Over the past week, I’ve been paying visits to my relatives’ places. It has been fun with each athai, perima (aunt), paati (grandmother) telling me with gleaming eyes that I’ve become taller or that I’ve ‘light-ah’ put on weight since the last time they saw me.
One such visit will forever remain etched in my mind. (To my dad’s aunt’s place)
After the usual pleasantries, paati and my mother were conversing. Suddenly, paati pulled my mother close and whispered to her, ‘Ponnu ah liberal ah vidu’, which loosely translates to, ‘Be liberal with your daughter.’
God! I was taken aback. Those words coming from an eighty-five year-old woman stunned me.
It made me realize how empowering education can be in a person’s life. Well, this conversation was also an eye-opener for someone like me, who was under a major misconception that ‘old’ is always synonymous with ‘conservative.’
And the entire journey back, this kept replaying in my mind. I don’t know if it was because of the way she said it or because it came from the most unexpected of places.
But take my word for it, in the true sense, it made me feel ‘liberal.’