Dear Mi,

Happy Birthday.

These days, I dream of you almost every night. I wake up feeling quite happy in the morning. I know this could be perceived as weirdness by some. But we don’t need our happiness to be controlled, right? At least not anymore, as Sury often reminds me. You obviously know we remember you in everything we do. We talk about you all the time. Yesterday, while making chakrapongal, I missed you so much. I think it came almost exactly like you make it. And I remembered how you never got pareshaan about anything – no matter how complex things were. I am so lucky I grew up with your wisdom in my life. I just wish you didn’t have to go so soon.

I am thinking of you as I sweat in the kitchen making chapatis as though I’ve been doing it all my life. I recall how you never grumbled about making them – in fact, you insisted only you must make them because you enjoyed cooking so much. Strangely, I do too. Or not so strangely. I keep recounting to Vidur  how we used to make that kanji maavu for breakfast porridge in large quantities and the story of switching to muesli. And how we used to make all the podis so meticulously. I am ashamed to say we went two days without dosa molaga podi. Yes, go ahead, smile. This time, Vidur told me it tastes exactly like how you make it. And I remembered how Tanu and I would endorse that no matter who approved or disapproved of us, it is our mothers’ approval that matters the most and crowns us.

Tanu called a few days ago and we had a lovely conversation. Sharda is also in my radar now and I am looking forward to catching up with her. Of course, Uma (enna saar) is the jigri-est. 🙂 The day before Vidur got his results, she arrived with a little tub of icecream for him, telling him that he should give her good news the next day. And he did. He scored a CGPA of 10, Mi. Imagine, he’s in the 10th now. Remember how he would say he was in the 10th when asked which class he was in, when he was in UKG?  And when you were unwell and going through tough health times, I would always ask you if you didn’t want to cry when Vidur came home with his 10th std results? Who the heck even dreamed you’d be snatched away from us so abruptly?

To celebrate your birthday, we sponsored a meal at Seva Sadan today. I’ve also contributed for their medical fund, Mi. I know you would be happy about that. I am also working on nikalo-ing things and donating them off. Such a pain to clean. Oh, I miss our cleaning drama so much. I was telling Vidurkutty how we used to keep changing the arrangement. You know, we’ve stuck to the same living room arrangement since you’ve been gone? Frankly, I don’t have the energy to move things around. Okay, I confess, I don’t have the inclination.

I am just hoping I can finish my book this year, Mi. It is my dedication to you. I thought it was the least we could do to help others. Whenever I feel low, I think of your encouraging words. Did I tell you our Pookari’s son drowned? Poor thing. She’s moving on with life. She’s moved up her shop on to a tela and sits perched on it, happily  weaving garlands. Yesterday when I bought flowers from her, she asked me “is it two years since amma passed away?” and I felt so touched. Sweet, no? By the way, I met the upstairs Padma who moved out of our building some years ago. Now her daughter is married and has a kid and she inquired about you – and when I told her, she was shocked. Sigh.

By the way, we bought a pedestal fan to keep us cooler. I was thinking what fun it would have been to have had it in our kitchen when you were there.

There can never be a Mother/Grandmother/Teacher like you, Mi. Just remember to be my daughter in your next birth, okay? You promised.

Your lovely smile is always in my mind. Please watch over us, Mi.