Sunday, June 1, 2008

Amazing Grace ...

She was full of it. My beloved aunt, Valerine who passed away last week embodied the grace and patience that we come to cherish only to realize that the person is no more in our midst. Aunty Vallie as she was fondly called by all those who knew her, came to Mumbai from Mangalore in 1948. She lived with her neighbour from Mangalore who had come to the big city a few years earlier, and helped her bring up her 6 children. When she got a job and settled a bit, she sent for her younger sister (my mom) and her mother. The three ladies stayed together in a rented place in Mumbai, till my mom met my Dad and they got married in 1967. From then on, they were all a family. My sister and I came along, and with both parents working, Aunty was the one who brought us up.

My sister and I are doubly blessed to have had two mothers. It is difficult to put into words the memories that we are left with. But when I think of Aunty, the images that dance across my mind’s eye include:

· Her ready smile
· Going to school, holding Aunty’s hand
· Her endless patience in teaching me spellings – I still remember stumbling over the spelling of “pieces” and aunty patiently spelling it out to me at least 50 times
· A whiz at math – she always won prizes in school for top marks – she unraveled the mysteries of profit and loss so simply for me
· The fresh snacks she got for us in school during break time, along with a cool flask filled with her refreshingly delicious sweet lime juice (till date, this remains my all time favourite fruit juice)
· The amazing curries she created and dished up
· The goodies that she made at Christmas
· Her exquisite embroidery and crochet creations – she could just look at a design and figure out the pattern of stitches used
· Her penchant for cleanliness – she would painstakingly wipe off furniture surfaces free of dust
· The caring eye she kept on the building kids whose parents were also working
· She might not have had kids of her own, but her generous heart embraced all the children in our building as her own – and their emails cry to us with their loss as much as our own
· Her stoicism and courage in bearing the pain and suffering that came her way, without a murmur. Only when the pain got unbearable, did she allow a silent tear to slip by
· The grace and peace that she conveyed at the time of that final goodbye

Aunty Vallie … pillar of strength … epitome of a giving spirit … you will be fondly remembered … always and forever

1 comment:

Alpana said...

Maya, this is such a beautiful post about your aunt. I had read it a while back and am just commenting now.