It was the evening of 24th July 2019. That was the last time I heard her voice. Since few days, prior to that, the urge to call her was so strong. She owned a Nokia 1110 phone and due to 90% vision impairment, she couldn’t use a smartphone. So I was trying to manage the timing with my uncle and aunt to talk to my grandma but I was unable to due to busyness at work and the time difference. I still can’t explain how I felt. All I knew was that I just had to do it somehow. I didn’t know the whys but something or someone was telling me not to make it late. I finally got an international calling pack and tried calling her whole day on 24th and finally she took the call in the evening.
“Dadi, ghar k aam ki bahot yaad ati hai” (Grandma, I miss the mango tree at home a lot)
“Beta aajao. Iss baar itne huye nahi pedh pe par tumhare chacha bazaar se acche aam le atey hain” (This year the tree didn’t fruit well but your uncle gets good ones from the market)
“Par dadi vo pedh k jo khatey meethey aam hotey nah, ekdum taaza pedh se todhey huye. Aur aese bhi abhi toh nahi aa rahi. Ab toh seedhe December mey Christmas k liye aungi” (But Grandma, those sour and sweet ones freshly plucked from the tree are the best ones. Also I’m unable to come just now. I’ll come in December for sure).
“Beta abhi aajao, kuch dino se tumhe dekhne ka mann hai. December mey toh bahot deri hojaegi” (Child, come just now. Since few days I have been wanting to see you. It’ll be too late in December)
This really troubled my mind. I talked to my friends about it and they said that it is normal for grandparents to say so. My grandma was from Bhutan, an immigrant. She lost her parents when she was a kid and was brought up by a missionary lady. Education and work was most important for her after her love and devotion towards God. Never had she asked me to visit her with so much desperation.
On 1st of August 2019, she fell sick and stopped eating. She was admitted in hospital on 2nd of August. My parents reached on the morning of 4th of August. They called me and told me that they have reached and her reports look fine. The strangest thing had happened around that time. It was around 6am and I had stayed awake whole night. Hearing that her reports looked fine, I decided to finally sleep. As soon as I dozed off, I heard a woman’s voice say goodbye. This suddenly woke me up. Within fifteen minutes, my dad called me and asked if I can come home. Before he could say anything, I knew it all and told him that I’ll be there beside them soon and I know that Dadi has gone. Grandma left for her home in heaven in the most peaceful way. No one even got to know about it until my mom went to check if her clothes were changed and found no motion in her abdomen and then noticed that she had stopped breathing. I could reach early morning on the following day and then there was funeral, followed by memorial service on 6th.
On 7th of August was my birthday and of course there wasn’t any celebration. I was sitting with my aunt when she started asking me about my life in Poland. I told her how much I missed few things and mango being one. Then she told my cousin, Khushi, to go to the refrigerator and get a mango for me.
“ye akhiri aam hai. Jis din dadi bimar hui, usi k teen din pehle unhone mangvaya tha. Ye akhiri reh gaya tha. Khushi ney pucha ki vo kha le par dadi ney pehli baar usey manaa kar diya tha kisi cheez k liye. Shayad ye tumhare liye hi vo rakhi hui thi” (This is the last mango. She didn’t even let your cousin touch it. It seems she had kept this just for you)
That mango indeed tasted exactly how I like- that perfect sour and sweet in one. She left but my birthday gift she didn’t forget- the mango.