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
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
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