Grandma in my memories

y parents love me and I love them in return. They kept saying I am a pretty grown up lad till I turned age six. But now that I am eight they say I flex my muscles. No, not the physical ones, but the ones that control my brain. May be that is true, but I always have a way about doing things my own way. It was I who said I should have my own bedroom now that I am six. It was me again who demanded my own desktop when I turned eight. My friends at school taught me how to be demanding or else parents hardly have time for us kids. Why I go back and forth from six to eight is that it was the period when I had to readjust my life because I lost my Grandma when I was six. She was my inspiration and she was my first love. I loved to nestle in her bosom. She smelled so fresh and nice that I would lose my conscience for anything else. She had a soft corner for me in that golden heart of hers that used to cheer me up even at the saddest times of my life. Not that I was so frequently sad, but you know the sadness we children get when denied something we are crazy about. It was my Grandma who used to feed me and she was the one who gave me my bath every day when I was a small child. That is what my Mom tells me as she was scared to handle me as a baby considering me a fragile object. Now I can’t forget the tender fingers that smoothed my face when I cried and the gentle rub I got when I was sick or burning with fever. All that she wanted in return was to forward my cheek to her, whereon she would plant that sweet kiss of hers. I haven’t a recollection of any event that ever angered her because of me and I am so very glad about that.

Now you would perhaps ask me about my Grandpa. Well he is someone special and he needs to be talked about with respect. He is gentle, careful, and considerate, and at the same time he is my hero. He has taught me the meaning of living life like a real kid. He gets me into a good mood when I fight with friends. He helps me in my home-work and reads to me from the book. He has taught me all things that I have learnt so far with regards the ways of the world. His insights into things that interest me are so great that I have to accept his authority more than I do from anybody else. He is simple and he is truthful and he is just adorable. He has, however, a shortcoming that I realized much later until I grew up and understood his predicament. He does not know how to handle computers and how to operate it.

I learnt about it when my father bought me a computer and I wanted my Grandpa to help me in understanding the operations of this machine. He gave me that puzzled look when I asked and he must have been very unhappy about his inability to operate the system. I wonder what kept him from learning the computers when this stuff is much older than I and he would have an open access to it. I had to look elsewhere for help and that meant sidelining my Grandpa. But that gave me one big advantage. I stayed a step ahead of him when it came to learning other things that the elders just won’t talk about. This gave me the standard option of keeping my Grandpa under check, meaning I kept him virtually in my pocket. And that is why I love him more and he does not even know why. But I say no offensive words in his presence for he is a strict disciplinarian and I cannot afford to offend him on any account.

My Mom and Dad may at times refuse to give me my pocket allowance but it is my Grandpa who is generous and doles out the goodies that I crave for. It is only that he will always ask for something in return. Mostly it will be that I finish my home work by a stipulated time or that I rush to the local store and get him something that he wants. I see him reading all the time as if he is preparing for his final examinations. The only time he does not want to be disturbed is when he is saying his prayers in the early morning or late evening hours. These times he is unapproachable and I have learnt to respect his desire. My little kid sister has, however, different designs for Grandpa and she will always rush to him for comfort when she is angry with me or her Mom. She will even go to him when he is busy in his prayers and I found out my Grandpa not objecting to her interference. He makes sure that I feel the difference in this kind of a treatment to her. My sister was only a small baby when my Grandma passed away and she carries no memories of her and may be that is why she receives this special attention from Grandpa.

It is on many occasions that I have noticed my Grandpa shed a few silent tears when he is looking at Grandma’s pictures, that he often does, or there is some special mention of her in the family on festival occasions or family get-togethers. I understand how much he loved her and the care he took when she was ill just before she passed away. This action on his part moves me to tears as well and I sit silently by his side holding his hand and then he looks at me and gives me that wonderful smile. He will look at my report card from school and feel satisfied that my learning process is going well. He is after all my teacher and he gets me to do all the home work that I bring home from school. And when he can’t solve a tricky problem I take him to my desktop and teach him how to get a solution. It is at these times I feel a fatherly affection for him.

It was on such a routine day one summer morning when I got up a bit earlier than usual and started preparing for school. My toilet functions over I headed straight to the “puja” room to have a look at Grandpa expecting him to be busy with his ritual chores. What I found instead was his slumped figure with his head acutely bent on the floor of the temple giving a twist to his appearance. I moved forward and found him not responding to calls. I rushed in panic to alert my dad and in a short while the whole house was alive to a situation of emergency. Dad rushed Grandpa to the hospital with the help of our neighbor and I decided against going to school. I had wanted to go along but dad prevented me saying that kids are not allowed in the hospital emergency. It appeared time had stopped to go by as the wait got longer and even longer. Dad called mom in the afternoon from the hospital and said Grandpa may need surgery. It was only around late evening when I saw my dad come back home with his head bent down in agony and I sensed trouble. When asked he looked at my face and gave me a faint smile. I soon learnt that Grandpa had undergone heart surgery as his arteries were found blocked. During the whole day I had prayed at his temple and fervently asked his God to heal him of all his ailments and restore his health. It was in an answer to my prayers that the surgery was successful and the patient recovering well. There would still be sometime before I was allowed to go near him. A week later Grandpa returned home and life for me was back to normal. He looked pale and fragile but there was that winning smile on his face that told me God was kind to save Grandpa who almost slipped out of my pocket.
Shri BL Dhar was born and brought up at Srinagar. After completing his Master’s Degree in Mathematics he ventured out of the state and found a job in the Civil Aviation Department joining as a Gazetted Officer. His area of activity was at Delhi and Mumbai International airports. He was selected to undergo training at the school of aviation; Luxembourg under the UNDP program and later posted at the Corporate Headquarters in New Delhi. He had in the meantime joined the newly formed PSU, Airports Authority of India, from where he retired as a General Manager in 2000. He has written innumerable articles about aviation that was published in the house magazine. He is now settled in Delhi and keeps his interest alive in writing..
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Lovely. A little touching of course. Great story. Anil.
Added By Anil Dhar