This is the first letter I am writing to you, in fact the first time in the past ten years thought of communicating with you. I just wanted to say I am quite angry with you. How could you just leave me all of a sudden? Forget me. How could you leave your daughter who was miles away hoping you were well and fine? What did you think Amma’s reaction would have been hearing the shocking news? You never spoke your last word with her. The very unfortunate grand daughter that I am, didnt get to see you for the last time too. In a way, I consider it for good. I still picture you as the ever-smiling, talkative, charming young man in the late sixties. Probably you wanted me to have only the best memories.
Thaathi, I loved you so much. I got your undivided attention for two full years. After all, I was your first grand child. I had the strongest bond that none of your other grand-children feel with you. You were my inspiration. I want to be as kind as you. I want to smile as often as you. I want to take life as easy as you. Most of all, I want to be as good as you in loving the fellow human beings. I still havent found a person, who would intervene to stop a mom from beating her children – that mom could have been exhausted, the children could have been too naughty. You just didnt care. You made sure no child is crying in your vicinity. I have seen you carry kids in public places, helping new mothers catch a break. Making friends came naturally to you which I am still practicing.
I think of you everyday. Every single day. Hardly I voice it out, for I dont want to think that you are not with me anymore. The initial days after you left us were quite a struggle. How do I voice out my pain? Amma was suffering herself, every task was done mechanically. I couldnt turn up to her and thats when I stopped believing that you are no more. Still, it isnt easy even after ten years. The thought of not seeing you, resurfaces quite often. I have stopped taking pleasure in celebrating new year, for it brings back the memories of the black day – Jan 1st 2003. You were perfectly well.. what made you leave us like this? Do you understand how much I miss you in my life?
Amma tells me how you announced it to all and sundry when I went to kindergarten. You took pride in me, I dont understand why. May be I was too special to you. Remember when I joined you for some work in our village during my 7th std summer holidays – you made sure everyone knew I was your grand daughter. I guess you couldnt content your joy, when I wrote to you that I stood school first in ten standard. You were my best pen friend. I wrote to you regularly and waited eagerly for your reply. I was so proud to have a thaathi who could write to me in English.
I and sister still have the bulk of greeting cards that you sent us painstakingly for every occasion. We have also treasured all the pattu parikinis you have got for us every year- spending not less than three hours. I remember not getting the same color twice. I loved the way you shopped for us – all your grandchildren. You didnt even take ammuma along with you. You just went on your own, chose the color you felt would look best on us and came back with a happy face. I only remember once, telling you that I dont want pattu parikini, but a churidaar. Though you were not happy with that, you still got me one. Sorry for hurting your feelings, thaathi. I didnt know that the love was not in the thing you got me, but in the feeling.
I loved the way you maintained our garden. No one would have maintained it so well than you. Right from the start of the year, you anticipated our arrival for summer vacation, planting new colorful plants. How lovely it used to be, to just stand next to you watering the plants. The garden was always on the bloom and no kid in the vicinity would be sent empty handed if he/she wished to have something from you. At times, I felt happy and proud but then at times I felt jealous of those kids for they were sharing your love. Coconuts and Almonds were preserved carefully for a year long, waiting for our arrival. I was your only grandkid to love fresh almonds and you took much pain, plucking them out for me. I would sit beside you, while you break it open for me and spread the fresh nuts in a plate, seeing me happily eating them. Trust me thathi, I have never touched a fresh almond until now from the last time you served me. My heart aches.
The big big house has never felt empty though only the two of you lived. Ofcourse there were other creatures like snakes (small ones and big ones), stray cats and dogs. Today, its just empty – empty from all the happiness once it witnessed. There are still occupants, but the charm is gone. It will never be the same house for me again, not with out you. You had everything planned out isnt? If not, why would you send me the ancestral double cot when I was only 17? You wanted me to have it, before everything went out of your hands. Every time I see the cot, memories come flushing down my heart.
Why did you have to leave so soon thaathi? You didnt see me getting district top marks in 12th. You didnt see me going to one of the top colleges in Tamilnadu. You didnt see me getting a dream job. You didnt see me getting married to a person, who resembles you in some ways. You didnt see me set up my house. I missing you so terribly. There is a reason why I didnt write to you for all these years. I love you so much beyond words that I was lost where to start and where to end. As I type this out with tears in my eyes, there are still a thousand things I want to share with you. I only wish you were with me right now. Amma tells me that I resemble you in every small deed that I do, may be that is how you decided to stay with me.
Love you forever, Thaathi. Missing you.