Friday, 14 June 2013

Why I can now see Thestrals: An Ode to my Ba…

So, I haven’t actually blogged since I have moved home due to going on Brownie Pack Holiday and what not. My next post was going to be titled ‘The Train Journey to  my Future…’ as I started to write it on my train ride out of the small university town of Aberystwyth, my home for the past three years, and back into the ‘real world’ located inside the M25. Unfortunately, I fell asleep half way through writing the post and it is no longer relevant as a lot has happened since then.

So, instead I am going to write about why I can now see thestrals. Thestrals, for all those who are not fans of Harry Potter, are magical creatures that are invisible to everyone except those who have seen death. I can now see them.

At the start of this month, my Ba (grandma) passed away whilst watching Star Plus (the Indian channel) in my living room. My parents, little sister and I were all present; we can now all see thestrals. It was a traumatic experience. Something that is still quite hard to believe at times, even after seeing her body in the hospital, dressing her in that lovely purple sari and feeling the heat of the furnace on my face before the coffin went in at the crematorium. These are all experiences that people simultaneously don’t want to deal with but probably will at some time in their life.

People say that Ba is in a better place now, which in one way I agree as she is no longer suffering and passed away before things got even worse for her. But on the other hand, I am quite sceptical about the after-life. So where Ba is or is not now will always remain a mystery.

Enough philosophical stuff, because for those who know me, know that I think philosophical stuff only belongs in a healthy but heated debate. So, instead I am going to share some of the wonderful things about Ba – some of which may have been taken from the speech her grandchildren gave at the funeral but I wrote the speech so it isn’t stealing.

Ba was a kind and caring lady, she always put everyone before herself and nothing made her happier than making a home for her family, known as ‘Mota Ghar’ (Direct translation: big house. Shah family translation: the main house of the family). My favourite part of ‘Mota Ghar’ was her ‘Nasta Cupborad’ (snack cupboard) stocked full of ghatiya, chivda, suva dana (various types of Indian snacks) and my personal favourite ‘Ba Biscuits.’ If you had the pleasure to taste them, count yourself lucky.

Ba was also praised on her ability to provide food; some favourites included her homemade popcorn and endless platters of sliced and diced fruit. I will always remember one morning whilst I was staying at ‘Mota Ghar’ in the holidays when Ba told me that we would have spaghetti for dinner. I was looking forward to it as it was a change from the regular dal, bhat, shak, rotli. Dinner time came. I went downstairs and sat at the table. Ba dished up. What did she give me? Spaghetti and dal (lentils)! Not a winning combination. I ate it, though, because if you didn’t finish your food Ba would say ‘matha ma bhushi nakish’ (I will rub it in to your head).  

These memories of Ba I have shared with you seem to have a common theme, food. I love food, so did Ba. And I have most definitely inherited her sweet tooth.

I will finish by sharing with you the most important life lesson I learnt from Ba: ‘Cereal is not just for breakfast!’

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