Monday, August 9, 2010

Wonderwoman turns 82

The Prime Minister of India lives in my house.
She rushes off every morning to her office for urgent work.
Half an hour later I get bombarded with emails. Some are about the environment, some about health and most are jokes.
I sometimes wonder how India would survive as a country if she didn't forward these emails to me. Or that's what she makes it seem like.
This VVIP is actually my grandmother. And today is her 82nd birthday. 
There's definitely more than 82 great things she's done in her life. That's more than one per yr. I'm so so so far from it.
She's one of those people who can actually write a book filled with stories of her travels and all the interesting people she met, things she did and people she charmed.
She was born in 1928. That seems like ages ago. Maybe cause it is.

When she was 2 months old she traveled with her mother from Mangalore to Karachi by boat. Yes, boat. When she was older she even traveled to South America more than once (luckily this time by plane), met Pele and even came on their local TV channel and one of the Indians visiting their country. I know. This nearly seems made up. She was a travel agent most of her life that led to all these cool happenings.

She studied in Bombay. Was very enthusiatic about anything and everything. She was a badminton star and a theatre star too. And I can imagine that the boys were crazy about her. She played Portia in Shakespeare's 'the Merchant of Venice' in her college days. I know this sounds like I'm showing off my grandmom but think about doing this in India in the 1940s.
She was in the Home Guards which is an organisation that helped the Police but doesn't exist today. She obviously was the leader in the Repulic Day parade and even got the President's Gold Medal. And so everytime there were riots you may have seen my grandmom going through the streets in an open air jeep. Just to maintain peace and harmony in the land. That's all. No biggie.

Now do you get my blog title?

Being born before Independence makes her one of those really patriotic people. I consider myself patriotic at times I guess but this is something very different. While I wonder where to keep my popcorn when I'm made to stand up for the National Anthem before a movie, she's the one standing up straight and singing loudly.  She also insists on saying Namaste everytime the ladies at Aroma Thai Foot Spa greet us with a Sawadika. But that's probably cause she actually can't hear them whisper in their broken English. I have tried training her to know what sentence to expect when instead of trying to understand them. There are 5 basic sentences you need to watch out for.
- Sawadika
- What oil would you like?
- Is the pressure ok?
- Would you like a hot towel for your face?
- Would you like some lemongrass tea?
If only she had paid attention to my pre-massage training.

She doesn't look 82 at all and loves showing off about it. The secret to her youthful looks is yoga and that she moisturises everyday which has made her skin as soft as mulmul. I'm not even sure about what mulmul is but it sounds like something soft enough to compare her skin to.

Being the oldest of 7 children made her very responsible. Ok that's her version of it. She was like Hitler when we were kids. She made us have spinach soup every evening so much so that I coloured the inside of one of my utensils from my steel kitchen set with a green crayon. Cause obviously everyone has a separate bowl just for spinach soup. This magic green soup gave me and Aku energy for dance, art, music, gymnastics, swimming (8 times a wk) and loads of other stuff all planned out by her. We were obviously given other incentives like jalebi after art class and donuts after dance class too. Smart lady! Luring children with sweets.

She is one of those people you can't miss in a crowd. A true charmer, entertainer and storyteller.
She cut her hair short when society actually frowned upon it in India. She got a scholarship and studied in Germany for a year, which is why we say Gute Nacht to each other every night. She traveled all over the world and would get cool gadgets for the kitchen and cool 2 piece swimsuits for us to wear as kids. I was like a baby Sarah Jessica Parker. Ok, not quite.

Couple of things you may not know about her
Her food can be called The Food of the Gods
She calls H1N1 heenee &
She is Shah Rukh Khan's biggest fan

She is known to end most of her sentences with 
That's life!
Maro Goli or
Vagera Vagera

She is the lady in the next car giving you gaalis while you drive. Clearly learning driving with her sitting next to you is not a good idea.

But, you've got to love this woman.

All we have in common is our love for all the good/wrong things 
- wine
- icecream
- chocolate
- cheese
(though our order of preference is completely the opposite)

But she is undoubtedly the coolest grandmom I know.
Happy Birthday Aai.
I am so excited about eating cake :)


kritika said...

i love her !!!

Bundi said...

Beautifully written!!!

Neha Kamath said...

Thanks :)
There was so much more I could've written about her. Tough to write just one short post.

vineeta said...

I am just LOVING your blog :) :) And your grandmother. So so cool to share a family and past with her. Brilliant it is.

Neha Kamath said...

Thanks Vineeta. You've reminded me to get back to my blog :)
I had almost forgotten how much I loved writing it.
And my grandmother was the coolest. I would have to dedicate a whole blog to her to be able to actually tell everyone about her life. But it would be awesome.

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