'What will you do when I wont be there around?', he used to ask me, his wrinkled face enlightened with everlasting smile and his eyes overflowing with fondness. I just smiled at him, and ignored the comment all the time. I still remember those days when i used to get horrible mirgrane attacks, and he would quitely come into my room, shut the curtains, shut the door and leave a glass of fresh juice on the table for me to drink. Those days when our bai wouldnt turn up, in the afternoons i would find him washing vessles as quietly as he could, so that in the evening when mom returns from office tired and weary, she doesnt have to burden herself with all the work. And yes, how can i forget all those times when he went to buy vegetables, went to bank to do dad's work, gave him a glass of water whenever he felt tired.
Well, anyone who'd read this would think something else.. i dread what. but the person i am talking about, was my 89 year old grandfather.. a few days back he passed away. He has four sons. yet he stayed with us for around 25 years post dad's marriage. At times i used to think, why only us! i missed private space at home. And that apart, he was the oldest in the family and that invited hoardes of guests at home every single day. At times i used to envy the 'family of 4' life. today, i think that's one thing i regret and feel most ashamed thinking of. Today his loss hurts me like hot iron. Every corner of this house reminds me of him every single moment. And more importantly the fact that ive lost the shelter of an elderly hand above my head. it's scary. He was the most independent senior citizen at the age of 90. WE never gave him a glass of water. but ample of times, he served us food. We never listened to him, but he always heard us without us telling him a word. We ignored him at our convinience, but he remembered us even in all his inconvinient times (including his last 2 days at the hospital)... it's paining to relive memories of that selfless face, that existed in our home for last 25 years, that face that lived for us, with us, thru us... that face we realized, was god-sent. was god.
grandpa never wanted to go in for a minor operation he was advised for. 'at the age of 90? what operation?' he chipped in as his sons debated where to admit him. he was hale n hearty. just a pacemaker in his heart was a bit disfunctioning. baki no diabetes, no bp, no walking stick, infact, dont be shocked if i tell u he climbed 5 floors of our house just recently when the elevator wasnt working. reluctantly he agreed to go in for the operation. we assured him its just a 5 min thing. what did we know he'd never come back. i think he knew it tho. before leaving the house he specifically asked me not to yell at my lil sis and ask dad also to not yell at her.. i laughed it off that time. me and dad said we'd restrain till dada gets back. but dada's so partial to my sis. he never came back. i remember going to meet him at the hospital, his sunken face beneath the oxygen mask scared me to bits. shit! he was at home just a day back laughing and walking! SHIT! i couldnt look into those loving eyes anymore.. he kept telling me 'thank you for coming here. i am fine. dont worry.' shit! i managed a smile and left immediately. i was shaken. he kept asking for me, but i never went thereafter. the next day he passed away.. so sudden.. i still cant believe he's no more.. any moment he'll come into my room and give me eclairs.. any moment he'll come from outside holding bag full of sabzis.. any moment now..
and we thought we were doing a great thing by letting him live with us.. now we realize, it wasnt us, it was HE, who took care of all of us.. miss you a lot granpa.. you are my god.