‘AMI ODRISHYO HOSTO’ [THE INVISIBLE HAND] | portraits of my grandmother

One fine day, he said, “Juthika, your daughters and their daughters are like Durga with ten hands.” She blushed and as an afterthought said, “Ami odrishto hath [I am the invisible hand]. I am however of the thought process that it is a curse to be so, the goddess with ten hands. It basically boils down to serve others and do not have a life of your own. She would not share this school of thought. My grandmother is fiercely independent, loyally idealistic, with a tingling arrogance, she clings to objects, memories to somewhat preserve a time gone by. Her sense of space is chaotic but it is her own. Colours scream at you from different directions, a plethora of smells creates an aroma that only her home creates. For the obedient eye trained under societal norms, it is seemingly a chaotic existence. But mind you, you want a pin out of the hay stack and she would know exactly where it is. She goes about her chores, choosing to do things her way and by herself. She clings to a definition of her space, her own space. It is gratifying in so many ways, to not succumb to societal standards. She tends to pray a lot but the gods span across religions. There is great discipline to her daily life. She strongly believes, ‘Kaaj lokkhi (work is worship). One will stay healthy that way.’ She is simple in a very complicated manner. I aspire to be like you someday, dearest Dadi.

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