The grubby maroon armchair, with an intricate floral pattern, standing apart from the otherwise contemporary furniture in the living room of my familial house, somehow manages to hold the same authority as the lady who occupied it, did in the house.
Millicent, an exuberant child, born in a predominantly Christian village, with five other siblings in 1914, bore a sense of fascination towards the subject of Mathematics and English throughout her school years, till she completed her JBT course, which was a great accomplishment in her years. On receiving her teacher’s training, she taught in a government school for over 9 years, providing education in Mathematics, in particular to numerous children.
One day, as she was returning from school, my great grandfather, a charismatic police official saw her and enamored by her aura, asked for her hand in marriage. After a rather debated inter- religion marriage, an entirely alien concept at that time, she changed her name to Millokanta Sunder Singh. Despite this alteration, she held on to her former religious practices and fondly celebrated her spouse’s religion as well. This was her love story that she very fondly narrated to me in her old age as she sat on her chair, timeworn, yet holding a certain kind of poise in her bent posture, admiring the house that she had painstakingly yet passionately constructed for my grandfather, her only child, after her husband passed away.
She spent her last couple of years, recollecting and recounting her childhood memories to me occupying her same space in the living room, next to my great grandfather’s picture which she vacated only for meals and when she retired to her room to sleep. Somehow all these stories seemed fantastical as I attentively listened to her, dressed in spotless, wrinkle-free nightgowns, with her silvery hair neatly tied away from her wrinkled face into a braid with its ends turning back to their original color. These stories were frequently intermingled with constantly calling out to Chotu, to feed the dogs that were a constant presence in the house.
One of the last conversations that I had with her was regarding my mother. My mother held a special place in our heart, being her first and highly yearned for grandchild, the birth of whom was celebrated with great enthusiasm. She informed me of a similar place I held, being the first grandchild, making it my responsibility to ensure my mother’s well being and to ensure that the efforts she put in to raise me would never go in vain. Handing me an old five-rupee note, she retired to her room, where she had dinner, unlike her usual routine of eating at the dining table, seated at the chair opposite the head of the table’s chair. After a dinner of a meager helping of Chicken soup that my grandfather fed to her she retired to her bed, where her heart gave way to her old age.
It was only in the morning that I was informed of her demise. According to the ritual, her lifeless body was placed on the floor and was covered with flowers that people had to offer to this majestic woman, often referred to as Barima. On the day of her funeral, I came across people ranging from different age groups to different religions, all of which had been influenced or affected by her presence.
Despite constant protest of my relatives to discard her chair, my grandfather insists on having that chair in the same place, upholstered as it was in the corner of the living room, where she sat.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.