Maa would have been 77 today if she was still alive. If she was still playing with me, blackmailing me into giving her half of my sweets for her love, if she was still taking chocolates and dry fruits out of the dhukuti when we went to visit her, if she was still asking me to sleep with her, despite knowing I would always turn her down, if she was still miraculously sleeping with me in the bed then next morning while I remember sleeping at the floor either with mom or Baa.
But Maa passed away almost ten years ago, a night before the day we were thinking of visiting her. I don’t miss her as much as I miss Baa who passed away around two years ago. I didn’t even cry like I did at Baa’s death. But I did feel her absence every time I went to mamaghar, every time I sat down with Baa, every time I was with mom. I felt her absence when her dressing table was donated away and so was our favorite bed according to the rituals.
I can imagine her sitting in front of the dressing table and putting make up. Her favorite was red lipstick. Her hair would be then tied into a bun and right before she left the house, she would be putting on her shades as if she was still in her twenties. That’s something I always admired about her. She would always leave the house in perfect shape, looking smart and pretty even if she was just going for a regular checkup at the local hospital ten minutes away from home.
These aren’t the only things I remember about her even if these are the only ones I am going to share. Maa has always been an inspiration. She has always been strong. She has always been demanding about treating her right and with respect by everyone. She has always walked around the town as if she ruled the world. Nobody’s comment deterred her, not even mine.
And things changed around after she was gone – her neighborhood friends stopped coming to our falcha to sunbathe, her bedroom was converted into living room, the window of the kitchen was closed down, no one came during Bhaitika. But one thing always remained the same – she was always and will always be one of the strongest women I have ever known. Happy 77 Maa.