My grandmom, Inna Aji, passed away in April. Some of the quiet days this summer were spent thinking about her, and I didn’t feel like posting on other topics until I’d written about her.
Inna Aji lived a rich and varied life. From her youth in Junner, to traveling through different parts of the country with my grandfather, she mastered the art of making friends, learnt swimming well into her 30s, and played badminton with ladies half her age for as long as she could. She had a massive database of ‘six degrees of separation’ – on meeting any new person, she quickly interrogated them about their life and background, and found some old connection, however far-fetched. That included a number of my friends!
We loved her goodies – oil-free pickle, ‘pohyacha peeth’, chivda, and she loved eating them too. As we did her home remedies – masoor dal face scrub, ghee lip balm, nail polish hurt healer. And giggled at the upturned ‘bhanda (read in Marathi भांडे)’ on the doorstep if you were waiting for someone to return home. Not to forget her make-or-buy analysis everytime we went out to eat. Every new place I moved to, she would want the postal address, and sent me quarterly postcards, until she stopped being able to write and switched to the telephone. I could barely read her writing, but guessed at the contents because they rarely changed – we’re ok, my health is good, are you fine? Stupid me, didn’t save a single one!
Inna Aji had a predominantly practical nature and a pretty modern outlook. She was eco-friendly before it was ‘cool’. Preferred not to fuss. I know she had her share of discord, and was by no means perfect, but she was a lot of fun. Sounds like the perfect granny mix that she was. We chose not to mope but to remember, and moved on, in her honour.