Dearest Thaatha (Grandpa),
I am sure wherever you are, you are definitely doing good in all afterlives. It’s two decades since we lost you to Mouth Cancer. I have seen you at your best and worst times. I didn’t know much about your sickness while you lived, but learnt and heard a lot about it after your death. Missing a person makes us hold on to even the tiniest details about them.
When Appa called me to remind me of your death anniversary, I had to stop and ask him again. No, don’t think I have become busy to forget it. I just had this usual confusion of it being on April 16, I don’t really know why I do this. I know you think it was better I forgot it. I really wish it had not happened so early after all, so let at least this minor confusion occupy my mind.
Aren’t you the best grandparent I ever had? Ammama is great, but got to know more of her only after you passed away. There’s so much I miss about you. Actually, I miss everything about you. All the times together, how much time you’ve sincerely spent with me is valuable to me now. All those times you kept me engaged in the pre-phone era makes me wonder how short tempered I am now.
I am thinking about how you sneaked into the kitchen to get us small portions of atta to make pooris in the kitchen set you customised just for us. I still remember how ammama and you bought this small kadai to make our pooris. You lighted camphor and kept the mud stove so we really cooked. You made sure we used it only when you were around. I dare not touch any of that without you. How many times Karthi and I have troubled you to drink our version of hot water as almost every food. Patience was the key, I understand it just now, as I write this.
I know you would agree I was lesser evil. Karthi just brought the roof down. I still remember how she used to literally lie down on the road and cry when you denied her chocolates. I have not seen you scold her even for that. Probably you must have done that a lot within you or maybe you just enjoyed her tantrums. Though Karthi got to spend lesser time than me, I am sure she would agree with me that you were the best we had. You took care of us and respected us for just being us. Mom gave me a pen that you gifted for my 10th exams. That’s the one I used in my 10th. And yes, if not for Karthi, I would have saved it even now. Yes, she broke it in the name of writing with it. Anyway, we know that’s exactly what she does. That’s how she broke the pen Ammu aunty gave me too. She hasn’t changed much on that front, luckily now she just keeps to breaking her own things. Well, I don’t lend her things that are important to me and there isn’t much now anyway.
Every time you came to drop us back at home, you stitched beautifully for us, you worked on the watches for hours in silence, you took me for your morning walks with your friends and let me play in the ground while you spent time with your friends. You kept us engaged at home, you let us play with neighbors and resolved all our tiffs without being partial, you read out stories to me, you saved some of the best books for me. I still wish I had saved the cassette you carefully recorded for us. I used to listen to it all the time during summer holidays. I miss the cassette player. You taught me to play cards, but I would always lose. You told me to focus on how to play and not just on losing the game.
Thaatha, you once scolded me for not concentrating on my reading. You told amma that my mind is scattered and always wandering. When you told that in front of me, I really thought you didn’t like me. It took me years to understand what you said was true and it took me a great deal to focus. Trust me, I am still working on it on many areas, but if not for you then, I would have noticed my own signs pretty late. I am forever thankful to you for that. I was lucky to work on it from my school days, even though I felt hurt then, today I am feeling blessed to have started it way back in time. Still, I have so much to conquer on focus, but I am glad where I am today.
I miss you thaatha. I have a little one now and I am glad that I have Ammama for her. The love Ammama shows for Ilakkiya is pure and unconditional, something I can’t really show to my own kid unless she is fast asleep. Ammama is our blessing, even with all the flaws of old age. She is the great-grandmother I want Ilakkiya to remember forever. Ilakkiya did not get a chance to see you or her paternal great-grandparents. Ammama is fondly called as Aaya by her and she manages to tell her name too, Saroji (aroji).
I have so much to write about you, but I have saved something we found while clearing the house. Amma is clearly an artist and she took it from you and Karthi follows Amma. I can’t even draw a straight line and your art piece is something I hold close to my heart now. It warms my heart whenever I feel lonely or sad and I know I have a guardian angel watching over me and will guide me at all times. I am not sharing the art pieces now, instead I am sharing a lovely photo here.
I miss you, thaatha. I know I will forever. ?