Monday, November 28, 2011

Grandma/Ammamma/Nanima comes to stay!

I am back! Back from a 5 week long vacation to the US, 5 weeks in which I visited 7 states, if you include Denver...8. Thanks to unforseen flight delays and missed connections, I visited Denver airport way too many times!!!!! Of the 9 different flights I took, only one - I repeat - only one went as planned!!!!! But anyway, that's a story in itself, which will be up on my travel blog soon.

But this post is about my 90 year old grandmother, or as I fondly call her Ammamma, who stays with my uncle and aunt in Chennai, who wanted to take a vacation to the UK, so she got dropped off at our house here in Hyderabad a few days after I left for the US. My mother who usually stays at our place and takes care of my dogs whenever we are out of town has been looking after her since. The last time Ammamma came to stay at my house was the summer of 2009,  but I was away on vacation so I really didn't get to spend any time with her. Luckily this time she is here for an extended stay, so ever since I got back from the US, I have been observing my mom look after her till said uncle and aunt get back next month. And I have learned that taking care of elderly people requires a lot of patience and compassion!!!!!

Except for some serious short term memory loss, Ammamma is in fine fettle. She has no diet restrictions and can eat anything she wants, her hearing and eyesight are as sharp as ever. She's picked up on every whispered conversation we have had!!!! But in everything else she is like a 2 year old. So my mom has been helping her with her bath, combing her hair, tucking her into bed at night....all the things a mom does to her child, my mother now does to my grandma. Its been fascinating to watch. But what really fascinates me is Ammamma's daily evening ritual of making flower garlands.

Every evening around 4.30 or so, we sit her outside and my mom brushes her hair and packs it into a neat little bun all tucked into a black net!!!!

Then my maid picks little white flowers from the tree and hands them to Ammamma one by one, who in turn with her gnarled knobbly 90 year old fingers, her face wrinkled with years of wisdom and experience, wrinkled even more in furious concentration, deftly intertwines and weaves them into a garland. She holds the tiny green stem of each flower and wraps the twine around it into a knot, then the next....and so on till she has a flower garland about 2 feet long. The whole process takes about 30 minutes....I watch riveted and my dogs nuzzle at her red nail polished toed feet while she does so. So here are pics taken from this evening's ritual to share.....!

Isn't she adorable?

I have lots to share about my trip....and some BIG NEWS! So stay tuned!