No, this has nothing to do with a big birthday that is coming up few months down the road. It is more about dealing with people and age and other such things.
I live with my gramma [mom’s mom], I had been living with her and grandpa for a good decade before moving out to live on my own. And then as life would have it, things went down the drain, grandpa passed away and I moved back in here-it just felt like the natural thing to do.. So now I live with my gramma [she turned 82 few weeks back.] in a house she and grandpa built back in 1966.. A large house with just the two of us, but sometimes it feels like one too many 🙂
While it is good to live in this house, with plenty of space etc, there are days when I feel claustrophobic…I wish I could just fly away to a world where I know none..
Yes, we there are daily battles between us- most of which revolves around food…no surprises there! What shall we cook for lunch today, wait it is wednesday/friday/amavasai/krithigai/masa paruppu[new month] and so on… ergo the menu will change, certain dishes/veggies will get shoved aside while few items will come show off in the front [pch pch] I will do some huff puff walking away, but eventually drag myself back to the kitchen to help gramma out or take over. She is quite stubborn when it comes to the way things are made- the ingredients, the way veggies are chopped, the kind of veggies used all the way down to the pot you cook it in. I agree and understand they are used to a certain format, but this whole “I will not budge, my way or high way” kinda gets to me.
I remember when grandpa was around, he would throw quite a tantrum at the dining table every day during lunch time cos the veggies in the dish would not have been cut a certain way, or the pairing would be off These got worse with age. Something that took me a while to understand.
One thing have come to understand is that “as people grow older, they become babies”. True that, their needs, wants change, they crave attention, they enjoy sweets/treats…
For ex, every time I would go out, I would invariably pick up something for them- donuts, sweets, snacks, or something else, but always return with a bag. Grandpa’s eyes would go straight to my hands to see what I had brought back .. no matter what mood he was in before I walked in home, it would change and he would be happy..His favourite moments where retelling history, sharing stories from days/era gone by [even though after awhile we felt he was living in that world and not in the present, it dawned upon us those were happy times for him] 🙂
While there were moments of frustration, there were quite a few moments of joy which made up for it… Now that he has passed away, I see gramma change with every passing day… She has her opinions and sticks to em, loses temper when things don’t go her way[which is almost always] or when she is unable to walk as fast as she used to or spend as much time as she used to in the kitchen, and so on. I try to be as patient as possible and help out wherever I can… and other times she gets upset and cries [which breaks my heart]… I being me keep asking her about titbits, how things were when she was newly married etc to keep her and me sane… Sigh!!
On the other hand, there is my other gramma [dad’s mom]who is 92, lives with my parents in our apartment. She had a bout of illness recently, which made her frailer [if such a word even exists], and she now lies in bed almost all day, or is lying on the diwan in the living room watching tv and is up and about only to shower and come to the dining table to eat. But when I do visit my folks, she is up and out, sitting and talking with me non stop. Mom says she is up and active whenever there are people over. :D.. But over the weeks I notice changes in her- dementia mainly. She has asked us if Diwali is over, if a cousin visited from UK or is yet to come, mixes up stuff she ate that day for lunch. Recently, when I was leaving to head out, she calls me to her side and says “nee enakku karaikudilerundu pudavai vangindu vanthein sonna.. atha enkitta kuduthudu [you told me you had picked up a saree for me from karaikudi, give it off to me ok]. I replied that I had indeed given it to her right then, she had then passed it on to mom saying it wasn’t comfortable, I shall ask mom to give it back to her…
Sigh, breaks my heart to see people who were such strong personalities turn like this. But yes, we all need to accept that age isn’t a pleasant thing and we need to accept that our body is aging as well as the mind and make peace with it. Cant force yourself to do things you did back in your youth, but keep it active enough to get through the day.
I had the fortune of having my great grandmother along with us till mid 90s [dad’s gramma]. She was such a fireball- you would see her stacking vessels in the kitchen or sharing stories with us grandkids. I was the only grandchild on both sides [for 12.5yrs on mom’s side and 2yrs on dad’s side]. it was she who taught me to play pallankuzhi, told me such amazing stories [kozhakattaikku kannu kaathu mookku undodi] and few shlokas [most of which I still remember]. She and gramma lived with us for as long as I can remember [grampa passed away in 80s]
I keep telling mom ,dad and others to take care of their health, make sure to eat well and do all they want to [without holding back]. But they dont get it.. Amidst all this I try and survive, one day at a time, making sure I live my life my way without cutting too many corners or stepping on too many toes. We have only one life to live, remember?
My only prayer is to live a healthy life doing things I enjoy and one day just poof , be gone! No falling ill, long bouts of being bed ridden and all that jazz.. I will stab myself if something like that happens..lolz.