The Curious Case of Lost and Found –

The Story of My Great Grand Mother

Even if the wrinkles have transformed your caricature, and white hair has camouflaged your structure like a thread like snow cover, the beauty of growing older with your heart growing younger is something beyond the horizon; an unexplainable experience of being mature and childish at the same time. Only one thing comes to our minds while chatting with our grandparents – ‘It is beautiful to grow old, the only thing you need to sustain the beauty is to be happy’.

That reminds us of these lines from the song ’Dil to Bacha hai Jee’.

“Umar kab ki baras ke safaid ho gayi
Kaari badari jawani ki chatt ti nahi

Dil to bacha hai ji”

– Gulzar

My Great Grandmother (My mother’s Dadi) was no different, she was a character straight from a Bengali novel – always draped in a serene white sari she would carry her own utensils and pooja items.  She would accompany her grandchildren in reading at night, just by sitting at the corner of the room with a lamp burning alongside. Her pure bright aura was profoundly sensitive to love.  She relished the emotional bonds with all her loved ones.

Although, she was one of the cleanest of the souls wandering this earth, she had to go through hard times that changed the course of her life. While coming back from her daughter’s place from Bengaluru to Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, she lost her way and ended up wandering without knowing any local languages, as she could only speak Bengali. She was made to sit in the ladies coach and a male colleague of her daughter was supposed to help her change the train in Allahabad, who was traveling in the same train but in a different coach. The person responsible fell asleep and the coaches were separated. Who would ever know that such a trivial mistake could become disastrous for her?

Finding herself in the middle of nowhere she was baffled and shocked. She somehow analysed that following the rail track would help her reach home. So, day and night it was the railway tracks that she kept on following. She reached Itarsi(M.P), i.e around 234 kms from Jabalpur, but the walking took over her mental and physical health. Children who played on the tracks mistook her as a mentally unstable old lady and had hit her with stones. Fully drained of energy she met an affectionate  middle aged couple who lived by the railway tracks.

IMG_20170421_180653

They provided her with the life’s essentials and asked her about her family. She would eat only fruits because eating cooked food at someone else’s place was forbidden for widows. Days passed by and nothing happened. One day, while talking about something else they came to know that she used to live in Jabalpur.

Meanwhile, my grandfather’s family held themselves responsible for the incident. But in 1966, one couldn’t post the videos online or wassapp images to make the search convenient. The only ray of hope was to believe in fate. When the couple brought her back to the city, she started remembering the landmarks and met my grandfather’s friends in a factory who knew her. That was the moment to rejoice, could meet her family and love her grandchildren again.

Back from a traumatic journey, she fought back like a rebel and worked hard to regain her mental strength. It was not easy for her to forget everything at once but as you say, love cures everything.

She was about 66 years when this happened but she lived up to 88 years of age to elegantly deal with her problems of old age. Sometimes, a golden kiss on the forehead, a misty touch, or just a smile is needed to make people live again and not just survive. She was fortunate to have a loving family.

But what would be our motivation when we turn 80?? Being Mortal – we need to beautify all stages of life, isn’t?