Ode To My Paati

Ode to paati
A photo of my grandparents – a wedding photo

Ode To My Paati

Happy, smiling, you know….

that word that escapes us –

something more than happy,

funny, she made us laugh

told us stories of you as a child

…This is how my kids described

the woman they knew as kollu-paati 

– spent time with, on visits back home

as for me, she was all that symbolized patience

cups of strong chai, magically

appearing anytime I needed it

oodles and oodles of tolerance

stories that made our worlds so magical

under those long-ago starry nights

I have those memories alright

but her voice,  I wonder now –

will i hear another that makes me feel

it sounds like her?

but paati -thank you for those memories

they make me feel, you know

that word that escapes us –

something more than happy

…as of today, I have no one to call paati


kollu-paati – great grandmother/paati – grandmother (in Tamil)

Today, my kids lost their great grandmother (the only great grandparent they had known) and I bid a heartfelt goodbye to this wonderful human being who was my grandmom (my maternal grandmother). She lived a full life, of that we are all glad; and she will be missed.

If I had to describe her in just a few words – she was the epitome of patience and years ahead of her time. She was a perfect complement to my grandpa, her patience and calm acting like a soothing balm to his more fiery nature. She was calm, but not meek, diminutive in size but not strength of character.

She could not hear very well and that served her well – it used to be truly cool to watch grandpa ranting about something or the other that had annoyed him, and she would keep walking or doing her things as she had not heard him at all (sometimes i wondered!!) , but no matter, the end result was peace and calm were restored pretty soon, and the main point was she never lost her cool. I do not recall her complaining about anything or anyone either. I used to think i had inherited some of that patience/that cool from her (and also my dad – so from both sides of the gene pool), but there are times that I disprove that theory.

I am going to try, to emulate that characteristic of hers – of calm and patience, more consciously…



12 thoughts on “Ode To My Paati

  1. What a heartfelt poem… so many memories in a voice and in the stories… I hope the memories will stay also when the voice go silent.

    1. thank you Bjorn… i know we will miss seeing her when we visit home next time.. that has been one of our major highlights of our past trips – visiting my grandmother’s place..(and luckier when she has been visiting my mom)

  2. Oh really!! May her soul RIP. I too enjoyed their hospitality and warmth. Brings a smile on my face when I remember all that we inflicted on them in our growing years.

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