An old lady is sitting next to me on the flight. We are headed from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi.
I wonder if she is nervous. A few moments earlier, I smile as I walk to my seat and motion her that my seat is next to hers. Her hair is silver, and she is dressed elegantly in a simple saree. She stares quietly at the surroundings and a wave of protectiveness for her, surges through my being.
The past few days too, I met a couple of very old women in Bali. Amongst all the clamour by young girls offering massages and more on the streets, its an old woman with a spine curved like a bow, her teeth discoloured, but smiling beamingly as she tries to sell me some trinkets, whom I remember most vividly.
I get reminded of my Nani and I close my eyes. I have my own ways of escaping pain. But I get reminded of our walks, of bachpan and her achaar, of mangoes in a bucket full of water.
The old lady next to me on the plane asks me if I am Mallu too. I try to explain that I am but can’t speak the language. She smiles at me. I ask her if she is travelling alone. She nods. I silently tell myself I’ll see her till the exit at Kochi airport.