Nothing on earth can match grandmother’s love. Those who acquire this love and affection are lucky.
And those who remain devoid of it in their infancy, quite often feel themselves deprived of this blessing in their lives.
Nevertheless, I was blessed enough to have grown up in close proximity of my maternal grandma whose lullabies still reverberate in my ears.
To use simple words, keep the story straight and absolutely not use any embellishments whatsoever, to describe my grandma Zooni Begum, whom every one knew as Zoon Ded at her in-laws in Sopore.
She was a town girl married in a village-a steadfast disciple of Raja Saheba (a religious lady with saintly qualities at Warpora, Sopore). She visited her edifice whenever she felt need of.
She would offer namaz (prayers) five times a day and preferred health and hygiene over everything. Whenever any person, in that village, would come across any ailment, she was, verily, the first person to be approached to. And she would care him with home-remedies by using easily-available-herbs which we know today as medicinal plants.
My grand mother benefited people in a myriad of ways while expecting nothing in return.
There were hardly any doctors in villages, those days. Hospitals were least known and visited. Being a famous warien (midwife) in the vicinity, she helped many.
Today, midwifery is taken as a professional nursing course but in that time it was least introduced. Every year, pregnant women would deliver babies in her presence. And, if anything she was given by them, post pregnancy, it was a plate of Kashmiri wazwan (cuisine) which they offered to her at their kids’ Aqiqah.
Maternity deaths were rare then in her time. Terms like Caesarian, Gynecologist, etc. were not heard at all. Though, at present, we have hundreds of doctors with great healthcare in place, yet, maternity mortality-rate doesn’t decrease.
In that time, normal deliveries would occur. Mothers would deliver babies with no concept of diseases like thyroid, cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, cirrhosis, cancers, etc.
Cutting a long story short, my grandma would often chant ‘vaakhs’ (poetry) of Lal Ded and of Habba Khatun whom she had made as her role-models. She was a visionary woman respected in the whole locality.
She sang her own poetry as well but how ironical she couldn’t write that down because in those days education wasn’t considered necessary for girls, especially in rural Kashmir.
She knew different lullabies which she used to chant in her lilting voice to coax her grandchildren to sleep. There was a great tranquility while sleeping in her lap that, I wonder, world’s best therapist could not provide.
Those days, people cooked their food on chulha (self-made furnace) and my grandma was the best at making them. Undoubtedly, she would have made a chulha almost in every household in the habitation.
Whenever, in childhood, we would get on to her nerves. She would get irritated and go out to inform her elder son Mohammad Afzal, my maternal uncle. She would chide us in the evening when Mamu would get in.
Some ailments which accompanied her up to the last stage of life were cough, breathlessness and shivering. She had such a bad cough that she would cough regularly for minutes together.
I remember the day when we took her along to the shrine of Baba Shukr-ud-Din (RA) at Kralh Sangr (Sharikot Hill) in Watlub, Sopore where we had to pay our obeisance. Despite being old, she managed to climb up to the top of the hillock though helped by us at times. She was a remarkable woman, a good advisor. May God bestow her highest place in heaven.
Manzoor Akash teaches English, hails from zone Dangiwacha, Rafiabad
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.