Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For The Memories, For The Love

I woke up an hour ago. I got an sms informing me that my paternal grandfather had passed away.

I struggle to put together words but I must. The least I can do is to write about him, at least the way he affected me.

My first memory of Nana Thatha is when I was about 2 years old. We were sitting in the living room in our home in San Jose. I was playing and he asked me to come sit next to him.

"Un peyar enna, theriyuma?" (Do you know what your name is?).
"Neeyuntha", I replied without excitement.
"Illa!" (Nope).
"Aaaaa aen? Adhu en peyar." (Why? That is my name).
"Illa, unakku rendu peyar irukku." (No, you have two names).
(I now sit up straight with an excited look).
"Madhuri'kkum rendu peyar irukku, theriyuma?"(Even Madhuri has two names, did you know?).
"En peyar enna??" (What is my name??)
"Un peyar Ranganathan." (Your name is Ranganathan).
"Enakku Neeyanthaaa've pidichirukku." (I'm fine with Niyantha).

Four years ago, my cousins and I were playing Kaun Banega Crorepati with 'Who wants to be a Millionaire?' question cards. I got to be Amitabh Bachchan and on one question the contestant wanted to 'Phone a Friend'. So I picked up my cell and dialed my home number.
Nana Thatha picked up and I bellowed through the phone, "Main Amitabh Bachchan bol raha hoon!".
"Chi phone-a veyyu da" (Chi, keep the phone down).

Nana Thatha was a learned man, and extremely good with words. His book on Iraq and the USA during the tenure of George Bush Sr. got published a few years ago, and I was so glad to see that smile on his face when he got his copy of the book. If you are someone who writes, I bet there is nothing like the sight of the first copy of your book.

He was a wonderful man. He was able to raise, with his wife, 4 children who are all now settled and successful. He cared for his grand children. He loved talking to me, speaking to me in his trademark style. "Boy, come here", he would always say when he saw me walking out to play Cricket. The foolishness of my age made me come up with excuses but I'm glad he persevered. I was lucky to have a grandfather who loved and cared for me and the rest of his grandchildren as much.

Nana Thatha, I will forever miss you. This post was an attempt by me to accept your death. I thought that maybe if I wrote it all down, I would stop crying. But I will stop, and I will accept what's happened.

Thanks for being there for me all these years.

Love,

Niyantha

P.S: Please leave a comment if you have met my grandfather and would like to share your memories of him.

10 comments:

Madhuri Shekar said...

thank you for writing this, Niyantha.

Anonymous said...

I have met your grandfather and God bless you for this loving tribute. Iam so touched to know that he impacted you so well and so very much. I think yours and Madhuri's passion for writing has been inherited from him.
amas

Anonymous said...

felt very touched by your writing.

When I think of Nana thatha I am immediately reminded of his kindness. He was a simple person, positive to the core. He was always proud of my accomplishments in business and life and will talk about the progress that I had made to all the family members.

Loving thoughts of him will remain with all of us all the time. Nana thatha is a great person and will remain ever that way in all our hearts. Prakash Kumar

gokkul said...

Ur article just reminds me of the kindness that thatha showed to all of us... so touchy ur article is... for sure i will show this to patti when i see her....
Though we missed you physically, we know you would have been thinking of thatha only and his last rites.. I had the good fortune of being with him during his last breath..
I am sure his blessings will be there for all of us and let us try to achieve his ambitions... with luv.. Gokkul..

gokkul said...

Ur article just reminds me of the kindness that thatha showed to all of us... so touchy ur article is... for sure i will show this to patti when i see her....
Though we missed you physically, we know you would have been thinking of thatha only and his last rites.. I had the good fortune of being with him during his last breath..
I am sure his blessings will be there for all of us and let us try to achieve his ambitions... with luv.. Gokkul..

jwala said...

Good job niyantha. We will surely miss him a lot. Great man with great qualities! Let his soul rest in peace. Love u thatha.......

Devi said...

This is an amazing tribute, Niyantha. Written from the heart. I have always been a great fan of your writing, but this piece surpasses them all.
Athimber was a very kind and sweet man and I will always remember him for his quiet, peaceful and loving nature. I have also heard of the many fond memories Balaji had with him, and I know he touched many lives through his love.
May his soul rest in peace.
Love,
Devi

Balaji said...

Niyantha,

Thank you for the wonderful tribute. I am truly at loss of words. As you say in your tribute, Athimber was a family man to the core and would gain pleasures out of the simplest things in life. I still remember when I introduced him to the computer (by accident, of course!) and gave him an idea of how he could use it to write his book on the Gulf war. The joy that he gained was there for all of us to see. Every time I met him for the next fifteen years, he never forgot to thank me! His modesty, humility and love for all of us is something I will cherish forever. Thanks again for your tribute.

Take care buddy.

Balaji

Suman said...

What a beautiful tribute and lovely comments! Now I know where to go if I miss Thatha.

He took great pride in naming his grand children and had a story behind each of the names. Also, I could so totally picture him sitting by the phone and answering you the way you described it.

Writing about him was one of things that I did as well. You can check it out here http://zigma-an.livejournal.com/43554.html?view=162594#t162594

Test said...

Hi Niyantha,

Very nice tribute. On my every visit to India, he was one person, whom I would be very excited to meet and converse. Unfortunately, I could not meet him this time as he was in Vellore.
I came to know him well when we used to visit him in Mumbai from Nashik. He had a very simple and warm personailty. He used to be very concerned that not all of the youngsters in the family were interested in studying and learning. This showed he was a genuine well wisher for all the members of the family.