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Dear Badi Mummy,

It is almost been 14 years since you left us and I realised I have never written to you in these years though I don’t think there has been a week which has passed in which I haven’t had a conversation with you.

Last week I was in Delhi, enjoying the Delhi winter, eating the food that I would eat sitting next to you every December, food cooked by you. Gajar ka halwa, the pinnis. I was remembering the sunny afternoons where we would all sit in the verandah of your house and eat moongfalis (peanuts) and how I would blackmail you with the look in my eyes and you would give me the peeled ones. How every evening, you would give us money and we would walk to the nearby shop freezing and rubbing our hands to get samosa and jalebi to eat. I remembered how I would cuddle with you to get warm.  When I saw O grating the carrots with mom to make gajar ka halwa, I felt a strange stab in my heart. I wanted it to be me again sitting with you and making gajar ka halwa. I smiled when I looked at them happily bonding but somewhere the heart gave a cry of longing for you.

I remembered the days gone by, on how I would come from school and rush to hug you. On how I would tell you every small thing that happened in school. On how I shared about my first crush with you and you looked at me with wide eyes and said “moyi marjaani, dhyaan rakhin” and then the warm smile spread at your face and you gave me the best hug in the world. On how, when I hid that I have flunked in one subject in school from mom-dad, I came and told that to you and how you slowly and gently made me confess that to mom. On how it was you I told about my first boyfriend ever, it was you I shared my fear of mensuration, on how it was you whom I came and told my nightmares and my dreams. Both the ones I saw in the day and night. For me while growing up you were my friend, you were my mom and you were the force in my life, my strength and that one person who would drive me. Who I would look upto, who I would search for in happiness and in sadness, in clarity and in confusion.

And then that day 13.5 years ago, on a Diwali night when I got a call that you are sick, I remember every turn of the foggy Delhi roads, every thought that came to my mind that evening and I remember reaching there to be told that you are no more among us and I remember feeling nothing. And then ofcourse the tears came and they went. Life moved on, we all moved on but somewhere you left a huge void in my life that no one has been able to fill.

So much has happened in this past 14 years, so much that I would have loved you to be a part of. I married a person who understands me, supports me and loves me. Ofcourse we fight, like you used to say if two people living together don’t argue, they are drifting apart. But we also have a bond that I saw you and daddyji sharing. A bond of love and trust, a bond of togetherness.

I am now not a software engineer, who just sits in front of computer doing god knows what (though to be honest, I still sit a lot in front of my laptop). I now work in the food industry. It’s a love I have picked up from you and taken to next level.

But more important than anything else, I am now a mother of a 7 year old boy who I would have loved you to meet. In whom, sometimes I see your spunk, your zest for life, your stubbornness and my eyes wet because there is nothing more I would want than to see you and him bond. The joy of my life and the most important person in my life. I would give anything to see you hug him, to see you bless him.

Early this week, I went to meet daddyji who at the age of 93 is so different from the grand-dad image I have from my childhood, he is ageing, he is frail and he remembers you. He often says “Tu te chali gayee, mainu chod gayee” and I see that sadness in his eyes. My heart broke to see him like that, asking the same question nth time and forgetting he has asked it before. I remembered the man who would bring us all fruits, always the sweetest ones, and cut post dinner. A man whom everyone was slightly scared of, a man who commanded respect and love in every action. Old age is evil, old age is harsh and I could see it in him. If you ask me, I saw that in him the day you passed away. He has never been the same after that but this time it hit me that daddyji who 10 years ago shocked everyone by dancing on my mehendi is now an old man.

But you know what badi mummy, you know what I felt the most when I met him. That where are you? Why aren’t you around? I feel terribly selfish thinking about it but I wanted you to be there, I don’t have the heart to see daddyji anymore without you. I miss you today and everyday.

Yours Khasma-nu-khani,

Mona

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