I am thinking of you, grandmother. I could just call you. You are alive. But I am thinking of you now like I think of someone long gone. Forgive me for that. I will call you tomorrow, and we will talk about your mother, my great grandmother, the one who had many stories to tell. But someone will have to hold the phone to your ears. And you may not hear me properly. Or at all.
You always spoke when I danced. I was your trophy. You'd ask me to dance for the guests. And when I danced, you always spoke about something else. "That one's daughter is getting married. Did you know?" And the guests were too polite to ask you to shut up. So I did. Or I think I did. I always wanted to. Forgive me for that.
I remember your stories of America. Your wore like a tiara the fact that you were the first woman in the family to go on an airplane. You went to hold death's jaws open for as long as you could. But dear uncle died anyway. You changed your saree, wore shoes and sweaters, ignored the meat-smeared dishes in the sink, and even overcame the shock of how much curry leaves cost. But you lost one of your sons anyway.
Can you tell me again that story, the one about how you were locked out one night in the snow and how scared you were? I have a similar story to swap with you. It may not have snow in it, but it does have fear and loneliness. I think you will understand.
I will call you tomorrow. And, as always, you will not ask me when I would get married. You have no idea how much I love you for not asking me that ever.
I have many stories of your failings. But I will let go of them like you let go of that vegetable when you went to Kasi and never ate again.
I will call you tomorrow and tell you I love you. It is very likely that you won't hear me, that you won't know that it is love that rolls in my throat. And someone will have to hold the phone to your ears.
That someone will put the phone down and tell you it was I who called. They will say it louder and closer to your ears. And you will burst into a toothless grin. You will ask where I called from. They will tell you. And your winged mind will soar high above the reach of your shaking arms and hurl its love over the oceans to me.
I love you, too.