Aita, ‘Aai’ as in mother in Assamese, my mother’s mother, my supermom, my lifeline! The dawn of April 10, 2018, Golaghat saw a gloomy sky and a rainy morning. As if nature itself mourned her demise. I don’t speak for myself alone when I say, we are shattered and heartbroken, I speak for the family, rather the clan. With four children, five brothers and seven sisters (with their respective families), she lived one grand love packed life. The centre of this huge family, who adored and respected her unconditionally. Ours is a kind of bond where all these people try to come together on family events and parties. Being the head of such, one big family, their eldest sister, my Aita was the love, laughter and life of every heart. She had something about her I am yet to come across in any other individual. Every life she touched turned into joy. She was never an old lady, not even in her 80s. Her heart never grew old, it was evergreen. She would tease people, love them, scold them and most of all made them hers. That was the power of Aita. She would praise you one moment and kill you with sarcasm the other, anyway you would roll with laughter.
A little girl married off to a big house, laden with responsibilities, who had her first baby at 16. Her hardships and sacrifices weren’t few, but her strength, her principles, her capabilities and her positivity, well, only superhuman. Talking about lack of education, let me tell you about her hobbies, i.e. reading (especially detective stories, biographies, etc), travelling (almost covered India, although, rest of the world she managed through books), cooking (world’s best chutneys and pickles), cross stitch and other such weaving crafts, knitting, (creativity at its peak). The most energetic person in the house, the hard worker never got tired-always on the go. Aita was full of life, full of witty comebacks, jokes, anecdotes and a solution to every problem. Except stories, because she would rather have interesting conversations – after all, she was not like the regular grandmoms. She had a craving for cleanliness and would nag away for perfection. And if you laughed at those bouts of anger, you had it.
As I sit down to put pen to paper, I feel I can go on and on. But cutting it short, I’ll always remember her as that strong, unbreakable, elegant, wise, steadfast lady clad in white cotton mekhela chadar, hair neatly made into a tight bun, with a gold bangle on her wrist and golden earrings, spreading the fragrance of a talcum powder, comfort and gentleness. Honestly, I don’t know how to live on without her. Her demise has been the hardest thing to accept for us. But she would never like us mourning, especially when she has joked about this since years. That’s what I hate about her, she won’t even let you cry in peace because her memories only make you happy and laugh, I hate her for being after my life to teach me everything that has made me a better person and then leaving me like this. It’s not fair but maybe souls like her do not deserve the sufferings of mortal life. A soul so pure, a heart of gold, a persona so simple yet a mind so brilliant and creative- she was a blessing for all the years she gifted us her presence.
Maybe, it’s time you reunite with Koka and your parents, Aita. We’ll always celebrate you and not mourn your loss, as you would have wanted. And God, or whoever it was who took you away from us, did no wise thing. Because I know you, my dearest, naughtiest, Aitu, you will create havoc up there because with that charm and twinkling eyes, you spared no one. And now, lost in darkness without you, I only hear your laughter and voice calling out to me. Finally, I understand, you are always with me. Forever and more. I love you. Rest in blissful eternal peace.
– Reeza (Prarthana Barthakur).