Granny. Her sisters. Her nephew and her daughter - my aunt - at the extreme right. Tellicherry. 1950s.

family portrait
By this time my uncle and his mother had been living in Pondicherry for awhile. This picture was probably taken on one of their visits to Tellicherry. There's a set of pictures from the same day including one with Dad and his cousin. All taken at the same photo studio.

Granny grew up in a large family with several brothers and sisters. When I met the sisters in my childhood, they were all grannies. All dressed in white. As a kid, I associated white with grannyhood. It was only later I understood that the white signified widowhood. I had actually never met their husbands; all of them having died pretty young.

At the time this picture was taken, granny and her younger sister were both widowed. Granny being the first, then the sister. Then her other sisters one after the other. Until every sister in this picture would dress in white. The plain white sari for every day of the rest of their lives.

Going through the albums, that struck me - as the years go by, another white is added to the group photo.