She was my father s younger Mama s mother in law. I had never seen my Nani Nana and all my cousins had Nanis atleast. She was my two fav cousins nani. Sweetest lady I have ever known. We called her Mani Bai. The gujju word for grandmother and mother as well. Dadi Nani were the Hindi imports. She wa withs always in pale cream sarees with thin grey or brown bordres. On special occassions, she wore a really white saree. She lived in Mumbai nad would come to Dhanbad on certain vacations. My cousins excit ement on her arrival was infectitous. She felt like my nani too. Her love was so pure.
When Dad was operated in Mumbai, me and my grandmother (dad s mom) stayed with her for a few days.S Actually we shunted from one relative s house to another as Dad s stay in the hospital was long. This was the house that I experienced lot of love. She lived alone in humble surroundings in an old settlement in matunga central. It was one of those places where people didnt close their main doors during the day. All ladies sat together to dry their pickles and papads in the sun in the central courtyard.The children all went to the same school and together. The tutuion teacher taught all of them together.
Granny and me didnt know much of the mumbai roads and the transport system. I was barely five years old and we would travel by buses and trains. One evening on the way back from the hospital, we lost our way. The only thing we knew was that she lived near the railway station as we always heard the train whistle. For hours we kept walking near the railway tracks before we could locate her house. I was hungry tired and thirsty. She was so loving when we reached her place. She hugged me and gave a glass of water from the earthen pot. Then she made tea in her stove and gave me some biscuits to eat. She made tea with powdered milk as the fresh milk was expensive and she didn t buy it.That was the best tea i have ever had. Love can do wonders to tea as well.
Dinner was amazing hot khichdi. Then I would sleep between her and my gran on mattresses on the floor. Morning we d go to hospital and spend the day there.Hospital didnt allow children so I had to be sneaked in. The liftman would not allow us to go up. So Gran with her filaria and me would walk up ten floors to meet Dad.
These are my first impressions of Mumbai. The place where we had got lost is the area I live in today.Mani bai and my Gran s love remains eternal.