than most of her peers. She had an authority to manage things around her. But her bright blue eyes would capture my attention far beyond her charisma. Then she would shout out “What are you staring at?” In my mind, I would have told a thousand times, “You should have given me those two beautiful blue eyes!”
My grandma was an enigmatic lady. She lost her mother much before she got married to my grandpa when she was 12! It was allowed, in fact, a norm, back in those days.My grandpa would tease her till she was alive, saying how he feared and hoped his fiance would not look like her tall twin brothers whom he met first. At that, my grandma would get irritated and pull out some job he would not have done. I can still see my grandpa laughing out, with his paunch shaking and rolling as he laughed his heart out 😄.
She was different from many other women i had seen those days. Though i used to fight with her for the television remote and a bunch of other things, she was the only companion who played the trivial Ludo or the old Pallanguzhi that I loved. We would invariably fight over the game too!
Now when I look back at those days, I wish I had told her how beautiful her eyes were! I used to ask my grandpa though, how he managed to marry her. She was taller than him at least by a few inches! He would again laught it out saying she grew taller after they got married.
At 12, I wonder how she managed to stay away from her people, assume responsibilities of being the only daughter-in-law of a large joint family. My grandpa was the only son of his parents and had 4 sisters, 3 younger to him. His cousins lives with them too in those days. His mom is another charismatic lady whom I never met! She passed away before i was born. But I have heard enough about her authority and tact to manage a large joint family, making sure everyone got what they deserved. And passing on the values to her own children along with her husband’s siblings’ children too.
Coming back to my blue-eyed grandma, she was very smart and quickly learned how to manage the house under the able guidance of her mother in law. She was fondly called ‘Manni’ by everyone younger to her in the family, irrespective of the relation! Manni is what you call your elder brother’s wife with respect. With so many in the family calling her ‘Manni’ even the people who lived around us would call her the same.
She was very religious, got up early in the morning, prepared and served coffee to her husband, performed pujas for the family, supervised the maids and other workers around the house and always had the last word😊. No matter how much my grandpa would tease her, she always had the upper hand, and he enjoyed it too! I have never seen her visiting temples as frequently, especially in the early morning time. She would tell – “home is my temple and household work is my puja”. Everything else can wait! After we moved in to stay with my grandparents, my mother would do most of the work. Even then, she would be looking over things and giving suggestions whenever required.
She knew how to manage the house in a far superior way than an educated manager! She never went out much! Shopping was never on her list. She was happy with whatever she had. But she wouldn’t hesitate telling her son’s or daughter to get her something if she wanted. She was proud of herself. She was quite talented. She would often show me her crochet work and the beaded bags she made which she cherished like a treasure.
She was the idol of an empowered woman according to me. She knew exactly what she was capable of and how to get things done. She was strict when she had to be though she cried every time her eldest grandson would leave after visiting. She had brought him up till he was 5! She wouldn’t take any crap from anyone and never hesitated demanding something if she was convinced.
Above all these, her blue-eyes still were my favourite! None of her children or grandchildren got those eyes. The next generation too, so far, that is! How I wish those were mine – your bright, blue eyes!