‘Vegetable Aunty’

To a lady who inspires me, whose name I don’t know.
‘Vegetable Aunty’ is how I refer to her.

During our first few days in Georgia we realised that the closest place to get vegetables was from the lady who sat inside a public shed, wrapped in god knows how many layers of clothes in the cold wind that made us run from building to building as fast as we could. Every time we went to her to get vegetables she greeted us with the biggest smile she could ever give and though we were so completely confused she taught us the Georgian names of vegetables and numbers. In fact, she’s the first person I learnt Georgian numbers from (At least one and two). She knew no English at all, we knew no Georgian at all and sometimes her husband politely smiled at us. I found this woman very nice and to show my mom who I was talking about so much I asked her (using gestures only) if I could take a picture with her.

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You can see on the picture how there are mittens hanging. I’ve seen her knit them until she had another customer, and when her fingers got too cold to knit any further she lights a fire and warms her hands there. If her husband’s also there, she sits inside the car and does her knitting.

Her life clearly looked difficult. I don’t know how many people would survive in a place like hers. And yet she smiles as if she has everything she needs. And out of love for the two girls from a country that she doesn’t even know, she always secretly put into our vegetable bag a few apples or pears or anything she had for sale for the day. And knowing not even to say Thank You in Georgian without sounding like complete idiots, we offered her smiles in return for the fruits. All the fruits unique to Georgia, she gave them away, making it her own way of making us feel home.

One day in winter I asked her if she could knit a snow hat for me. She made one for me and she charged much much much less that its worth. When I offered to pay its actual value she refused to take it. Here’s a picture of me wearing it:

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What I love about the cap is that she chose the color and design herself and every time I wear it I feel like I’m wearing the love someone decided to place over me.

One day when I was coming home she stopped me and asked a girl with a camera that she was speaking to to take a picture of her with me and my friend. The girl wanted just to take a picture of her with the vegetables but she wanted us to be in it as if we were part of her life that stood behind her in rows of green, red and all the colours vegetables are.

I’m writing this post right after I came home. I had a very bad day and on my way home she stopped me, grabbed a bag and filled it all she could with every vegetable and fruit she had to sell today and forced the bag into my hands. Then she offered me the warmest smile she could and nodded to say she wanted me to take it with me. The bag weighs at least 2kg.

She’s never going to read this but that doesn’t matter. I’m not writing this for her, I’m writing this to whoever stumbles on my blog instead. I want the world to know that she exists. She doesn’t have riches and all the things half the population has, but she has something all of them lack. She has a heart that fixes others. She has biggest heart in all the people in Tbilisi I’ve known in a year. She’s not selfish, she’s never so caught up in her struggles, she’s so full of love that she survives on it. She survives on the fact that as long as she gives the world, the world will reward her. One reason I want to learn Georgian is to speak to her, to tell her that she inspires me, to Thank her for being so welcoming, for smiling at me every time I walked past.. be it five times a day or ten, for making some of my worst days the best by offering me a smile that so many others chose not to.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zeeshan
    Sep 19, 2014 @ 19:44:56

    Wow. This is so wonderful. I’m glad you wrote this and I’m so glad to have read it. She sounds really lovely!

    Reply

  2. theamazingworldofgummies
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 00:04:17

    She sounds so nice. 🙂 I like this. I really like this. And It’s nice of you to write this about her I think. Thanks for making me smile today 🙂

    Reply

  3. Shashini
    Oct 31, 2014 @ 18:15:32

    This is wow. She sounds and looks like a really beautiful woman inside out. ❤ God Bless her. 🙂

    Reply

  4. MissTiffany
    Mar 12, 2015 @ 14:04:08

    I love finding people like this in the world. That is wonderful. Well said.

    Reply

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