Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Remembering Grandpa

                 " His life was gentle and the elements
                   So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up
                   And say to all the world 'This was a man!' "
      It was two years ago that my Grandfather passed away. His passing left a void in our family that is keenly felt by all of us. I was initially hesitant about writing this post because my repertoire, lexical or emotional, is nowhere near extensive enough to give people even a soupcon of insight into the complex being my Grandfather was. But not to write about him, not to remember him would be a worse error. I hope my good intent is enough to sandpaper away the coarseness of this post due to my deficient vocabulary - linguistic and emotional.

         When we (my cousins and I) were children, there were very few people whom we feared or admired more than our Grandfather. He towered like a Colossus above almost everyone in our collective consciousness. He was the rock we held on to when we were frightened, our pillar of strength when we needed him, our safety net who would never let us fall, our hero of whom we were afraid of and in awe of in equal measures.

        My brother and I spent a significant part of our childhood with our Grandparents. I couldn t appreciate it then but now I realise how unbelievably good my grandparents were as guardians. It was only in College that I realised how sheltered I was from the real world. It is a credit to my Grandparents that I never realised that no one was as mollycoddled as I was and that our style of upbringing was the exception not the norm.

         There was an aura of strength about my redoubtable Grandfather; some inexplicable sense of certainty that he exuded which made you turn to him for help. I remember the feeling of safety I had when he was with me, the  borrowed courage I got because I knew he would back me no matter what. My Grandfather had an uncanny ability to walk the precarious tightrope between strict disciplinarian and indulgent Grandfather with remarkable ease. 

       There are a precious few things I would prize over the bedtime anecdotes my Grandfather would dole out quite parsimoniously. We would battle our drooping eyelids with fervour to be able to listen to his exploits as a Railway officer. (Writing about this is making me nostalgic - sigh!!!!  ). Watching my Grandfather with his seven grandchildren surrounding him would soften even the hardest of hearts. My Grandfather was a study in contrasts - he was a hard man who would brook no nonsense from anyone; yet with his grandchildren, he would react with a warmth and gentle tenderness you wouldn t believe he was capable of.

          The quality I admire most about my grandfather was his unhesitant and unwavering loyalty to everyone lucky enough to earn it. He considered family paramount and placed it above everything and everyone else. He protected his brood with the fierceness of a mama bear.I miss his enormous mental fortitude, which helped stiffen my resolve and put some iron in my backbone in moments of insecurity. It truly was the cruelest thing in the world that his final years were spent battling Alzheimer's disease. It was heart-rending to see such a vital and dynamic man brought down by a disease that systematically erodes the very essence of men - their mind, their intelligence, their dignity. I hope medicine progresses rapidly enough to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease very soon. 

        The greatest legacy he left behind was his family. He had a definite set of principles he adhered to, some of those virtuous principles we, his children and grand children, have inherited and made an integral part of our moral framework. You see his stubbornness in us (some call us mule-headed ), you see his familial loyalty ( we fight among ourselves but will never let an outsider treat any of us with the slightest disrespect ) you see his intelligence and charm ( I admit that I may not have inherited these particular genes ), you see his love for life and respect for women and elders.

        The fact that I could keep writing " my Grandfather " with such authority and possessiveness, over and over throughout this post is an enormous privilege and an honour only a select few can truly appreciate.

           We miss you a lot, Grandpa.

1 comment:

  1. Is going green your New Years resolution?? Like the look. BTW Touching article man.