Some mornings are touched by the extraordinary and always when one needs it the most. My father opens my late grandmother’s Gita and out flutters a little page of ruled paper, browning all over and roughly ripped out of an exercise book. I pick it up expecting to see his handwriting but it is far older, in her handwriting. She used to have these little ruled hard bound exercise books that she used for lists, accounts, writing down what had been sent to the dhobi and other things. I picked up the scrap pf paper, expecting to see some mundane detail of her life that I would then put into the folder I have of a number of my grandfather’s letters to her. But I think it was something far more meaningful to her than a list of clothes or groceries when she had written it down – a Sanskrit shloka which she wrote down in Bengali. It starts with ‘Namami Krishnam – Jagatah Sharanyam.’ She was never a particularly religious person, but the Gita was one of the books that gave her comfort in her life.
I wonder why she wrote it down. I read the Mahabharata with her in the original. Now I wish I had also read the Gita under her guidance.
I am glad my father opened the Gita at that page. I am happy that I was there to pick it up.