It has been ten days since Shraddha passed away.
For adults, the 10th day ceremony would have been conducted today, with much fanfare. For a little girl, gone way before her time, it is only us remembering her.
Every day, every hour, every minute since October 31 has been spent in talking about her. How can there be so much to talk about a child who lived less than a thousand days? But there are so many tales of her antics, her doings that we still haven’t exhausted them all.
One of her most endearing traits was her absolute enjoyment for life. She rarely replied something was ‘fine’ - it was always ’super!’, with her hand making the classic sign to go with it. Mangoes, hot vada, the day’s subzi, holiday trips, everything was enjoyed to the full. Most of all, she delighted in her mother - hugging her mum, cheek to cheek and just showing her mum her love. This is the one thing that is sustaining my maami now - remembering her daughter’s tiny hands around her neck, her baby voice joyously saying ‘amma you are soooo beautiful.’
Typically of a child surrounded by lots of people, she started talking quite early. With a mind like a sponge, she absorbed everything and anything around her. Her older-by-two-years brother had just started shloka classes but this mite used to recite ‘Shantha kaaram’ just by listening to him!
She wanted to do every thing by herself - this included swinging ’sky high’ (her words) on the swings and climbing to the top of the climbing frame. Back in May when I suspected The Bun might be a girl, she put away her trike for the baby - not that she went without. She just started riding her brother’s proper cycle, with the training wheels attached, of course!
There are so many things I could tell about this bright angel. How she was looking forward to going to school, how she made us laugh when she said she would study in Madras Medical College and do the commute on my mum’s Ford Ikon, how she crawled around the house pretending to be The Mintlet and gurgling, how I thought of getting both her and The Mintlet matching ghaghras for my brother’s wedding, signing both of them for dance classes….
As a family, we had rejoiced in her sharp intellect, her cute ways and the essence of being Shraddha. We hadn’t bargained on our joy lasting for barely 32 months. And now, this bright angel, who lived life to the fullest, was always full of joy, has now left us forever.
And some child in Chennai is now seeing the world through her shiny eyes.
You are right, Shraddha. You truly are a big girl. And I cannot believe I would never see you again.