There comes a time in life, when you miss your childhood and the love you had from your grandparents.
Today, I consider myself an emotionally strong person as I don’t get tears easily. I was never like this. In fact, I strongly believe that every rude personality is carrying a story. People come and go. And, you don’t care about everyone, but someone special; someone who holds an irreplaceable place. I am of 38 now and honestly, I don’t miss anyone much, but my grandfather.
Its’ been 20 years (14 July 1996) since he physically left me alone. However, psychologically and emotionally, he is always available for me. His teachings and lessons are still enlightening my way.
Even today, I go for a morning walk at the same place (earlier it was fruit nursery, but nowadays, it’s a community park) where I used to go with my grandfather during my summer vacations, holding his index finger.
Nowadays, I go there by car because that place is 10 K.M away from my current residence. And, now I don’t have my grandfather’s index finger. But, I always feel him around me.
While walking down on the same pavements, I feel no shame in picking those Indian blackberries from the road. When I was in my kindergartens, picking up the finest blackberries from the grass, washing them, and offering me to eat, was his daily routine. It was my grandfather behind my special love for these Jamuns.
Have you ever imagined, why do most of us cry in the name of going to school, but not to college.
I don’t feel the same joy in my own car that I had on the bicycle. Grandpa had a fixed seat for me on his bicycle; a small seat on the crossbar of his cycle. Every Sunday, was a ride day. I was a fan of sweetened anise (saunf) and cream biscuits. These two things were my rewards for good performance.
During my childhood, I was not a child with good health. This was the reason, my parents, who were not living in the same town, left me with my grandparents. And, for twelve years, I lived with my grandparents. Perhaps, this is the reason, why my siblings are not much in love with me.
On my grandfather’s retirement, he was told to vacate the house, as he was living in government apartment. That was the time when I was shifted to my parents’ house and my grandfather moved back to the village.
But, my brother and sister, never accepted me. It was not their fault. I think, it is hard to share something with a person you barely knows. That is what happened with my brother and sister.
For fourteen years, I was nobody to them. How on earth, they were supposed to accept me? I realized, my parents made a lot of changes, so that they can adjust me in the same space.
I was suffering from two immediate pains; first was separation from my grandpa and second was adjusting myself with my newly discovered siblings.
Every evening, my favorite spot in my new house was balcony, which was facing the main road. I used to spend hours in a consistent hunt for my grandfather.
In summers, I used to sleep in the courtyard under the open sky. Whole night, I used to pray to God for sending me back to my grandfather. But, my grandfather never visited.
Then, the day came.
After two years of separation, my grandfather actually visited me at my school. I was so happy. “Where were you? Why did you never came to me to my new house?” I quoted a lot of questions immediately.
But, after learning the reality, I was deeply hurt. My grandfather was told to not to visit me because I was not concentrating on studies and health.
“I cannot visit you anymore. I am not allowed to. You grow up soon and visit me before I leave this world.”
I was in my seventh standard that time; I was not mentally developed to understand whatever he told me.
After that meeting, he moved to village. It was not that my parents were not taking care of him, but moving to village was his wish.
My parents used to visit him twice a month with my younger brother. But, despite my countless requests, they never took me to see him. The fact was – they were trying to break the relationship bond that I was sharing with my grandfather so that I can accept others. But, they were gravely mistaken; instead of breaking the bond between me and my granddad, they made me not to fall in love them.
Every single day, my love for my grandfather was getting deeper.
Then, came the day; the most waited day. A peon was sent to my class; someone was at reception to see me. I thought, it was my grandfather, but it was my father. My father told me about my grandfather’s sickness and his willingness to see me.
I was in a dilemma; should I feel happy that I am going to see my grandfather after such a long time or should I feel sad that my grandfather was not well. I was going to see my grandpa after 5 years.
Well! We reached grandfather’s place. He was lying on a chorpoy (weaved bed). I saw, he was surrounded by many people. I was scared.
“Your grandson is here.” My uncle shouted. I was asked to go closer.
The moment, I reached closer, I saw a weak man. I still remember the joy in his eye on seeing me. He holds my hand and kissed me on the forehead. In my ears, he whispered, “now, I am happy to go.” I was completely broken and for me, it was the moment, when I cried last.
I served him lunch; Indian Daal. I made him sip it with a spoon. After a few spoons, he smiled at me and said, “I am done; thank you.” He put his hand under the pillow and asked me to open my hand. He offered me my favorite, “Jamuns.”
He, then asked everybody else, to leave us alone. It was me and my grandfather only. We talked a lot about the golden time we spent together. My grandfather told me that now he is feeling fine.
Finally, in the evening, my father came to me. “Let us go home. We cannot miss your school tomorrow.” With a heavy heart, I waved goodbye. And, I remember, my grandfather was smiling.
Next morning, again, my father was at my school. I was happy. I was thinking, I have another chance to see my grandfather. But, this time – my father told me that, “my grandfather died last night and I need you to accompany me to his last rituals.” I was shocked. But, I refused this time.
“I don’t want to go.” My father emphasized. “You are not going to see him anymore. Today is your last chance.” But, I refused.
I was having my own reasons for not seeing him at his last rituals. I was not ready to accept the fact that he is no more.
He was the last person, I had an emotional attachment with. And, even today, I eat Jamuns.
Every time I feel low, I read the letter that my grandfather wrote a day before his death, for me.
“Dear grandson! Please do not hate anyone in life. Everything happens for a reason. And, for every bad thing, you do to others, you got to pay the price. Try to be as strong as you can.”