I typically try to learn something from everyone I know reasonably well. That’s something I picked up from my mom. She’d always ask me to find something good about the person and try to emulate that goodness.
From my aunt I picked up “Smile and the world smiles with you” attitude. She passed away a few hours ago after a struggle with cancer.
She was my “mom-away-from-mom”. She was the one who would feed every whim and fancy of mine when I was a baby. I was the one to be spoilt. She’d come and pick me up from my home and take me to be with my cousin during the weekends when I was 3 years old. That’s when I got to know how much she’d treat me as her own son. Year’s later she moved to Bangalore. We followed. Spoiling me continued. She would cook vegetables exactly the way I loved tand everyone else had to eat them the way I loved them. Perfect texture, cut and spice.
Most all my vacations during my middle school were spent at her home. Yogurt, cold, – for Mukund? anytime. Ice cream with Gulab Jamoon, for Mukund? – sure lets go make some. She introduced me to Almond milk, first home-made, then a store-picked mix that passed her quality checks. I got lost once as a kid under her daughter’s watch and she made sure my cousin never forgot that episode.
I remember her 25th wedding anniversary many years ago. I had just finished high school and she wanted me to come by from college so she could have me by her side. It was on the terrace of her home in Okalipuram. She was probably the only one I know that encouraged me to sing, knowing full well that I was not exactly musically talented.
Years later, when I moved Stateside, she’d always gift me a Ganesha for my birthday. She knew I loved collecting them and has presented me with the most unique, wonderful statues to add to my collection.
We first heard about her cancer a year ago. She had always an awesome attitude though. The kids never knew she was going through chemo and radiation almost daily. They saw grandma lose a lot of weight and felt they could hug her more tight now. I dont recall any person that has handled cancer in a more dignified and cheerful way. She had a nice smile and even teased me about my hair loss, saying she’d lost her hair just so she could look like me. That’s how much she loved me.
Rest in peace Radha Muralidhar. The world will miss your smile with me attitude. Mostly, though, your nephew will miss his aunt, who made the world’s best Almond milk.