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