(This happened way back in 2004. As a mark of respect to the person mentioned below, I choose to make this my first post.
Described as written on a rainy afternoon in september, 2004. Most of this is copied verbatim from that year's personal diary. I first thought I would make a new note, but then realized that, with time, this too has become just another memory and I'd be better off going back to what I first wrote down about it)
Today morning, mother informed me that an elderly lady in the neighbourhood, who was particularly fond of myself and my brother, and was rehallly like a godmother to our whole family, had passed away few days back. She said this casually, and without any sense of urgency, along with news of everything else that had happened in my hometown since my last visit. She didn't feel it necessary to inform me immediately of the demise, for indeed it was not a spectacular event at all. An old lady in her eighties passing away in her sleep. Just like that. But that was the end of a whole lot of things for me.
We used to call her as "sarammoomma". In fact, everybody who ever knew her that I know of, called her by that name. That was all there was that was needed. The name "sarammoomma". In that way I never got to know her real name when I was a kid, and I never learned it later on. "ammoomma" means an old lady or a grandmother, "sar" for 'sir' because she used to be the one people would take their children to, to have their first schooling, or to ward off evil luck. The people believed she had a goodness in her that could ward off evil luck, and sending their children to her, they believed, made the best investment for their children's character.
That was the snapping up of an umbilical link to a childhood I now realize is never going to come back. And when I say that, I mean not just for me.
I realize its a childhood that my children would only be able to guess at.
I dont think we would ever again have a simple, uneducated old lady who, by sheer force of her goodness, would have the love and respect of one and all. Or that people, without caring about identities, would want their children to learn their first alphabet from her.
Loss of innocence has been one defining trait of moving into adulthood.