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In Loving Memory: Hiralaxmi Thanki, 1933-2007

January 02, 2008


ba

Dear Ba,

It was only a few days ago that you were telling Bhairavi and I the story of how you got your tattoos. For as long as I can remember, whenever I picture you in my mind, I always picture the seven dots on the back of your hand as well. I regret that it took me so long to ask you how those little dots came to be. I used to think that they served some vague religious purpose because I had seen the same designs on so many women in Porbandar. To my surprise, you contradicted that idea by telling us that you got your tattoos because it was the cool thing to do when you were a little girl. You told us how you used twigs, dye, and some strange plant powder to give yourself the tattoos. I remember being shocked and thinking that that was just about the coolest thing I had ever heard! You laughed when I told you this.

You laughed, as always, without judgment and with a soft abandon that made me feel as if all was right with the world. From my birth onwards, this was the effect you had on me. You could calm me when others could not. You told me that when I was a child, all you had to do was run your index finger from my forehead to the tip of my nose and I would stop crying. You were too sweet to say this but I was a horribly stubborn child, and the fact that you could calm me with such a small movement speaks to your wisdom and to the trust you inspired in all of us.

Whenever I saw you playing with Darsh, and then Aryan, I was reminded of my own childhood and of Bhairavi's childhood. The simple purity of your actions made me grateful that we have been lucky enough to have someone like you in our lives. I regret that I was never able to tell you how much I appreciated your tel maalish, your cooking, your hand's grip on mine when crossing Bombay gullys on those long ago summer vacations. In recent years, I regret that I wasn't able to see you more often. I hope that when you heard my distant voice over the phone you felt as loved as I did. I wish I could have made your winters warmer, your pain disappear, and the doctors unnecessary. The last few days that Bhairavi and I spent chatting with you will forever remain fresh in my memory.

Through you, I was better able to understand myself. Through you, I was better able to understand my family. Through you, I was able to see the world in the light of unconditional love.

I love you, Ba, you live on within us. May your soul be blessed and kept safe.

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posted by Neha
5:04 PM

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