unforgettable words of a dying old lady

Like one of those sales during the holiday season, I got some extra nice items free along with my wife – her interesting family members. For example, a 100+ year old active maternal grandmother-in-law, a wonderfully gentle and sensitive, yet tough and practical mother-in-law, really cool brothers and sisters in law.

This is the story of my visit to her paternal grandmother a few weeks after my marriage. The granny aged over hundred and ten, was on her deathbed and had become quite helpless. Lying on a mattress on the floor, she could barely crawl around on all fours. She was dependent on one of her son’s care for even basic needs.

I owe her, as its because she wanted to see her grand daughter married that my marriage date was hurried up and preponed. Else who knows if my mad mind would’ve changed, if the initial opposition had started to get out of hand, so many other possibilities had I followed the convention of staying engaged for 6 months and getting married later on! She had literally held on to her life till our marriage.

So when I went to visit her now, she was on the mattress. and looked almost somewhat a scary sight at first – weak and emaciated. For around a year she had been somewhat delerious, hardly in her senses. Yet when we went close to her, she surprisingly sprang upright, and Vijetha and myself helped her sit leaning against the wall. She hugged me and Vijetha and was really happy for her. Here she was, in a really deplorable physical condition, yet her eyes were bright and smiling. [Vijetha later said it had been incredible that she had even recognized her grand daughter, let alone understand that she had finally gotten married]. And looking into my eyes she said “ neene appa neene amma anna thamma bandhu balaga avalige yella neene konappa“.

There are some ideas that come to my mind that are just so abstract that sometimes I feel hesitation in expressing them, as I become concerned that my expression is limited, and it may end up becoming misinterpreted due to lack of patience to really try to understand. Sometimes this hesitation may happen even with my closest friends. However Upendra has been one of my friends whom I have had the least hesitation in sharing any of my ideas, without being concerned about what he might think about it. Because I’ve found him to be more open minded, receptive, patient, honest and unassuming – than anyone else I’ve ever known my entire life 🙂 Most importantly – he does not hesitate to be critical or be the Devil’s Advocate when needed, not blindly but having understood.

Just a few days earlier, I had shared a really personal observations with Upendra. Sometimes the way my wife covers me with a bedsheet and gently switches off the light when I’ve dozed off in the night without meaning to, reminds me of my father. Sometimes our lively discussions on deeply important topics remind me of my grandfather. Her enthusiastic spirit sometimes makes me feel she’s like my affectionate daughter. The roles keep changing – just like in an orchestra where we’re two dancers simply moving with the music. (This is only a retrospective description, in the actual situation there is no labelling at all). Love is so amazingly dynamic – the roles keep on changing in every situation! Its incredible how I could see my father, my mother, my grandfather and grandmother, my intimate friend, my lover, my teacher, my student, a daughter, a grand-daughter – all relationships that I’ve ever had and might have in future – all in one single person. I had been amazed about how love with a life partner can be a superset of all relationships.

We spent some more time there, and left after leaving some gifts behind and a little bit of financial support for her son who was taking care of her. She died a couple of weeks later.

She may have been from a rural background, and was probably uneducated [a good thing], yet I felt reassured that the vague idea I had hadn’t been so vague after all, and was really touched by the deep wisdom of this granny.


See also: she managed to put up with me for a year 😉

…rather than spiraling inwards and becoming self absorbed, to radiate this love outwards to all beings…”

8 Responses to “unforgettable words of a dying old lady”

  1. praneshachar Says:

    Really great meeting ajji of vijetha aged 110 and what a great peice of advise to the humanity and particularly the couples. what she has said is true to core and yes each one has to understand that. life is not bed of roses you have face the realities and come out of the problems,in such cases you need each others handholding.
    really a touching experience and it is great you both met her personally after marriage got her blessings and as it appears she was waiting to bless both of u and then only leave this world
    truly touching incident thanks for sharing it here for our benefit thanks vijetha too for making this to happen

  2. msanjay Says:

    Thank you praneshavare your comments were really nice to read! Esp being our senior advisor your recognition that it as a great piece of advise to humanity is really valuable.

  3. sulochanosho Says:

    We can never measure or calculate the flow of human relationships. Still there is a vast ocean to explore the world of human relationship and this existence.

  4. msanjay Says:

    wow absolutely sulochanosho – hmm the more we understand this, the more we find life endlessly fascinating! 🙂

  5. Suresh Panje Says:

    Dear Sanjay,
    A touching incident. As for your comments about Ajji being uneducated, I wish to take the liberty of correcting you. She might have been uneducated in terms of academics but on no count she was uncultuerd. Why I am mentioning this is because I have seen many worthy convent and public (private) school educated graduates and post-graduates who take pride in showing off their degree scrolls but happen to be UNCULTURED with least element of CIVIC SENSE.
    So there are thousands of villagers who are uneducated but not uncultured.
    Suresh Panje
    New Delhi 110 057

  6. msanjay Says:

    Dear Suresh I completely agree and I was referring merely to academic education (see the referenced link) Thanks 🙂

  7. gs Says:

    …you see, afterall realising the beauty and essence of life isnt very complex, its pretty simple …! u just need a few moments of patience to realise that …!

  8. msanjay Says:

    yes I agree gs patience is definitely a key element

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