Hajurba ra Hajurma

Features Issue 178 Sep, 2016
Text by Numa Shakya

 Listening to your Hajurba and Hajurma’s stories can be both enthralling and fulfilling, transporting you back to their nostalgic memories.

As children we are in a hurry to grow up, but as grandparents we only want to be a part of our families’ lives,” my Hajurma used to say this to me, when her old age had not faulted her memories, time and again. A time when she still remembered who I was, when she recognized the people around her, when she didn’t forget as much as she does now. 
Sometimes, after having lunch together, she asks me, “Khana khayo?” to which my body winces because it makes me realize that aging gracefully perhaps is just a ‘saying.’ Because the reality is that, it is hideous at times: the deceiving memories that start to weigh in with the senses.
My Hajurma has blamed many of her guests as thieves for stealing her sweaters and her khasto 
(shawl), and we can’t blame her for seeing the world in that way. Perhaps it’s her dreams and her old memories playing tricks with her now. And, these days, she is constantly worried about her old radio; she fears it will stop working if she doesn’t play it. She loves to talk with her sons. She often laughs at herself and her craziness when she realizes her sieved memories: when she is looking for her specs, when she has it in her hands, when she is looking for daddy, when he is right in front of her.  
But, there was a time when my Hajurma came to spend time with us during our school vacations. She made pickles and ate cheeseballs with me. We basked in the sun for hours, and watched Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Chandra Kanta together. 
One morning, she jerked straight up when my elder sister’s alarm buzzed. She started clapping her hands in the air, and when I asked, “What’s wrong?” she said, “I can hear the gods, they are singing,” and she went on singing, “Om Jai Jagadish Hare, Swami Jai Jagadish Hare, Bhakta Jano Ke Sankat, Daas Jano Ke Sankat, Kshan Men Door Kare, Om Jai Jagadish Hare.” Later, I told her, “Hajurma, its Lunibha didi’s alarm song,” and we both cracked up. 
There are many other stories with my Hajurma that I enjoy reminiscing about time and again. I return to some memories with her, and sometimes I just sit with her, even though she vaguely remembers my presence. 
The point is: amidst the busy life we forget that our Hajurma and Hajurba just want to spend time with us. Let’s return to the lovely stories of grandmothers and grandfathers, because they were the ones who once made us feel important when we were busy talking about imaginative stories.  

Catching up with the four friends…
Gorkha Mani Kapali, 78, Asha Kaji Byanjankar, 62, Mehboob Khan Nepali, 63, and Asta Bir Maharjan, 55, are friends for life. They sit together on the stairs of the Bhimsen Mandir, watching passerby. Enjoying the free television of life at Patan. 
“We are old men, what importance do we have now? We sit here watching life. Life has been good to us, but our age surely hasn’t,” they laugh.