My Grandfather!

Posted on March 31, 2013
Location: London
My Grandfather!

Guuud ddai!

Taking a break from studies today. Managed to finish all three study books, of three papers, I am appearing this semester. Break to banta hai! (I deserve a break.). I'll start with audio visuals tomorrow.

Promises are made to be broken. And attachments are made to be detached? Age old theories, still we interfere with them knowing the outcome. We promise and we get attached, yet again. And if we run away from attachments, we can’t experience things in our life, which are over and above any experience.

It must have been towards end of my engineering studies. He fell off from the 2nd floor of the building, while plucking flower early in the morning for the temple. He was injured and he was brought to the city, where we all lived (Bhubaneswar). I was told, whoever paid him a visit, looked more tender than the person who himself suffered the injury himself. He was laughing away at the sad faces of the visiting people, saying: did you think I died? – Not so easily. When I came back from the Uni, saw him sitting on the bed with conviction on his face and people sitting around him actually looking very sad. It appeared as if he was consoling them saying “Don’t worry I am fine. These sorts of things do happen”. And he must have lived 75+ years of life by then. But the moment he saw me, he lost his conviction and broke down in my arms like a baby. I saw him with tears for the first time. I think he was controlling his pain bravely till that time. Sweet! It was emotional. I am still keeping that yellow Van Heusen shirt (I was wearing that day), stained with a bit of blood from his fresh injury. Everyone in my family says: he loved me the most. And I say, his love for me is the only purest thing, I have ever experienced in my life till date.

He had this habit of having a drink in the evening, every evening. I was told during his young days, he used to suffer from severe Asthma. It was so bad that someone suggested him to try a whiskey for relief and he tried. He continued with the habit since then. Together with it, he had many good habits, Punctuality for example: waking up at 5am, bath 7am, breakfast 8am, lunch 12pm, dinner 7pm, bed at 8pm for all his life!. I never found him indulgent with food: same quantity, same type of food he ate everyday – no wonder until his end (83 years), he didn’t have a single illness (not even cold), never went to doctors, and never went to hospitals in his life. His dinner consisted of two chapattis, mixed vegetable and a poached egg, every single evening – what an achievement & what a principled life! And what a death – only lucky people are granted such death. He was resting on the bed as usual after his lunch. And thirty minutes later, when my grandmother tried to wake him up, he was no more. He was gone, peacefully, without any pain, without a suffering. He was my Grandfather, my role model, my love, my being, my life and my inspiration.

Someone told me, there were beggars arrived from distant places and cried loudly, after his sad demise. They said they lost their father figure. Because no matter whatever time they came – they had one house they knew will always have food for them. There were instances, where he would give away his own food to beggars, if they came at the same time as he was having his lunch.

Something about his personality! He chaired every meeting in the community/neighborhood till his end. Politicians choose to pay him a visit, as an alternative to reaching out every single person in the community. Poor people saw him as their only confidant. He was the living example of justice, courage and charity.

I recall – two years ago, I was going to the place, where my grandfather lived (50kms from Bhubaneswar, where my parents live at the moment). Place is far from the city life, crowd, noise – quite a slow paced place. We parked in front of a sweet shop, to buy some sweets for the local people in the vicinity. The shop-keeper didn’t pay much attention initially. But then I started buying packet after packets, a total of 10 packets of sweets, containing 20 Rasgoolas in each. That was the end of all sweets in his shop. The shopkeeper was smiling. Now he wanted to be social with me. The man must be in his early fifties. Asked me, where you going sir? I told him the name of the village, my grandfather used to live. Then he asked me whose house I was going – I told him my grandfather’s name. The shop was far off from my grand-father’s house (At least 5-6 miles). He appeared quiet after hearing my grandfather’s name. I asked what happened, did you know him? He had eyeful of tears. He said, “Who does not know him? In fact my father knew him well. We were very poor and your grandfather had donated a lantern to my father, which we used for our studies in the childhood”. And he was reluctant to take any money from me for the sweets. But I had to force him to keep the money. But that to me is real achievement – to be able to live a life, where people talk such good things, even after your end.

Our whole family benefited from his goodwill/reputation. I used to eat with him every day, when I lived with him in my childhood. He used come to the school to pick me up during lunch time. If he arrived few minutes before the scheduled lunch break at school, head teacher ordered the break before scheduled time, out of respect for him. I definitely felt privileged, as his grandson.

Every time I returned to India from USA, from Australia, From Singapore, From Middle-east, from UK – I always carried a really nice bottle of Whiskey for him. Unfortunately I could not give it to him. I was very young and shy. I was thinking; if he didn’t drink in front of me, how can I present him a bottle of whiskey? I was scared thinking, what if my parents found out about it – they will be cross with me forever. What if those Whiskeys made him sick, how would I be able to forgive myself? What if my uncles found out about it – they will kill me! And it might look disrespectful as well, offering your grandfather a bottle of whiskey. All these; kept confusing my mind and I could not present him any of these bottles. I didn’t tell anyone about it as well. These bottles kept increasing in numbers under my bed in India. Last time, I counted them all – they were 22 in number, best breed whiskeys from different parts of the world. But I will not open them - NEVER. Their presence keeps my memory alive – memory of someone who completes my life so beautifully, my grandfather (Baa)!

They say – hell is exactly opposite to heaven. I am sure my grandfather must be living somewhere in the heaven right now. I have not completed my life yet, hence can’t be sure where I will end up. But it should be a walk-able distance between hell and heaven, I’d imagine. I will try to find him, one day – give him a big hug, which I shied away from doing when he was alive and I was young. I’ll tell him how much I loved him, missed him every single day of my life till today and present him all the 22 bottles of whiskeys. Now that I am 18+, officially I can have a drink with him as well – Cheers!

May you all have all the courage and strength; to express your feelings for your angle, in time, before it’s too late. Inside of all of us there is the need and the desire to hear and to be heard. To have our innermost thoughts, feelings and desires expressed for others to hear is one of the most rewarding experiences in our life. So, please experience it. Promise me, you will. Please – Please – Please.

Gute Nacht, Bonne nuit & Subh Ratri!

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