आजी! (Grandmother) Part 2

My grandmother had her education only up to high school, probably. I am not sure, because, she often mentioned how it used to be English 1st (इंग्रजी पहिली) after Marathi 4th (मराठी चौथी)! Another important deterrent was the availability of the school in the vicinity. Her childhood in Konkan was full of hardships! The school was far away, and they were 6 siblings in all, in fact 7 (however, one of them passed away in early age, after a long bedridden suffering). In spite of this, her memory was fresh, when it came to the Marathi poems!

When ever I heard her sing those, we could make out the reason. First and the foremost was the authoritative poets, who used  the lyrical flow of the Marathi language (गेयता). In addition to that it was the simple and sweet melody, which made her remember it even after 70 years! One such poem is available with me, which I recorded on a late night session with my siblings and cousins enjoying her company!

Being the second eldest GIRL in the house, she became de facto care taker of her siblings, after her mother passed away and the elder sister got married. Father remarried, considering the young ones at home, however her new mother was mostly ill, which added more work! Apart from other siblings, she gave special attention to her bed ridden brother. He used to cry in her lap and murmured, ‘Mai (my grandmothers household name), You are my real mother’! she recalled with wet eyes!

Her father had a job to collect taxes, and therefore, used to return back home with bags of coins. She used to enjoy the task of counting and sorting them. This habit of hers could be seen in the latter years, where she never needed anything else to calculate transactions of odd amounts!

Her school days started early, in order to make breakfast (pan cakes (धिरडी)/rice soup (भाताची पेज) for all. A long walk through the Konkani roads and a small boat journey! Some groundnuts with jaggery for the lunch time, and the same long travel back home, to face the kitchen in order to feed ALL. It just shivers me as I write this, when I visualize any girk of the age of Savani (13-14 years) doing this!


More to come, keep reading and give your feedback!




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