Apparently, when I was a young girl visiting India, my grandmother (on my father’s side) told them that I was ‘mischief’. Among other anecdotal statements such as: ‘poison’, and telling my dad to ‘watch this one’. She, also, promised my older sister the diamond earrings our Auntie was wearing when she (my grandmother) died.
On one visit, she put a lock on the fridge and would not allow the servants to open it when we were hungry and wanted a snack. This action was all the more ridiculous considering the majority of its contents was bought by my parents (as we were staying at that house while we were in the country).
My grandmother’s husband (my grandfather) died around the same time I was born. (Not sure when exactly). He served in the Indian Army (Peace Corps or something like that- I am not sure), and was stationed in Vietnam for 2 tours (I think).
My dad is very proud of him, and rightly so. From the stories they tell he seems to have been a great man. However, he had one major flaw, according to my mother, he let the women in his house rule, and never questioned them. So, when my grandmother committed outrageously cruel acts to my father, he would sit quietly in the room not saying a thing.
I do not remember my grandmother much at all, except for her look, and as I am not an artist, it is impossible to say if that is even her true countenance. When my father had trouble with mathematics as a young boy, my grandmother took it upon herself to tutor him and make sure he passed his math class. When he had trouble getting the numbers exactly right, she would beat him mercilessly, until he got it right.
My grandmother was a dancer as a young woman, and a medical school drop out. Her mother was the first female cardiologist in India (maybe more than that?), and a divorcee. As she was her only child, my great-grandmother took great pains to find her a good husband (my grandfather).
I think perhaps my grandmother’s cruel streak came from some form of survival issue (maybe, a Rasputin complex?). She became severely sick as a young girl and had to relearn how to walk, and speak again. She was re-taught her alphabets, among other things. My father thinks that this event probably severely affected her.
Even so, my grandmother made a point of damaging my father. She fed him faeces (from my Auntie’s diaper- apparently- I am not completely sure) when he was sick, and my father, as a result, developed jaundice (which my sister as a baby had a case of?).
I like to think of this as the Family Curse- when I am feeling extra vindictive/sarcastic. But it is a bit obvious- grandma was a sickly child and broke daddy by forcibly making him ill. Dad was a sickly child, and when I was growing up he belittled me, and laughed at me when I fell, and ever showed signs of being lesser. Now that I am older, and a full grown adult, it is a hard pill to swallow knowing that I am nothing, and that Dad was right all along. Maybe, that is why I like to talk about university, and high school so much? Back then I thought I still had a fighting chance, and that I would never be alone wondering about everything- scared if I will ever accomplish anything, and if I was wrong all along.