Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Dearest Mothe Baba

I love you so much...the fact that I won't see you or hear you say beta, amma, appi, raja for the rest of my life hurts me deeply. It feels as if my inside is empty and I am falling into a bottomless pit.
How generous you have been - along with amma... Teaching us that you don't need money to be kind or to be rich in the real sense.

It's sad that you had to suffer so much in your final few days. I only hope the end was peaceful and without pain. Amma and your beloved children were all near you. Was it that even in your final hour you waited for aai and baba to come all the way from US? Did you see them? Did you make sure that amma was with aai when you breathed last?

It will also pain K2 that you never got to hold R. He's your dearest K2's copy and you'd have remembered little K2 running around in Secunderapur.

As I look around, even in my home in this foreign land, there are so many things which connect me to you. Your picture with amma, the geet ramayan songs that you introduced us to, your favorite udid varan which is my favorite too which I won't eat again without missing you.

It will always hurt that your Sahastra Chandra Darshan didn't happen and nor did you ever visit a foreign country. How much you wanted to do that, mothe baba!?

Mothe baba, I will always cherish in my heart the last few words you said to me - you wished us happy Dassera. With your usual enthusiasm and with so much love. The pride in your voice talking to us. I will miss you so much. As I close my eyes I see you waking up at the crack of the dawn (our fail-proof alarm clock for exams), going for a walk, sprawled over newspapers (how you missed reading news or anything in Secunderapur where there were no newspapers and made up by reading every bit of print you could find), reading your favorite books, watching tv with amma, humming your favorite songs, teasing and quarreling with amma, enjoying keli shikran with a slurp, asking for a glass of water with a gesture, cupping your hand and finally going to bed all bundled up in your sweater and a rolled up monkey cap. The way you slept wrapped in a shawl, we could never squeeze into it. I remember the ruby red mole in the middle of your chest, nestled in a bush of white hair. Your pearl ring, yellow sapphire ring and ganapati pendent. Your habit of wearing a towel and seating in vajrasana. Your moped which you rode to Bidar, your Almirah in your room in Secunderapur. Pictures from your childhood- the sweet cherubic boy that you were at your munj or the handsome young man who was the darling of his friends.

I remember the trips to Bidar with you - your DCB bank, the idlis and dosas at the udupi restaurant, the light green pista icecream in the end. The gold spot drink and chips at Zaheerabad. The free rein you and amma gave us of the house and farms at Secunderapur. The cigarette that you quit when I told you just once. The shenga chutney you ate with the well of oil. The basundi we lapped up with the milk you boiled, stirring for hours at the fire. The big steel dabba you lugged back to Hyd and Aurangabad of gulab jamuns which amma cooked with the khoa you painstakingly made. The somwaar angadis at Secunderapur where we bought anything our little hearts wished for. Your love of beans-cutlets which amma made just the way you liked them.

I remember you refusing to wear glasses and reading with squinting eyes instead. You not drinking even a drop of water while eating your meal and then gulping down a big tambya of water. How can I forget the hot water we bathed with? You tended the fires, refilled our gangaal while we bathed.  And the way you bathed - for almost an hour! And how you washed your hands - lathering up to the elbows. Your obsession with stocking up on water - you worked tirelessly so that all of us would have enough water during the hot summer months. Your love of cleanliness was legendary. You continually picked real and imaginary specks of dirt and bits of rubbish pinching your toes. Your clothes were always pristine. Your whites - pure and unblemished. Your sparse possessions always neatly organized. You carefully washed your clothes by hand and then sun dried them for hours. How well you folded the crisp dried dhotis that they hardly needed to be ironed...How event appropriately you dressed, always? And how well put together you appeared? Smart in suits as well as nehru-shirt - dhoti. Your knowledge of music - you were a natural, gifted musician. Nobody taught you, but you played the tabla, harmonium, bulbultarang and basuri. How much you enjoyed good music!

You visited the ADP building with amma, aai, baba - my first workplace. I will never forget the happiness and pride on your face - you and amma were so delighted to see this world where your granddaughter worked. You woke me up for my early morning shifts. You made sure the cab driver who came to pick me up at that early hour was fully awake. Once you even took a jugful of water to him asking him to wash his face.

I was so hopeful you will recover mothe baba - I am crushed. I can't bear to think of dear amma who I spoke to this morning. She told me she spent 60 years with you and you have left her alone. How will she be herself again? How I wish I could post this to an address where you would read it? I really wished you got more time with your great grand kids alongwith amma. I wanted to talk to you some more. I wish I told you again how much I love you and how much you mean to me. As I write this I remember the Diwali we spent together, exactly 10 years ago in Konkan. What magical time it was! What will happen to the Diwali card I sent addressing you and Amma? It was made by S and I am sure you'd have loved it.

I have worn your shirts and pants and you have worn my t shirt - I even used your lemon cream shirt as my engineering college uniform. :) How I loved freeting you with a huge bear hug, rubbing your shiny bald head and then panting a huge kiss on your cheek?

With you goes the most beautiful part of my childhood - Secunderapur, amma, aai, baba, K2, K3 and I - none of us will be the same again. I dont want to know if there's heaven anywhere. You and amma have give us our share of heaven right here - our time with you in Secunderapur was nothing short of paradise. Your love for Secunderapur, the home of your forefathers was absolute and unwavering, right till the end. And so was your love of us.

Nobody knows what happens after death. I hope there is something beyond these realms of life and death where I can see you again. With the same smile and the serene content look that you wore when aai saw you for the last time.

I wish you and amma had paid attention to your health. That remains my only complain to you. I hope those of us around amma take care of her.

I can go on and on. I hope I will. Holding on to little bits of memory and trying to make up the whole you.There are so many memories of us together. They will now haunt us, tug at our hearts, make us smile and bring tears. They will always remind us of the sweet, doting grandfather you have been. But they will merely capture the whiff of you mothe baba, won't they?

You will always be in my heart, in my memories and S's wide smile.

Your loving granddaughter,

1 comment:

Kiran Mali said...

I never met or had heard of him from you. This reading paints a fairly detailed picture of him. I know what it means to grow up with fatherly figure around at home. Your own father may not get time but it's child's mirror image in future who spends more time. We grow up only to realise the harsh truth of death. We are very off being child. Sandip Khare and Salil Kulkarni puts it aptly

मी पप्पाचा ढापून फोन, फोन केले एकशे दोन!
"हॅलो, हॅलो" बोलतंय्‌ कोण?

"ढगामधून बोलतोय बाप्पा, चल मारू थोड्या गप्पा"

"बाप्पा बोलतोयस, तर मग थांब
सगळ्यात आधी एवढं सांग
कालच होता सांगत पप्पा, तिकडे आलेत आमचे अप्पा
एकतर त्यांना धाडून दे, नाही तर फोन जोडून दे
तुला सांगतो अगदी स्पष्ट, अर्धीच राहिली आमची गोष्ट
त्यांना म्हणाव येऊन जा, गोष्ट पुरी करून जा
म्हणले होते जाऊ भूर्र, एकटेच गेले केवढे दूर!
Detail सगळा सांगतो पत्ता, तिकडे पाठव आमचे अप्पा
बाप्पा.. बाप्पा बोला राव, सांगतो माझं नाव न्‌ गाव"

कसले नाव नि कसले गाव, राँग नंबर लागला राव!