I loved my Grandma beyond anything.
She was an amazing woman and her life was full of incredible stories, and she enjoyed telling them.
She was in her 80-ies when I got hold of a camera, and it was then that I started to record our conversations, but mostly it was her telling her own stories.
I was not yet aiming anything then. I would go to see her nearly every Sunday and I would take my camera along.
There were more and more hours of stories that I recorded without ever being watched, or edited. In the summer of 2011, at the age of 93 she passed away. Only then, mostly to ease our pain we (me and my father) started to watch those videos. And then, instead of arraigning a usual funeral, we decided to invite her remaining friends and family to her house and showed them an edited version of these films.
People arriving at the doorstep with eyes full of tears and hearts burdened with sorrow but eventually their sorrow slowly started to change. Minute by minute you could hear the sobbing stopped. Their face got uplifted; even smiles could be detected on their faces again, because they could SEE my Granny, and they could LISTEN to her just as they used to do in her life. She was talking to us all, as real as ever. She was right there with us. And she will stay here with us forever.
Ever since this happened, whenever I miss her too much I put on one of those videos, and for a few hours I can be with my grandmother again and be her granddaughter once more.
Of course not everyone is as talkative as was my Grandma, but as I am a professionally trained interviewer, questioning and talking to people who are in the beginning may possibly not be so keen on talking, I know that I would bring out their best with my structured format carefully using my skills.
I have observed several times, that often it is easier to talk to a stranger than to a close relative about the most intimate issues. Long kept secrets can get revealed, unspoken words would be talked out loud, which might have changed our whole life, had they been said earlier…. We can go down as deep as this, if we have enough time to dip.
Sometimes we do not realize at all, that our lives are a repetition of the lives of our ancestors. Subconsciously we seem to follow their habits, continue their fights and face their challenges. If we ever choose to enter any paths of self-recognition it may be wise to spend some time on our own family at first. Sooner or later we will get there anyways.
Amrita Sher-Gil was a genius female painter, with an unbelievable life-story. All Hungarian and Indian women should be proud of her, as she was one of us.
The story begins as a fairy tale in the early years of the 20th century. The beautiful and talented Hungarian upper-middle class woman meets the Sikh aristocrat man in England. They fell in love and get married. They come to live in Hungary and have two children. Both girls look after their fathers…