My grandma never got to see her great grandchild she had always dreamt of.
Ammi never asked me to do anything. Well she did spend most of my life coercing me into a bath or meal times but major life decisions, she perhaps was the only one who stood by me whatever I wanted to do. Never questioned me, never doubted me for a moment. Just stood by as fiercely as she could.
In the last three months of her life she started pushing me to get married. Which was strange. She was the biggest proponent of women’s lib I had known. Never one to promote marriage. Never did on her own girls either. Just had one thing to say. “Bas ab ghar basaao ” (just get married / settle a home). She wanted to see my kids. Unfortunately her time was up. I married three years after she passed.
The first night after I gave birth to SS, I was screaming on the inside till my heart was hoarse (if that’s even possible). I wanted with every fibre of my being for Ammi to have been there. To teach me how to hold a baby. To smile at my child and show me how it works.
Ammi was everything I needed. I still do. Every second of every day the thought crosses my mind. Ammi would’ve known what to do. Inadvertently I soothe my baby like her. What I sing to her in times of (my ) trouble (more than hers!), how I speak to her. Ammi is my inner mom voice as is Amman (my mom).
Ammi the centre of all home remedies for everything from a bug bite right up to potty training. Every time I have to troubleshoot my little human unit, I reach for my brain retained catalog for all things Ammi and there is always a solution. Guaranteed. The stuff she’d sing from “Illallah gur thailee mein” to “hasbi rabbi jallallah” to put us to sleep. The way she would sit cross legged to nestle a little one all cosy and comfy, the quintessential saunf (fennel) and podina (mint) in our lives. The Gond Katira (Gum Acacia? Not sure) and chahaar maghz (4 seeds- pumpkin, melon, almond, water melon). Oh oh. Everything so Ammi.
This past Jumatul Vidaa (last Friday of Ramzaan), I felt she was with us all day. I could smell her in my baby’s neck, I could feel her around and everything was peaceful. It will sound cookie to most of you but I guess it’s part of what gets me by. My belief that she is always around. As are dada jaan, Dadi jaan and Abbaa.
So when my baby stares at the wall and gives her responsive cackle or starts laughing uncontrollably, I know either her grandparents or mine are around to play with her and I love it.
Ammi might not have seen my child and missed her by four years in this world but she sure is enjoying her and vice versa.