She was wiping her tears and caressing the photo with her wrinkled hands but unstoppable stream of pain was pouring through her eyes and falling on the piece of paper she was holding in her hands bringing it near her bosom every now and then.
Her sobs were aggrevating her asthama, becoming a point of utmost concern for the family.She was disheveled with swollen eyes,scattered hair and shattered heart.
Mother was on tenterhooks ,as Kakini(my grandmother) had refused to eat anything.
She was in a state of shock,She was mourning the death of her third and youngest son RAJIV GANDHI the ex PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA.
My home was on the country side of Kashmir on the national highway, covered with chinars and eucalyptus,the highway looked more like a long green tunnel.
Kakini aka dadi was the soul of our home, doing nothing but supervising everything she was in fact epicenter of our activities.Her day would start at the break of the dawn completing morning rituals and then adorning herself with traditional attire 'tarang','pheran', putting 'kumkum' and 'kajal', Humming a song she would check herself in a small piece of mirror she had in her 'shingar' box.She and the mirror had beautiful relationship , humming smiling and looking at each other.For an ordinary person she was just an old small lady but as her favourite grandson and chum I knew she had a fountain of youth and energy in her heart and soul.
She actually knew how to grow old and still be enchanting,which is even nowadays one of the most difficult chapters of art of living.
Her evenings were mostly busy with ladies from the village sharing every piece of information they had( Google of that Times).
The incident dates back to 1986 , when Rajiv Gandhi was on the political visit to Kashmir and he was to address the political rally in nearby town. The news spread in the village that the cavalcade of the Prime Minister was going to pass through the village as it was the nearest to the adjoining Highway. So there was frenzy and excitement all around. Having PM of India around in a dusty village was the rarest occasion .
And I don't know how Kakini got hold of this news.
And here my kakini was -Woke up half an hour earlier that day, finished all her routine and
wore her best 'pheran' and groomed herself with all her heart.The village was abuzz with activity, people thronged from vicinities to have a glimpse of their favourite leader.And there was my Kakini standing in the first row.She was standing in the crowd but still she was"The Face"in the crowd.She looked like a work of art beautifully adorned in typical kashmiri dress.
She stood on the road (shining in her uniqueness) waiting and waiting for a glimpse of Rajiv Gandhi,but there was no sign of any kind.My mother asked her to return umpteen times ,but she was adamant of catching the first glimpse.
At last after two or three hours of long and anxious wait her patience bore fruit, we saw a dust ball moving towards us. The Car came to a sudden halt.Lo and behold
alighted from the car Farooq Abdullah and Rajiv Gandhi,Kakini was standing first in the row ,so Farooq Abdullah came directly to her and enquired about her health in local dialect.
I can't describe in words what divinity Rajiv Gandhi saw in my
Kakini that he bowed and touched her feet to seek her blessings.
That was "THE MOMENT"Kakini held him close to her heart and told him "You are my third son".
The journalists following them jumped to the opportunity and clicked them.Next morning Kakini was in the print.
And since that day she would tell everyone that Rajiv Gandhi was her son.She became the talk of the Town. People who didn't get a chance to see their leader would come to my Kakini to know about him.
Suddenly her rank in our society was upgraded.
and she too would enjoy this respect and honour.
Meanwhile the mass exodus happened and Kashmiris moved from their heavens to other places which were no lesser than hell.
It was one of the fire spewing day of May when
the news of assassination of Rajiv Gandhi broke out.
Kakini was shattered, she stopped eating talking and even dressing up.
Her asthma was getting worse day by day .The doctors warned her against weeping. The dearth of sobs was killing her each day, she would cling to any piece of paper with Rajiv Gandhi's picture.
Such indelible mark had that kind gesture of a leader left on her mind that she felt as if a part of her was gone with him.
Rajiv Gandhi's smile had fossilized in her heart,both of them could not understand each other's language but words were only pretext,it was the inner bond that draw them close to each other. Reaching out and taking someone's hand is actually beginning of the journey.
There are people in our lives who just touch our lives to provoke us and our relationship with them helps us understand our ownselves in a better way.And when they leave us a part of them is left within us.May be it was God's will to add days of sunshine to the otherwise foggy fag end of her life,it was angelic intervention which got her reverence and respect.
Same happened with my KAKINI.
May be in their next births they have the umblical cord attached.