Monday, May 13, 2013
Last night my cousin dropped by with his son for a visit.Shekhar or "Chhotu" as he is known is my favourite maternal aunt, Vidya Maushi's son.He was in the area to attend an Engagement Ceremony and recognising the landmarks ambled over to visit us---it was one of the fabulous impromptu Get Togethers that leave one feeling refreshed and chirpy!!
Mummy was the oldest among a clutch of 5 siblings---and Vidya Maushi was number 3.She was maybe 15 years old when I was born--and being the first Grandchild in Mummy's family I was very pampered and cosseted.For me Vidya Maushi was the epitome of Motherly Love while I was growing up--specially the 6 months we spent in Bombay during Mikki's birth---she acted as the barrier between Mummy and me for we never did see eye to eye on anything and everything!!I was spoilt,extremely willful and stubborn---and Mummy lacked the Patience to deal with me--specially in a heavily pregnant,bed ridden state!!It fell to Vidya Maushi to bathe me,feed me and generally keep me out of Mummy's way--something that was relatively easy in that huge sprawling old Flat.Vidya Maushi has sat with me in the Balcony for hours----singing to me,talking to me,cajoling me to eat my Meals by stringing stories around the Crows,the Pigeons and the Sparrows that populated the curved cast Iron awnings above the Iron balustrade.We'd sit there all day---catching the Breeze and gazing down at the crowded street below--the Trams ambling along with a clatter and the Red Double Decker BEST Buses making my heart flutter each time they turned the corner--they'd tilt so much on their sides that I expected any one of these to keel over and fall flat on it's side!!
An extremely beautiful young lady,she was perhaps the most beautiful woman I've seen---and while my mother and her other 2 sisters too classified under the beautiful tab none of them could hold a candle to Vidya Maushi.To my fanciful eyes she was the perfect candidate to play "Helen of Troy"!!Like all extremely beautiful women she was highly sought after in the Marriage Market---many eligible suitors beating a path to my Grandpa's door.Her heart however was already pledged---to another relative we called Subhash Mama.Now he came from a reputable family ,was a highly qualified Engineer and belonged to the same caste--but there was a "BUT"!!Vidya Maushi was 6 years older than him--and this was what the parents on both sides frowned upon.Both had to struggle to win parental approval but finally they were married in May 1965---unfortunately 6 months after my Grandpa passed away.
Both she and Subhash Mama made an extremely striking couple--she very,very beautiful and he so very dashingly handsome---they complemented each other so very beautifully.Subhash Mama had joined the Indian Army and because of this their Postings took them along the length and breadth of India.As I married very early both, Vidya maushi's sons feel like they were my nephews instead of my cousins---and their offspring are accordingly like my grandkids to me!!Vidya Maushi passed away in April 2011---a little before Sudhir---and another chapter in my life ended with her death.Keeping in touch with my cousins has kept her alive---but the person I knew was so very different from the one they were familiar with!!Spending time last night with Rohan and Chhotu sent a feeler to the Past once more----leaving me bathed in the warm glow of some wonderful, treasured childhood moments of my life!!