Monday, May 24, 2010

So many stories

I am drawing a family tree. From my uncle I am extracting names from long ago pre-colonial times, when the states were not linguistically separated and India perhaps only a selective idea. I am learning about grandmothers and great-grandmothers, about virile men and stubborn women, about fiery events and legends equal parts fate and magic.

Here is one of them.

A woman fought with her daughter. I would like to think it was because the daughter yelled at her. Because she would not cut down on her salt intake. Or because she stood sullen and refused to change when her daughter said that the colour of her sari did not match the colour of her blouse. Or because she told her daughter that she ought to tak better care of her children. Or maybe it was far more serious. Maybe her mother was ill and she wanted her to go to a doctor. Maybe she had not visited her in a long time and they had grown distant. Maybe it was because she and her daughter had never got along anyway.

In any case, as a result of the fight, the woman walked into a well and threatened to stay there and die. Someone managed to coerce her out.

The woman was 95 and her daughter 76. After coming out of the well, she proceeded to live for eleven more years and died at the age of 106.

Her name was Meenakshi.

I am her great-great-granddaughter.

With genes like these...