Rushed into shameful big-box store to buy a couple six-packs of Ensure. (Yes, Li'l A is back on the Ensure after I discovered looking for a lost form in his backpack that he hadn't actually been eating the lunches we'd packed for him. I couldn't even be that mad at him, because that's what I used to do, and the reason he does this is probably because my mother used to lament that I'd never understand how much i hurt her until I had a kid who refused to eat. Who knew my mom's curses would work! I drank Complan, my child drinks Ensure.)
But this story isn't about family. Not right away. While ringing up my Ensure, Anne, the cashier asks me my name and tells me that I look old enough to be her granddaughter. The granddaughter is 21. That's when I begin loving Anne ;). Then she asks me if I'm from India, and tells me she knows Hindi and rattles off several words in a flawless accent. I love her more now.
She tells me she's tired of English, and casually throws out--"I already have a couple of degrees in English so I want to learn a different language now."
A couple of degrees. Wants to learn another language. Really love.
And that's when--rather symmetrically in our ephemeral relationship--she began to remind me of my Gadadoss grandmother also. The grandmother who didn't have a single college degree.
The grandmother who was tutored at home after menarche, was married at 16, had my mother at 17.
The grandmother who would be reading pulp fiction in English when I dropped in on her after classes at Stella. The grandmother who would then carefully put a bookmark in her book and put away the dictionary she'd been using to help her read. And the notebook that she'd used to log the words she'd looked up in the dictionary.
It feels strange to think that I won't be able to visit her on an India-trip anymore. I don't really even believe it.