I am reading William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well” for last two days. In chapter 24 – Writing family history and memoir, Zinsser talks about the value of documenting family memories. As he says, writers are the custodians of memory. Their responsibility is to hunt those stray memories and bind them to the books with the help of words. The book has made me nostalgic.
Today I am thinking a lot about my maternal grandmother I lost three years ago. She was the only grandparent who was alive to tell me the enchanting stories from Indian mythology all through the night, place rice morsels in my hands while I sat under the moonlight in the courtyard, give me money to buy those tiny toys and toffee which my parents refused to buy for me! I don’t remember my grandmother hurting anyone in any way. She radiated warmth and personified tenderness.
In the age of television, the art of storytelling is lost to the blaring media! I was fortunate to have a grandmother who has left me with a part of herself through the stories she conjured for her grandchildren! I know that she is not up there in the skies, residing in the heavens, watching over me because she is right here in my heart, in my memories, and in my name. Yes, her name was Sharada.
If your grandparents are alive, run to them…! Ask them to narrate their struggles, their joys, their hopes! Take pictures of your grandparents, record their voice, if you can. My friends, memories are tricky! Freeze them before they flow out of your lives and vapourize!
I want to sitdown with all my maternal aunts, hear their journey. I want to go back to that house in Tumkur where my mother grew up and see what remains of the place!