Monday, June 16, 2008

Good bye, Grandad.

Recently, my grandpa passed away. Though I had a great fondness for my mom's dad, and I still kinda miss him, my dad's dad is not that kind of 'lovable' person. For one, he's a strict disciplinarian, and not the kind of person who pets you or anything. But still, when he passed away recently, I felt a strange kind of longing.

Though he has always been the tough-love kind of grandad, the love is quite obvious. I still remember the day when as a kid, I fell into a bucket of boiling water. It's funny now that I think about it, but then I was in a lot of pain. I was wearing a kind of sweater, since it was early morning, and my abdominal skin was in boils and was peeling. My grandad took off the sweater with great care, stripped me naked, and carried me all the way to the nearest hospital in his arms, still in his bedclothes. I still remember the shocked looks people gave me, as I was wailing away on the street as he carried me.

Oh, and I still remember the time when he used to apply skin lotion with a crow's feather when I came down with a bad case of skin infection when I came back from my hostel. But perhaps most importantly, I think the greatest gift he gave me, and my dad of course, is his sense of right and wrong. Apart from one of the first highly educated people of his times in our hometown, he was also a freedom fighter, MLA, and a magistrate. I still hear stories of the revolver he used to carry during the days of freedom struggle. He was instrumental in carrying out an armed surrounding of our hometown, on which the French-controlled govt. surrendered.

Even then, he has been forgiven by the outgoing French govt., and was given an option to become a French citizen recognizing his previous services to the govt., which he promptly turned down. Yes, people were incredulous, because getting French citizenship was like a ticket to prosperity, and he especially, would have profited enormously, because he was an expert in civil procedures. He just continued to be a small time lawyer and notary. I think that kind of idealism certainly flows in his kids, and his grandchildren too.

Of course, he was not perfect, and there are plenty of family stories that would cast him in a negative light. Which I'm not going to concentrate on. He was one hell of a grandpa, and I would like to remember him so, in spite of all his faults. Good bye, granddad. Though I never had the guts to tell you this, I always loved and admired you. You were a great human being, and will not be forgotten in a hurry. Thanks for everything you have given me.

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