We called her Badi Bhua. She insisted I call her nani. She found it more endearing. I had little reason to decline. It was one of the few things she asked out of me coz for as long as I can remember she has only given. We don’t speak very often. But she never fails to wish me on my birthday, even if it’s via a text message at 10 pm, signing off as Nani.
She gifted me one of my very first hand bags when I got to college. Her paintings adorn a wall in every room at home. And she makes the best pani puri and khopra pak I’ve eaten. The festival of Rakhi feels incomplete without those two items.
I remember visiting her house one weekend morning, clad in night-clothes (I must have been about eight) because someone happened to be going that side of town. I was severely admonished to put on something more respectable before stepping out of the house. But when have I listened to anybody! She was mighty surprised to see me and also very happy. She enveloped me into a warm hug, insisted I gulp down a big glass of chocolate-laced milk and sent me off with chocolates in both my pockets. She never visits me empty-handed. She even inquires with my mom, before-hand, if she can get me something that I’ll probably use, instead of gifting me something frivolous.
She crams her heart and soul into everything she does. Someday, I want to be her.