So, I have written, rewritten, deleted and done those three things a bunch of times for this post.
Why? Because I don’t know how to explain why I want to write down these feelings and it seems like they don’t make sense when I write them down.
I’m not writing this to make you feel sad, or for you to feel my pain. It’s because I want to share a piece of myself and tell you why I am what I am today. Because of whom, I am who I am today.
Anyway, I guess if you’re reading this. This post has finally seen the light of day. There’s no other way to say this, but my Nani (maternal grandmother) left us on the 19th September, 2019, she was battling Cancer. 20 out of the 23 years of my life has been spent in her presence. I don’t know how many of you know this but if there’s anyone who is responsible for making Bakesalotlady who she is, it is her; my loving, cool, funny, creative and absolutely kickass grandma whom I lovingly called SK.
I will not be crying or writing sad things in this post. Instead, I will share something that my Nani very lovingly taught me all these years and still teaches me as she lives through me every day. The importance of good food and the impact it can leave on a person, I learnt from her. How lucky am I to be the granddaughter of a woman who put her heart and soul into even the littlest of things she would make for her family. I still have friends who tell me about the smell of her ‘dosas’ that wafted through the house when they would come over to meet me and have my pizza, they don’t remember the pizza that they so happily ate but they remember the ‘dosas’. They didn’t even get a chance to interact with her properly, but the aroma of the food still makes them remember her and her skills. That’s the impact of good food. I still have people who tell me how much they loved the coffee she gave them that one time, years ago when they came over to meet me. One time. And they still remember her smiling, loving face and the magic of her skills.
I don’t know if this is prose or poetry. I don’t know if all this makes sense either. But how lucky am I to have a Nani who would ask me if I am alright when she was dying in pain that the cancer inside her was causing. How lucky am I to have a Nani who asked me if I am eating properly and having good food when she hadn’t eaten any solid food in days.
As I have been sorting through her things the last couple of days, there is not one single thing that she owned for her personal materialistic pleasure. She still has the little gifts my sister and I gave her when we were 8 years old, safely tucked in her bag. If she got to know I loved socks, she’d turn the world upside down and buy me 20 pairs of socks just because her Anju loves socks. She never thought of herself, always so selfless. Yet she was always prim and proper and well dressed. How lucky am I to have a Nani who taught me that love is selfless, love is understanding, love is showing up as your best self even when life is kicking you down. She is the one who bought me my first ever oven, just because she believed that there was a baker in me. Even if my Brownies came out as hard as rocks. Even when I was struggling to turn my passion into a career. She cheered for me despite all odds. How lucky am I to have a Nani who taught me never to stop trying and believing in yourself.
She was excited and happy even when I would just decide to bake something creative and would eagerly wait to taste the dish even when it wouldn’t turn out perfectly. How lucky am I to have a Nani who was and is my biggest cheerleader! Not a day went by when she didn’t come and ask me if I loved the day’s meal, if I’m feeling alright and that if I needed anything, she’s right here and that everything else I could leave to God. How lucky am I to have a Nani who taught me that little things matter so much.
How lucky am I to have had the blessing of being raised by a strong, independent, talented, positive woman. A woman who never had the slightest of hesitation when it came to speaking her mind. A woman who raised three wonderful kids and ran a household while her husband fought wars. A woman who would make the most amazing heirloom recipes yet would join me to have a Sub. A woman who would not be shy to kick you if you harmed her or her loved ones in any way.
How lucky am I, that the last words we said to each other were, “I love you.”