December 22, 2009
Today I am in the house my grandmother (Maiji) built in the early 1940s. Maiji’s bedroom on the second floor has a balcony that faces the garden in the back. As I slowly entered the balcony, I could see Maiji’s easy chair still there. I stood on the balcony and pictured Maiji sitting three on a summer evening, meditating. Her gamcha (thinner version of a towel) used to hang in that corner of the balcony. After she finished meditating, I would come over and sit at Maiji’s feet as she would tell me stories. Just being around her warmed my young heart.
I looked down at the garden in the back of the house and I remembered Maiji used to work in the garden, wearing a white sari, with the anchal covering her hair. She would take a small brick from the garden and use it as a seat as she worked. My mind can’t help but go back to the days when Maiji would sit on the brick and hand-plant the grass, one seed at a time. No, there was not sod that was easily placed in there. The coconut trees in the corner were all planted by Maiji. The hibiscus, too, was handpicked by her and planted in that corner. She even placed the bricks at an angle in the ground to separate the yard from the trees.
Today the grass is a little patchy, the coconut trees are as tall as they can get and produce fruit all year long and the hibiscus plant still blossoms every year, celebrating each year of Maiji's dilligence not only with her garden but also with her family. Of course the easy-chair is still there on the upstairs balcony. Everything Maiji invested in still stands tall today, including the souls she has touched. The only thing is missing is Maiji’s warm presence. I wish so badly that she was here today, asking me about what I am doing in the U.S. I wish Raka could sit next to Maiji and nestle her head in Maiji’s lap as Maiji tells her the story of Ramayana.
I closed my eyes as I stood on the balcony. I measured the time since Maiji passed away. Then my mind started going back to count the stories Maiji told me sitting in this balcony, the number of evenings I sat on the floor with my head rested on Maiji’s lap as I stared at the sky. Maiji, I miss you.