Aama — a mother, that is exactly what my maternal grandma was to me. What a beautiful word it is that I get to remember her by. A gentle human being, she was my first guide and my first friend.
I remember vividly when I visited Aama in Ohio during the winter months of 2017. We lived hours away then and I hadn’t seen her in almost more than a year. When I first came in, I rushed to her and rested my head on her lap. It felt like I was five again and Aama was putting me to sleep.
I knew she was sick, and I also quickly realized she looked sick and that she wouldn’t be with me for much longer. Overwhelmed by emotions, I ran to another room before she could see my tears. I couldn’t believe it, my Aama would leave me soon. After staying with her for a while, we headed back home and to start our lives as if everything was normal and fine.
A few weeks later, my mom received a call saying that “Aama is no longer with us.” I didn’t know what to say or how to react. I couldn’t comfort myself, let alone my mom. Our Hindu festivals are here, but they are not as bright as they would be when she was still with us. She gave us comfort, affection, and kindness.
I remember all the times I would run to her with my minor inconveniences. I remember when I had just started learning to cook; She taught me how to measure the water for the rice and the masalas (spices) for the curry. She talked with so much kindness all the time.
It has been three years since yet her kindness still floats. I missed her badly in the recent Dashain — a Hindu festival, where the elders offer blessings to the younger members of the family. I felt her absence strongly. I know I am going to miss her forever.
Where I am today and whoever I am is all due to what Aama had taught me. Calm yet fearless, loving but intimidating; She was the embodiment of the word Aama. Even when ill, she always extended herself to her children, grandchildren, and so on. I could only hope to be half the person she was.