Part of us today is only a reflection of our past. Behind every developed adult personality are influences of certain individuals who have fundamentally added to our principles and values, and in the process, have added an immortal chapter to our lives.
This post is a tribute to one of such intrinsic chapters of my life- that make me what I am today. This post is about my grandfather. He taught me to be compassionate, he taught me to be persistent towards my goals. He taught me to be strong, and over the years he taught me to rely on myself.
When it comes to him, my recollections are as vivid today, as it was 20 years back. It might sound surprising, but when you are able to reminisce something with so much clarity- you should know, this is the phase of your life, when you were impressionable- and when you could retain thoughts and ideas with passion and without stale judgment.
My memories of him circle around his memories. He effortlessly passed on his childhood memories to me, and I made them my very own. Stunning visuals and extravagant imagery of Pre-independence India- - the majestic villa with acres of land spreading as far as your eyes take you, the courtyard, the roses, lilies & ponds full of lotuses. He spoke of the long balconies which stretched on and on--overlooking 50 odd rooms; the huge bell that rang during lunch and dinner to alert the inhabitants. The grandeur of it all amazes me still. I laughed at the thought of him playing badminton with huge roses- he said, ‘what to do, we’d lose all the shuttles, but we had abundance of roses around. And they were big & heavy enough to play with’. Every time I picture it, I still can’t help but laugh!
...And then there were the stories of the ghosts & ghouls, which I used to eagerly wait for. On cozy winter evenings when I would quickly get inside the warm quilts, he’d tell me these queer tales of village spirits and wandering souls, who couldn’t emancipate from their worldly desires. His memories took me en route to lively melas, where he would sneak off to with his friends, the huge bullock carts he hitch-hiked on and his little boyish adventures. Whenever, he told me these stories, we travelled to these places together, and I could see everything as clearly as he remembered them- we build a connection, an emotion stronger than love and deeper than friendship.
When I think of him now, when I close my eyes to visualize.. I am taken back to some very specific scenes. The time-travel takes me back to a winter morning when I wake up and see him sitting outside, it’s warm & sunny. He has a shaving kit & a small mirror in front of him, still contemplating whether to start or not. Then I quickly time travel to a cool & windy evening, when I am walking along the road with him… just out on an evening stroll, nodding away to neighbors and familiar faces on the road; we stop at this small shop and there is a smile on his face. He says we’ll get the best cutlets here, and I have been waiting to taste them forever.
Today, I carry him with me, in my thoughts, in my beliefs- and in a place in my heart where I keep all my fondest & most precious memories; in a place from where I accumulate all my hope, a place of strength- A Place of Love!