by Aishwarya Ganesh
My paternal grandpa was nearly bald. He did, however, have some hair to call his own until his last breath! This vision of my grandpa is etched in my mind to eternity and, that is why, I manage to crackup a smile when my heart weeps without his reciprocation.
“Remember me, as long as this life as a human still cares to remind you” — these words of his echo even today and render tranquility. The chapter of thata-thati* and me stopped being drafted when the relationship transcended beyond corporeal pages. The love, affection and care that is bestowed upon us is irreplaceable and truly defies the life-death continuum.
I am now twenty-one. My grandparents had been around me for two whole decades. I was cosseted beyond limits by the love they showered, their pampering and their pardoning. We used to all eat together, laugh and make merry at the dinner table, solve problems and discuss issues over a crumb of bread, tickle our funny bone while sipping a cup of coffee. The memories are endless, and the joy, the tears that well up are priceless.
From a young age, I remember I was taught how to read time and value it. At a point, I had to leave my grandparents and move to a different city. I recall the short trips they used to make to come to visit us, the gloomy afternoons on the days we exchanged goodbyes at the bus stop and how this parting made us sad but reassured us that the next reunion was not far away. Now, it aches to remember all that and accept that I don’t have them around to annoy anymore, to brush their hair or listen to those 60’s tales. I realized that miracles aren’t rare or supernatural but are molded out of the love and laughter that we share together as a family.
Every day in the morning, the scanty-haired gentleman spent a half hour setting this well-preserved asset that stood like a sail on his head. He pampered his hair till the twenty’s doppelganger in the mirror before him approved the look of the well-aged man. The mischief maker that I was — I religiously disturbed his well-aligned hair and giggled over the sight of him mumbling and combing them all over again. My grandma was an excellent homemaker and she used to go bananas even if one spoon was misplaced in her well-organised kitchen. My mission would be to scatter them around and master the art of fencing with cutlery until I was scolded for good and had to exercise damage control to win the delicious delicacy that she had prepared.
I lost my paternal grandfather when I was in my second year of undergrad studies. I still remember the day the medical reports came home. As my parents and I were perusing through those, my grandfather appeared to be quite concerned. His lungs were honeycombed and the X-Ray was not promising. Like an innocuous child, he asked, “Is everything okay? Do I have time?”
Those words reverberate even today. I wish I knew that he had only one week to see this world and call it his home. At that time, those eyes that questioned, that had wondered what God had planned, were already living in the nostalgic past. With the unfulfilled wish of relishing the sun-rays again, after a week in the ICU, he slept off peacefully.
My paternal grandma cried for a year, craving to be with her husband, as that thread of sixty-two years had suddenly snapped in his absence. How she wished she could scold him again for those extra sweets he consumed, to love him again by making his favorite dish, to dress up in her best and remind him of those sweet twenties when life despite being a struggle was a beauty worth treasuring. I tucked my grandma in bed — she was withering away in my grandpa’s absence — and kissed her goodnight. It was her last embrace. Her eyes rolled up and she bid goodbye to all of us. She once again united with my grandpa and perhaps walks hand-in-hand with him till sunset.
We are taught by Him, to build and grow a family, a family that keeps us sane, a family that gives us courage to face the tempest that life presents before us, to unite and learn to love unconditionally and above all to cuddle up with those memories until we join the bandwagon when our time is ripe. This is a miracle that is literally inexplicable!
To quote the verse of the song, “Remember me” from the anime movie, Coco —
Though I have to say goodbye
Don’t let it make you cry
For ever if I’m far away
I hold you in my heart
I sing a secret song to you
Each night we are apart!”
*grandfather-grandmother in Tamil language
Aishwarya is a student and an ardent writer. She has always enjoyed writing and has been writing from a very young age. She has published her work in ‘Infinithoughts’, a motivational magazine.
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