Today, while I scooped at the frozen surface of the mango ice cream (Granny's famous recipe) my father made, I thought about the memories it brought with it. It took me back to that old and comfortable house. Sometimes I shut my eyes trying to remember the details better. I visualize the entrance, the red upholstery, the flooring with its ancient pattern, the green plants, the curtains, the smell of good food and most importantly, my lovely grandparents. When I hugged them, I felt bones and loose flesh. I was always afraid I'd hurt them, but then they'd look down at me and smile and say something so nice, I would feel reassured and content almost instantly. That house was always alive. There was always laughter and conversation. I remember spending hours lying in the room with that huge fan, while my cousins and I would just watch it turn, until we fell asleep. I remember playing in the garden with leaves and flowers and twigs, and making various concoctions for our 'cooking show' while Granny would shout 'Come inside! Don't drink that'. I remember how I would sleep between Granny and Dada and listen to them snore softly. I remember listening to stories and looking at old pictures in their black and white glory. I recall sitting around the wooden table, with hot, steaming food and the box of sugar. I remember how we raced to the fridge to get the mango ice cream out first.
It's funny how it all seems so distant and yet, these few memories are so vivid and so real. I feel a pang of sadness every now and then, when I think about how I only knew my grandparents for a few years. White hair, transparent and wrinkled skin, walking sticks and soft voices. But then, I stop and think of what wonderful people they were, how they raised four children and took care of so many more, how they showered their eight grandchildren with so much love and affection and made that white house, a home. They were the strongest people I ever knew. While every visit to the hospital would scare us silly, they came back unperturbed. They fought until the very end and I watched them do it.
Even today, no family gathering is complete without talking about them. And even though the same story has been told umpteen times, it never gets old. We still laugh and love and miss them, together. And I think that's all they would have really wanted. Not to be forgotten. To be a cherished memory.