Friday, 3 April 2009

The faint smell of jasmines and oranges

When you finally had the conversation with her she was almost ninety-five years old. But as always inquisitive and eager. There was so much she wanted. To fly in an airplane that she had seen only on a screen. To visit Bombay. To learn to swim. To wear a gigantic diamond ring. To find a pot full of gold coins. But that was mostly said in jest. What she really wanted to do was sit on a cot under a tree and recollect each and every day of her life.

But her memory had its own personal agenda. Sometime it would fixate on what she was wearing when she wanted to in actuality concentrate on remembering what he was saying. Sometimes when she would try to recollect her childhood, her memory would instead stray towards the power games she had played as an adult. Sometimes it would force upon her the visions of ghosts. People whom she did not want to remember. People long gone, who had no impact upon her life except for this occasional haunting that seemed to thrust her own mortality into the forefront, when all she wanted to do was recollect how beautiful she had looked as a young 16 year old bride. The memories kept pushing her in this and that direction. Till she simply had to accept she had no control over her memories.

Then a gentle breeze had risen mixing the smell of jasmines with the smell of oranges that you were peeling for her. She had sighed and looked right into your eyes and said, “Honestly, all that I want is peace.”

When a few months later the phone rang you knew what everyone had been expecting for the past six months had come to pass. And she had at last found what she had wanted the most. Trying to remember the last meeting all you could recollect was the faint smell of jasmines and oranges.

1 comment:

Ainara said...

This reminded me of my grandmother.
Thank you.