Written especially for my little cousin Josiah, who turns 16 today. He didn’t get much time with my maternal grandfolks, aka Mummy and Papa, because they passed away when he was quite small. Here’s a small snippet of who they were, Jos. Happy birthday!
Mummy was fifteen years younger than Papa. He was the younger son and second youngest child of a big family- big both in terms of the number of family members, and status in his village. She was the youngest daughter and antepenultimate child of an equally large and well-known family from a village farther north.
She said she wasn’t sure about marrying a man so much older than herself, but since their families had known one another for a long time, and were neighbours in Bombay, she decided to go ahead and accept his proposal of marriage.
I’m glad she did.
They were wed in a Bombay that had recently lost the sparkle of being a jewel in the crown of the British Empire. Their wedding pictures – those that I’ve seen- are black and white, with a wonderful clarity that I sometimes have trouble achieving with my smart phone. Mummy has a slightly peaked headdress, and a veil that fans out just a little behind her. Papa looks dashing in his tails and top hat.
Together they had four children- two boys and two girls, of whom my mum is the second child-, lived in three countries- India, Pakistan, and Kenya-, were expats and then foreign-returns, Portuguese and then Indian, spoke several languages including English, Konkani, Swahili, and what my grandmother referred to as Hindustani, had many trades, held and loved eight grandchildren (the ninth came after Mummy passed away), and built a home that welcomed family and friends from all parts of the world.
Mummy passed away about fifteen years ago. A year before that, she and Papa celebrated 50 years of being married. Papa stuck around for a few more years, and was four years short of becoming a centenarian when he passed away.
They were awesome. They made us feel loved. They fed us. They told us stories. They looked after my sister, me, and all our little cousins whenever it was necessary. I know they were fallible human beings, but they did their best to make up for it.
P.S. Mummy- I know you preferred Grandma as your honorific, but some habits die hard even 15 years later.
Day 77: Pick a garment and elaborate the care instructions in verse