This time, during my India trip, I managed to find this picture of my paatti ensconced within the folds of an ancient album. My grandma showed this to me when I was about 7 during a summer visit. I can still remember the shine in her eyes, face agog with excitement wreathed in a wide grin as she recalled this triumphant moment from her youth. Her eldest brother had returned from South Africa with a novel "thing" that could take still pictures. She was one of the first people in Sivaramapuram to be photographed much to the envy of her neighbors. Most people had not seen or even heard of a camera in the 1920s!
So there she is, my grandma, when she was around 18 standing in the thaazhvaaram of her family home. Old age has gotten to her these days and she can't move about much. But she still happens to be one of the most colorful, feisty and cheerful people I know. When I showed her this picture, her face softened as she went back in time and I think for a few minutes, she became 18 years old again -- shy, expectant and ready to take on life. If you ask her, she'll say she never feels older than 18. Ever. I believe her.