woke up today morning to the sound of bells tolling but not the loud clanging kind. they were more the kind of smaller bells, the kind my grandmother (dad’s mom) used to ring every morning and evening while the puja for the family deity was conducted.
that used to be her contribution to the family. barring that, she didn’t really exist. she preferred it that way. free to do her own, thing, roam around here and there and just snatch up moments which gave her pleasure.
at times when i’m being very irresponsible (in my mother’s eyes) she (ma) likens me to my granny.
anyhow, the sound of the bells made me wake up and when i did it was with the strange kind of conviction that my grandmother was still there. she’d taken pity on the family and shuffled off in ’90.
and some old synapses somewhere must have started firing because i could have sworn that if i walked down the stairs she’d be there ringing the bell.
the sound was actually originating from another contraption, but it had never struck me as anything else but mechanical sounds of bells before. i stood there staring at the empty space where i imagined ye old buddhi amma might have stood and mom came and shook me out of my reverie.
kept thinking about my grandmother all day long though. weird coz i dont even like her much.
ma had a similarish kind of experience today evening. i do freelance work for a website in town and was out covering a location for an article. mom came along for the ride coz she wanted to photograph anything which caught her eye. anyhow, while she was getting back in the car she somehow tore the strap of her sandals and kind of froze in the process.
when i shook her after a while she started to tell me how she’d had those shoes for ages and all of a sudden she remembered so many occasions where she had worn them. one was my grandmother’s (her mother’s) funeral, the day something good had happened to someone important to her and a few more recollections.
she then smiled wistfully and said she hadnt known she would remember shoes of all things out of incidents which stood out because of their intensity. she’d been wearing those shoes for so long, they’d become things she’d walk past, wear out just about anywhere and not even remember having worn them at all.
my mother and i have these “events” where we can kind of tap into each others’ feelings, thoughts and often preempt each others’ talk. and when i told her my recollections today she was kind of surprised that we both had such deep associative recollections that had shaken us into silence.
the shoe is being retired. i dont think she’ll throw it out mercilessly now. and now that i know my grandmother isnt going to come back and pinch at me for slouching or doing things she considers unfeminine, i’ll just turn over and sleep for another spell. those bells can go on tolling away.