My maternal grandmother passed away on 21st March, 2015. She was the last living grandparent I had. With her death the chapter of grandparents has come to an end for me.
She was regal, a woman with a voice and grace. As far back as my memory of her takes me, I remember how timid people were around her and how she was revered by the entire villagers. She ruled the house with fairness and did not let her disability impair her. Still young and married, while climbing a wooden ladder to fetch some flour out of the tall cupboard, she slipped and broke her right side femur bone in 3 different areas. The doctors felt helpless until my father who had just gone to the US recently, arranged for her to have a rod insertion for the femur fracture. The metal rod was flown from the US and in Peshawar she had the operation. It wasn’t an ideal operation. She ended up with a shorter right leg due to which she had a limp for the rest of her life. This was back in the early 70s. She would custom make her shoes so that the cobbler would add an extra 2 inch to her right sole to ease the limp in her gait.
My grandmother was called Bibi by everyone. If someone would say or did something cruel or unfair, it would raise her flare to the heavens!! My grandfather was particularly fond of her as she was the eldest wife whose company he adored. My grandfather had married another much younger woman (permissible in the area) to produce more male offspring. My own grandmother had failed to provide more than one male offspring whilst in the area it was custom to have plenty of male offspring. But that didn’t diminish her worth or her rule. She was awarded the ‘rule’ of the house by default and my grandfather stayed with her, ate with her and shared the bedroom with her. He was hers completely. If it weren’t for social acceptability, he probably wouldn’t have given a damn about more male offspring and would’ve stayed married solely to her.
Bibi was a great giver. She offered material help as well as valuable insight to those that sought her advice. I remember how the ladies of the village would bring their disputes to her to solve. My fondest memory of her is when she would lay her cane by the bedside and limp all around our bed (each bed of the grand kids) tapping all over the quilt to figure out a ‘hole’ through which cold air could sneak in and make us cold. She would rearrange the quilt to plug that cold hole and make sure none existed before going to her own bed. Then in the middle of the night, she would get up and check again. She would make sure we had good food every day. For breakfast, if the hens hadn’t laid fresh eggs that day, she’d send people searching the entire village for fresh eggs so that we could have a good healthy start….She was so caring and so sweet. I had never experienced that kind of Love and will never be able to as she has passed away. I only have her fond memories, and I cherish every one moment I spent with her. I wish to emulate her when I grow old. I want to be a grandmother of her stature and dignity showering boundless love and grace upon my young ones….
Rest in peace dear Bibi….May you skip and hop freely in Heaven!!
P.S My obituary is months late because I have been missing her tremendously. I finally find the courage to write something…during Ramadan, the first one without her.....
Image source: abc.net.au