Before I was born, two botched surgeries had already stolen from my grandfather the use of one eye and one ear. It was a lot to take from a man who loves the world as much as he does. Still, when I was born in 1987, soon after he had retired from a fulfilling career in pharmaceutical marketing, he began to sketch me, his first grandchild. By the time I knew him, Ajja was already an artist. My grandmother was his biggest fan and his best critic. She made up for the eye and ear he had lost, both in his art and in his world. When she died in 2005, I wondered how he would go on without her. But then he began to sketch her and I knew he would be alright because Ammama would always be with him in his heart, in his art. This weekend Ajja won first prize at the Kanara Saraswat Association’s Art Show. What a wonderful moment. Ammama would have been happiest of all.

Indus Chadha believes we cannot exist or be understood without stories and spends much of her time reading, writing or listening to her five-year-old daughter, Amara, tell them. She earned a BA from Smith College with a major in the Study of Women and Gender and a minor in English Language and Literature and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Arts at Columbia University.

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