A hundred years


I am filling up an online form. When I am filling in the date, I accidentally type the year 1919 instead of 2019.

One typo error and my mind travels back in time to a hundred years ago. I wonder what the world would have been like at that time. Then I think about my family. My grandmom would have been a little girl of about nine. Slightly older than one of her great- grandsons is now.

My grandmom had eleven siblings. She was the ninth child. When my siblings and I were kids, we would badger our grandmom to tell us stories about her childhood. She would talk about her marriage to my granddad and the grand celebrations in their village to mark the occasion.

When my grandma was in pigtails and ribbons, the world was at war. Between the two wars, she grew into a beautiful young woman, got married and had her children.

Image courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

We always lived in a joint family, and I can still remember how active my grandmom always was – right from sunrise to sundown. The kitchen was her realm, and her energy flowed from there in the form of love, cooking and chiding.

Every morning, for as long as she was active, my grandmom would finish her morning chores and rush to the temple to pray. On her way back, she would stop to buy vegetables and fruits. If she was planning on buying a lot, she would ask one of us, her grandchildren, to be on the lookout from the top of the hill where we lived. When we would see her at the bottom of the hill, we would skip down to help her carry the heavy bags home.

The moment we got home, she would give us candies that she had bought for us – in small brown paper pouches – lemon, orange and raspberry flavoured.

Time flew past, and we grew, went to high school and college. Each time we came home for vacation, we realized that our busy grandmom had aged just a little more than the last time we had seen her. When she was in her mid-seventies, she retired from her domestic world, handing over the reins to the next generation.

She spent her time reading books, or meditating or praying. She would watch some television on and off. But her eyes would light up the moment any of us went and sat next to her, to talk to her. She would ask us questions about our lives and hold our hands in her small wrinkled palms, demonstrating her love, without saying much.

My dad would come home every evening from work, have his shower and dinner, and sit down with his mom, asking about her health, her cough and about her day. He would lovingly bring her dinner, a glass of water, and her medicines, every night.

Our grandma always had a ready stock of mint lozenges that she ate to soothe her throat. She stored these in a small pouch. One of the highlights of the day was when she would call us and give us these lozenges to eat. She would break them up and give us just a small bit. We cherished both the lozenges and the love behind them.

It is 2019. A hundred years have flown by, since a small girl grew up in a time before ours, and became our grandmom. And now, our parents are at that age, vulnerable and frail.

Where did time fly? When did we become this responsible?

It is literally as if someone changed 1919 to 2019 with the mere flick of a button – a hundred years, four generations, lovely memories and the relentless onslaught of time.

6 thoughts on “A hundred years”

  1. Even my eyes lit up reading this dear Nirmala. Lovely ๐Ÿ˜Those days of joint living has given us lots of values which we are in turn passing on to our children . As my grandparents and parents left us too early, itโ€™s my turn now , to tell these childhood stories to children and relive those lovely moments.

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  2. I’m not far off being at the halfway point of this and already what I still call ‘just yesterday’ of my childhood is history – my daughter even studies what I lived through in her A level History classes! It really was a different world then. Go back another 50 years and…my goodness it seems almost alien! In my family this is all the more so as my only living relatives in my childhood lived and worked in India which, at the time, was so very different to Northern England where I grew up. It was almost science fiction to me to hear those tales. Now it is nothing but romance ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. That was that same strange feeling I had when I looked back, Ken. It is unbelievable how far we have come. I can only imagine how you would have listened to stories about your family in India. The older we grow..these old stories truly warm our hearts.

      When I was a teen, and my mom talked to me about her first cousins, and second cousins..and the complex family tree, I remember listening with onky half a ear. But now, I derive pleasure from working on the family tree and understanding the stories behind, the stories that shaped our family, and in a way made me who I am today.

      Thank you for the lovely comment and sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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