My grandmother

"A thousand eyes are needed to behold your cosmic dance, O Nataraja..." This song is symbolic of the ironies in my grandmother's sightless life.
She had lost vision in both the eyes when she married at the age of 12. She mothered seven children, three of whom survived. She was a great cook - the rest of the family needed to ensure that the kitchen goods be left in their designated positions. She sang so well, and I always needed to be tucked into bed by her. The lyrics of "Iyyane un natanam Anandam paarkave...aayiram kangal vendume' resonate in my ears, complete with the exact places where she'd draw breath. (I am still looking for the complete lyrics, though I can comfortably tuck my son in with the right tune and remembered words)
In her younger days, she'd walk to relatives houses through the streets of Coimbatore's town area (wonder why she never used the customary cane). When older, she took care of the grandchildren, and the cooking, and herself.

In the early 80's Sankara Netralaya set up its laser equipment for eye disorders, and she agreed to consult specialists there. She did sit for a couple of sessions, and we mustered hope, hitherto as remote as the light she said she could make out. As fate would have it, the equipment faced some hiccups, and by the time it was ready again, she was undergoing treatment for oesophageal cancer. Perhaps she submitted to this particular affliction so that her husband, known for being partial to tobacco, was spared...
She succumbed on June 27, 1987, but continues to light up the path for the rest of the family.
Salutations to all elders, who give absolute meaning in letter and spirit, to that word!
Thank you, Raji. Your birthday remembrance of your M-I-L inspired me to complete this long-planned entry.

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