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Alive In Me

By Pallavi Joshi

My grandfather was a partially bald short man, with twinkling pair of eyes that lit up when he laughed; a laugh that came easily to him. He was very calm and content; I do not remember him complain about anything, even once. Always went around spreading joy and love. He had this gift of making people feel warm and comfortable around him. All loved him; children, men, women, animals. He was a soul mate to his wife; a perfect husband. He was a friend to his children and a very loving grandfather to the grand kids.

He was always trying his best to make other’s life simple and comfortable. Still it was never enough for him. As a child I remember him doing anything and everything to make his grandchildren happy. I used to love riding on his bicycle and even though using bicycle meant longer hours and fatigue he used to take me for a ride just to see me smiling. This was one of the many things he did to make me happy.

People say their mother or grandmother is a brilliant cook and that’s true even for me but I’ve one more name to add to my list - my grandfather. He was a brilliant cook and a complete foodie. No one I know can prepare daal the way he did; several have tried but failed. He used to say there’s no secret recipe and always gave tips but we still haven’t gotten it right.

My favorite from the long list of his culinary talent is curd rice. It’s a simple dish not even that sophisticated but I would give up food by the world’s best chef for it. For me curd rice and train travel goes hand in hand; whenever we used to start our journey back home he used to give us curd rice and pickle prepared by my grandma. It’s fair that I mention here that my grandma was a brilliant cook herself and paired up with her husband created food land for us.

Few years back we lost him, it was sudden death. His death was hard on all of us, especially on my grandmother. She lost her will to live and within a year we lost her. In his death we all lost something very precious. It’s been 6 years but I still feel it’s a nightmare, and any moment now I’m going to wake up and find him whistling while going about doing his work. 
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There are times I dial his number and wait for someone to pick it up on the other end. While walking on road or sitting in a cafĂ©, in every old man I see I try to find my grandpa. I always have this hope that someday I might see him standing across the road or buying vegetable from a shop. I see a man walking with his grandchild I see my grandpa, I see a bald spectacled man I see him. 

Everyone tells me to move on, to let him go. But, how does one let their loved ones go? Won’t it be like accepting that I’m ok with him not being around? Because I’m not! I’m not ok with no one picking up the phone on the other end!! I’m not ok with not having my grandparents around on big days of my life!!! NO! I’m NOT!!

Few days back I was in a market; somewhere I heard someone whistling; it was the way my grandfather used to. I got curious and walked down to see who that was. I saw a middle aged man nothing like grandpa. But, a sound from past and all the memories came back to me, the warmth and security I felt around him, everything. The most prominent memory I have of my grandpa is his whistling; he always used to whistle while gardening or cooking. He could whistle any songs and the sound was always so melodious, it made my heart warm. While I was walking towards the sound in market I was half expecting to see grandpa standing.

Another thing that was patent of grandpa was his checked pattern lungi; which he used to wear at home. When going out I always feared that he would go out wearing the same and ended up requesting him to change. Though he never stepped out that way but always teased me saying he would. Last month on train on my adjacent berth there was an old man; very stern looking. I didn’t really pay attention to him. At night he took out a piece of checked cloth; it was a lungi just like the one my grandpa wore. In the very moment I started seeing my grandpa in that old man. I know it was all in my head but couldn’t help it. In that moment I was reminded of how much I miss him; how I wont mind him wearing his lungi anywhere and everywhere if that means him coming back.

There is so much I wanted to hear him say, so much to tell. There are days when I wish I could see him for one last time but then wonder will it be enough; will one moment be enough to tell him how much I miss him.

Everyday something happens that reminds me of him; for others they are small things but for me they are majorly important incidences which keeps me connected to him. I feel him around me every moment of day; I feel him besides me holding my hands when I’m afraid to take next step. I feel his hug when I feel alone and cold, he’s always besides me sharing my fears. I know when he disapproves of my behavior and when he’s proud of me. Some might think this is crazy talk or that I need help, but then I don’t expect them to understand. I see and feel him around me because somewhere he’s still not gone. With every breathe I take, every memory of him relived over the time, he lives. He lives in everyone who remembers him and loves him.

One day, may be I’ll be ready to let him go. I’ll come to terms with his death. But he’ll always be alive in me.

About the author : I am Pallavi Joshi from Indore, at present living in Mumbai. I am an independent, free spirited, nature loving girl. My hobbies are reading, singing and listening to music. Books and me are inseparable. I feel without books I am one single person but when I read I get to live lives of several other characters. I am very passionate about my writing. I like writing short stories, articles etc. I have written several things; at present I am also working on a novel. My writing is really special for me as it reflect the person I am. My inspiration are the people and events around me.

 

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