Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 311/366

One can often try and be dishonest with themselves to make themselves believe that a reality wasn't as it seemed to be. While most people try and avoid reality by escaping into their dreams, a time comes when you just struggle to escape back and step into reality to feel grounded.

When I lost my maternal and paternal grandfathers in a short span of 8 months, I felt just like that-facing a struggle with myself to try and make it all go away, like it never happened. But it did. And while I was glad that they were in a better place where their sufferings would end, I couldn't help but feel the loss of familiarity when it happened.

In December, 2009, I was back home in Kolkata to do my internship and loving the time away from the never-ending flow of college assignment submissions and tests. But without anyone anticipating it, my paternal grandfather fell very ill. We rushed him to the hospital, a place where I cannot stand the smell of hope that is taken away from families of patients there. We were there all day and we knew that it was just a matter of hours. That night, he breathed his last. The tears made me feel vulnerable, but I let them flow out to let him know that he would be missed. After all, he was the one who told us about the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, bought us firecrackers on Diwali, and took us to the Book Fair at the Maidan as kids...

I remember falling very ill after he passed away, probably because of weakness because of the tears. After I recovered, I went back to college, and life resumed it usual pace, complete with a new set of notes on a whole new bunch of subject with an even bigger workload of assignments.

When I was away from home, the only means of communication would be the phone calls. Every Sunday, I'd talk to both my grandmothers at some time in the day and update them on my lives and vice versa. When I would call up my maternal grandmother, she would often give the phone to Nanaji, who would ask me the same set of questions each time, almost always in the exact same manner. He would call me 'Chotu' and ask me about my health, how the food was where I was staying, and if I was eating enough. He would also ask me if I wanted anything from home that he could have sent across and I would always politely say 'No', and he would give the phone back to Nanima and then they would hang up on me. I never did get bored of answering the same questions nor did it fail to make me smile.

I will always remember him in his white kurta and dhoti with an olden days' hat on. I will always recall him calling the 'maali' up from the garden and telling him to pluck out star-fruit and baby tomatoes and get it for me. I will always remember his love for old Hindi movies that came on Television, though he would often sleep off while watching it. This only amused me and made me love him more.

When my mother called me and told me that he had gone to a better place, I cried inconsolably. It was bad enough that I couldn't be with family members at that moment. What was worse was that because of something as trivial as college attendance, I could not fly down to be home to console my grandmother, to hold my mother's hand, or to be consoled myself. I went to the temple near my house and prayed for his soul to rest in peace and performed the rites that I could despite the distance. Even though people said that as long as I remembered the good memories, he would be happy and know that I loved him, it was the worst feeling to be away.

Both these incidents have made me see life in a different live. We have to live while we're alive and do all it takes to be remembered for the right reasons...We don't know what is God's plans but we are not immortal. Old age will come and to age beautifully should be a living dream.

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