Last few weeks have been emotionally challenging for me..my entire family. My grandpa, mom’s father passed away 3 weeks ago. His health suddenly deteriorated. He was 84 and I knew he was growing weak. But while I was away at my mom’s place for my maternity, I hoped that I would return in time to show him my son; he eagerly longed to see my son. My grandma says, “More than seeing your son, he wanted to see how you play and entertain your child”. I have always been this crazy kinda grandchild, acting silly around my grandparents (that’s how you are); so to see me as parent is what he wanted to see! I am glad I have mentioned him at least once on my blog – funny incident. A few things to remember and mention about my grandfather!
A super duper movie buff, crazy for food, an endless gambler and a person with a huge heart to treat everyone each day- motto was ‘to enjoy life’. He always said that to my husband too, “Raj! We should enjoy life; what is the point of saving money if you don’t spend it to be happy”. Through my childhood he has been the first person who has introduced us to movies, theaters! I still remember watching my first movie with him Tezaab! In his younger days he was friends with the one and only Kannada superstar Rajkumar. We have photos of him on the set with the filmstars! So much so that I learnt that my mom and an aunt have actually worked in one of the films those times…a small birthday party scene! He’d watch every single hindi movie running in the theaters; Bond movies! I remember in recent years he had watched hindi movie Murder and he once said to me “Shilpa, I watched Murder. Excellent music”. Now we all what exactly that movie got famous for, so I went on teasing him, “Tata, we know what the movie is like” and I continued teasing telling my grandma “you need to check what movies he is watching out there”. In recent times he hasn’t been watching movies, I think the genre now a days are different from his times. He belonged to the Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar age of melodious songs and clean movies. His all time favorite movie has been Padosan and I think he might have watched it a zillion times!
Till his last days he never gave up on smacky, street food, non-veg; everything that the doctor said to avoid, he’d go and eat the same stuff. Another trait of his was, to eat something compulsorily when you are out. No matter how many people he has with him, he will make sure he treats everyone to some snack! Bill was always paid by him! About a year ago, my grandma was hospitalized and we all were visiting her. My husband and my two cousins were also there with me. After the visit, my grandpa gave me 500/- and said you guys go eat some snack. My husband was in awe to see him handing so much money just for some evening snack! To this date my husband says “You are so lucky to have such a grandfather.”
His routine since he retired had been visiting his friends at club every day, play some card games and return back home. I don’t know since when he has been into gambling, but we all know that whenever he’d visit Mysore, he would go to the race course and bet some money on the horses at the race. In fact, on his 3rd day ceremony we placed a pack of cards next to his photo. My uncle said we should also place a horse; that would make his soul happy!
A final confession I have to make; in 2011 when I lived with him I had some small argument and I had stopped talking to him. Almost for a month or two! I heard from other relatives including my mom that he’d weep and tell, ‘Shilpa, my grand daughter doesn’t talk to me anymore’. In subsequent weeks, I got back to talking to him, just as I always was with him. Now after he passed away and the fact that I didn’t get to see him before his funeral; I have this deep regret that may be I have been punished for my behavior in 2011, that I didn’t get the chance to even see him one last time!
If I have to celebrate his life, all I have to do is “watch a movie, preferably Padosan, eat some yummy junk food and may be go place a bet at some horse race or play a card game”.
A quote I read in TOI the other day, “Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” For me, I just feel like I haven’t met my grandpa in a long time, I don’t know when I will see him, but he is around here somewhere.
Sorry Tata, I wish I could have reached a week before and met you one last time. I will always miss your absence when I visit Grandma! Rest in peace Tata!