It has been three years and six months since I last heard the sounds of India. The busy streets were full of honking vehicles, cows, and barking street dogs. But what I remember and miss the most is my grandmother, Gita.  My Ammamma!

We arrived at my aunt’s home early in the morning, and my grandmother greeted us at the gate. She had hot idlis ready for me to eat. Her cozy room was warm and welcoming, and full of interesting sewing supplies like thread, buttons and lace. They were fun to play with. She always had some gifts for me and they were usually her creation. She loves to sew beautiful and useful things.

Covid-19 made it difficult for many families like mine who have loved ones living far away. It is especially hard during summer months when most of us would have traveled to visit aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Of course we have Facetime, Whatsapp video and Google chat. But it isn’t the same as being there with them. I miss my time in India a lot!

Illustration by Anokhi Kaushik.

Recently, my grandmother tested positive for Covid-19. She had been so careful, wearing masks, sanitizing, and hardly going out. But still, she got sick. I was very scared for her even though Mom told me she would be fine. We hear so many sad stories these days. She had fevers and chills, coughed terribly, and couldn’t get out of bed. And, she had to isolate herself for two weeks. After the third day, we called her and were surprised to see her seated in front of her sewing machine. She had had enough rest, she said. It was time to start creating again.

Illustration by Anokhi Kaushik.

The rest of the quarantine period, she sewed so many different things. Ammamma made bags, quilts, bed covers, and purses, and almost 1,000 cloth masks that were sold to raise money for causes. She used her passion and managed to deal with the loneliness of her Covid-19 isolation.

Watching her has taught me that I must find my passion, and do what I love best to help myself by helping others in need. I can’t wait to go to India this summer. My grandma has a few surprises waiting for me. And maybe, she will teach me how to sew like her.

Anokhi Kaushik is the author and illustrator of this story. She is 10 years old and is a 4th grader at Challenger school (Ardenwood campus). Her passions are playing the piano and violin, reading books,...