“Baa!!” is amongst the 1st few words that a child learns to speak in a Gujarati family. So “Jashvidhya” or simply “Jasu” is what my baa was known as. Having her image in mind, all I can figure out is a very soft, beautiful lady with a heart even softer. Having bid a farewell to her recently, emerged a strong urge to write a portrait of this wonderful soul.
JASHVIDHYA- She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a mother-in-law and all possible relation that a woman has, but above all she was BAA-to the whole family. At times wondering how her life would have been when she was as young as me, I get certain answers from the way she lived in the past 10 years. Having heard many stories, some directly from her and some from the people who knew her, I can make out easily that she certainly lived a very different life from others.
Being a primary school teacher and a home maker parallely must have been one hell of a task-provided she was blessed by 3 daughter’s and indeed a very very notorious son. Managing all by her own, without any complaint’s and demands, with timely support of my Daadu must have been really a challenging task for her in those days (referring to almost 50 years back in time).
From those beautiful and wonderful years that I had with her, its quiet easy to get back to those truckload of memories. I still remember when I was a kid back then, the summer breaks in which it was a tradition to go to Baroda to spent the whole vaccation with them. Those were amongst the best of the days that we had. Not to mention, my cries every single time for not leaving her after the breaks were over, was my right. Believe me, that was indeed the worst part of it. Assuming them to be crocodile tears, it was not entertained back then by anyone, but only she could sense the reason behind my all drenched eyes.
Right from the day I learnt how to walk, she used to take me along with her to the temple nearby to perform the daily pooja. Holding her index finger and matching her pace was fun in itself. The way she dressed every day in her bright coloured gujarati saree’s, particularly the veil she used to have during worshiping- every single gesture, be it chanting those shlokas or the way of sitting to the way of talking was observed keenly and mimicked later; of course by me. As the times have gone by, things haven’t changed much, except for the age. Rest all, the same.
‘That’ bedtime story- yes she just knew one story which was repeated daily without any alterations, but we felt all new listening to it because of that soft sweet tone of hers. Even after being encountered by our same silly questions again and again, she used to explain in detail with a new value added to it every time. I mean how someone can do this with such an ease. The size of her roti’s and the habit of having pickle’s with everything edible is amongst the few things that I have blindly followed her footsteps in. How can I miss her craving for those fruit flavoured candies in the loose packets-as if they formed the part of her daily diet. Not being such a big foodie though, somehow she managed tasting those ‘sapoliyas’ and the ‘pizo’ (read it as noodles and pizza) whenever offered by me. Now I get it, having an intense liking for ‘kulfis’ and buttermilk was may be the reason for her flawless milky white skin.
Graceful as a newly wed bride with all her radiant skin, she welcomed everything and everyone with utter patience and love. All that echoes in my ears is her voice on phone- hello was never her word, it was always “Haaaalo, haa beta”. With lighting her pyre, all I had in my mind was incorporating those very basic values in life by which she lived and believed in- “Peace, love and togetherness” are the 3 main pillars of her life which all of us should follow.
Such is the topic that I don’t feel like putting a full stop anywhere, but as it is said “every good thing has to have an end”. Hence concluding it with a warm heart and a smile just as hers-just as the photograph that I have posted in this blog, I know that even though she has left us physically, but there is a heart that she is holding- always caring for US i.e for all of her kids.”