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From a Caterpillar to a Butterfly

I read a grandma’s blog today- that’s right- a grandma’s BLOG!

It all started with a project at work- I needed some information, and google only gave me a 1 line definition. Then I came across this blog by “Ugich Konitari”. Even through an impersonal portal like a blog- a Grandma’s serenity came through. Her wealth of knowledge wasn’t sitting locked up at home. It was a lovely post, with pictures and all. She had 179 followers! That’s 35 times that follow my blog!! But after reading it, I started envying the grandkid that, in my head, helped her create it. In retrospect, it’s possible that she that even made it herself. Either way, it made me miss my Grandma.

She passed away a couple of years ago. When I was 10, she was diagnosed with cancer. She was already 80 then, and the doctors gave her about 2 years more. I think I was lucky to have overheard this shocking news. Then on, I was so afraid of losing her, that I cherished every moment I had with her.

Every year my family spent the Diwali holidays in Delhi, at my Grandparents’ home. These were my 2 weeks of bliss. The pampering of a grandma can never be replaced. She made me my favourite foods, slaving away in the kitchen from 7 am. She would insist on serving me 3rd and 4th helpings, and even dahi made at her hands tasted better than dahi at home. When she chopped vegetables, she used a boti, instead of a knife, and I would sit and watch her in awe. In the afternoons she would tell me stories until I fell asleep, curled up beside her.

One evening I was out with a friend, watching her Taekwondo lesson. I had strict standing instructions to come home before dark. But that day, I delayed. That day, I saw my granny, who never stepped further than the Mandir library, hurrying up the park path, searching for me. She had a look of despair on her face- until she spotted me- and despair turned to relief. Her gentle reproach made me feel far worse than my parents’ yelling.

I never saw my granny use conditioner or cream. Yet her wrinkly skin was soft and her thin grey hair was like silk to touch. She wore a simple white cotton sari, and blue rubber slippers wherever she went.

She gave me my name and taught the meaning. But she used to call me Konkona, from Konkon- a kind of bangle. Kangan.

She was an amazing woman. She had been allowed to study only till the 7th grade, in a Bengali medium school in Kolkata. And yet, she nurtured a love for literature and the arts. She read Bengali books- Tagore and others, the names of which I can’t recall. She read English ones- from Reader’s Digest to novels. She sat with a dictionary by her side- if she liked the story, language wouldn’t stop her. Naani was around for 10 years more. In her final days, she suffered, and insisted she was ready to go. When the time came, she calmly got off the bed, gestured to the nurse to call us, and lay herself down on the ground. Such was her inner strength and peace.

My grandma realised, when mom was in school, how important English was going to be in the future. She was adamant about educating her only child to be self-sufficient. She did not believe that a woman’s place was in the kitchen, even though hers had been so. She changed my mom from a Bengali medium to English medium, as late as 7th Grade. But today, mom is easily the most respected and popular English teacher in the city!

And the trend continues- almost every amazing thing that has happened to me, it’s been after my mom’s gentle push to get me out of the initial inertia.

The Ekta Kapoors of the world seem to think that only a mom’s relation to her son is worth televising. Maybe drama wise, but a grandma-mom-daughter relationship is quite a force to reckon with. And I say this even after the heartbreak my mom caused me when she tactlessly admitted that my brother was a cuter baby than me (and whatever she may tell you, I DIDN’T put a gun to her head)

But that aside, if I can be even half the women that my mom and grandmom have been, I will take it as a life well lived.


  1. Wonderful reading about your Naani ! They don't make them like that anymore. Great post !

    A bit of a correction though, on the amazing properties you have endowed to me. I am not a grandma; yet. I am a mother if 2 eminently marriageable-age kids, a boy and a girl, and hopefully soon, I will get an opportunity to be a benevolent in-law. Consequently, no grandchild helped me start a blog. I started it on my own, after seeing my son start his cricket blog. I have now encouraged my daughter to start a photoblog. I have had a working life in what is now called IT , 38 years ago, and till 2004. I admire all you girls who do it simulatneously ,with education , jobs, and even small kids.

    I think its a great thing to do after retirement.

    Best wishes for ur blog ...

  2. Thanks... ANd "ugich konitari" i jus jumped to a conclusion readin the "senior citizen" on ur desc.also im a looong way from mariiage+career+kids scenario so im with u on admiring those women.. =)

  3. Hmmm.. your best blog yet.. And i say this having read all of the others before..


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