Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Khursheed Hughes, RIP

Naani (maternal grandma) finally passed away yesterday after suffering from intestinal cancer for 2 years. Its hard for me to come to terms with, since she was the binding factor for the entire family.

My best memories of her are from Christmas- every Christmas was to be spent at her two-bedroom house in Allahabad, with all of us grand kids, her 6 daughters and 1 son and their spouses cramped joyfully in our sleeping bags. Breakfast would begin with lamb kebabs and parathas, a huge biryani for lunch and at least for us kids, cakes and cookies for dinner, through the festive season. Music would blare in the street 24-7 and huge bonfires burned in the backyard at night. hristmas was fun with midnight mass and early service, when we'd visit the ancestral graves at 5am, to dress them with flowers for Christmas.

And she would mastermind the whole thing. She would begin calling her daughters about a month before Christmas, and begin preparations, from extra bedding, to the tree, to the all important cake drenched in rum. And every one would pitch in, with the madness stopping after new-year, when she would be busy arranging taxis for all of us to the train station, with memories of her lingering till the next time we met.
That wont happen this Christmas.

That will never happen again.

The family wont be the same again- this is the moment we have begun to drift apart, each in our nucleus of pain. Oh we will try for sure- we will all try to be in touch- but with her gone, so is the glue that called us all back to the same fold.
She will never whisper conspiratorially to me that I am fatter than ever and need to lose weight, while insisting that I finish the last piece of deep fried rohu.

She wont pick up the phone when I call, and ask me exactly how much money I make now, and insist that I send her our latest photos.

I don't think she was able to see the last set of photos I sent her. She would have liked those.

She wont advise my husband to tolerate my short temper (oh grandma!) and subtly inquire when we plan to have kids.

She wont be visiting here again, and demand to be taken to Vegas yet again- she loved that city, loved the lights and the din.

She wont talk gardening again with me- we wont visit Huntington Gardens, she wont attempt to cadge seedlings from the neighbors.

"Dil ko samjhane ke liye khayal accha hai" (It is easy to use this thought to placate ourselves) that she is now free from pain and close to God. We are just going to miss hearing her voice, and being babied- I hate growing up like this.