Sunday, February 21, 2016

Some things are meant to be

I have always had this unknown sense of attachement towards old people. I have had the best grandparents anyone would ever have and maybe that is why I feel immense love and compassion when I meet any old folks! I love to have conversations with them about their times. I truly believe that their life and their stories of the past can make a positive difference in my present and future! When I moved to Melbourne a couple of months ago, I got one of the most amazing surprise from life. I came to know that an old lady lives alone just below our apartment. I dont know why but I felt this instant attachement with her only by looking at her once from a distance. She was fair and wrinkled. Always smiling and cheerful. I would look out for a chance to start a conversation with her. There is a common laundary room for all the apartments. So we would bump into each other there, or maybe when we would go out for groceries we would see her at a distance. She would smile and I would smile back (beam) and then I would ask her how she was doing, she would ask me how my little one was doing. Thats how it began. Gradually we started talking more and more. Then one day I asked her if she would love to taste indian food. Pat came the reply...why not! She chuckled happily when she said it. I was so glad! One day when I was taking Evan out to the park I spotted her watering the plants. Evan looked at her and exclaimed "Grandma aaji!!" (yes thats what he calls her!) He still cannot speak english and she obviously doesnt understand marathi, but the connection they have made with each other is beyond words. They both are immensely fond of each other! I love to see them bond. As we went near her she dropped the whaterhose reel and smiled. She bent a little looking towards Evan and asked him "Off to the park sweetie?" and Evan replied "Yesss!!" (without understanding what it meant. He says yes when he hears an unknown language!) I asked her " Do you love gardening?" She replied " Oh yes I do! That plant there is rosemary, then that is parsley and this one here is a beautiful smelling flower, I forgot the name. They make perfumes of its scent!" While Evan was playing around our little chit chat was taking place. Then I asked how long she had been living there and she told me that she bought the house in 1984. She had been living there for thirty years! She was from Ukraine and she first came to Australia in 1949. "I was only 16 when I left Ukraine and served the war in Germany. Then I could not go back to Ukraine. I came to Sydney with my sister." When her husband passed away she was left with three daughters aged 8,5 and 8 month old baby. She had the hardest time surviving. She got a job after facing a lot of hardships and kept saving money little by little. She dreamt of buying a house one day, which she did all by herself! I told her that it was very brave of her to do what she did. She smiled as if she did not get me. Maybe because she never believed she was a remarkable woman. Thats the beauty of being truly extraordinary. She told me that she has been a widow for twenty three years. I recieved the shock of my life to know that she was 88 years old. I could not believe her! She lived alone, cooked meals, cleaned the house, bought groceries, watered the plants, dried the clothes, went for X-rays...all by herself! One of her daughter had died just a year ago after being paralysed for thriteen years. She looked after her grandson for her daughter. He is twenty five now and is a proud father of a two month old baby boy. She had the most lovely smile while she spoke about her yougest great grandson! I asked her what his name was and she proudly revealed, "Henry!" Other two daughters lived in different suburbs with their families. "You have a big family! Thats great! We have a big family too back home. Evan keeps missing everyone , he has been among so many people before we came here. But I am glad that he is very attached to you!" I revealed. She gave him a little sumo wrestler shaped stone piggy bank. He was so glad. Then we watered the plants together. It started raining a little so we all rushed in our houses and it struck me that I could have given her some freshly made gajar halwa. I packed some in a jar and rushed downstairs with Evan. With a huge amount of excitement and happiness he handed over the jar to her. He grinned shyly and told her, "gajar halwa ghe, tula avadel" and I traslated it. She secretly asked me if it was okay to give him some lollies and I smilingly agreed. She called us inside her cosy neatly decorated home and offered him sweets. He obliged her instantly! While returning one of my containers in which I had packed her some homemade cake, she said, "The cake was really nice! I had it with some hot coffee." I thanked her and we left. Evan was super happy not for the chocolates that much, but for the piggy bank! I am so honoured to know her, to have these little bits of conversations with her everyday. She leaves me astonished because never does she complain, never has an off mood when she greets us, never has any preconcieved notions. She is confident and independant. Even when she narrates to me her life stories she never boasts about it. She is one hell of a superwoman. She is an inspiration. No matter where you belong, what your skin colour is, which culture or religion you follow, how old you are, you can find an exceptional human being and can connect with them like it was meant to be!

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