I am at a loss of words as I write this letter to you.
On the 8th of March, 2017, a month before you’d have turned 90, you’ve left us all, to rest peacefully in heaven. You’ve left a huge void in our lives. When I say “our”, it’s not just your direct family; your friends, nurses, servant maids, newspaper boys, medical shop guy are all going to miss you. I heard one of the servants lamenting, “Thatha is no more; who is going to give us chocolates every time we come home?! There’s none like him”. All of them feel genuinely bonded to you and mourned your loss. It’s my duty to convey this to you.
Over the last 2 days as I lay still looking at your motionless body, I recollected a lot of fond memories from our past.
When I look at your walking stick, I recollect how I used to swing it like a cricket bat in front of you to irk you playfully. When I look at the sponge smiley balls, I remember how you would tightly clasp them every time someone tries to take it away from you.
When I look at the TV remote, I remember how during a crucial moment in a cricket match, you’d change the TV channel and act as if you hadn’t done anything. Mischievous, you were 🙂
Back then when I was in school, I remember how you would wrap by books so neatly, as if it was your life mission. You introduced me to Wren & Martin even before my school mates had heard about it. You taught me written Tamil. I remember writing 10 Thirukkurals every day. You would then correct the mistakes with a red pen in your small, neat handwriting. You bought me my first bicycle, when I was in Class IV, I remember. You’d never hesitate to boast about my smallest of achievements to anyone you meet. You felt a genuine sense of satisfaction and pride in it.
Till 2007, when you got a stroke, you were one of the most active men I knew and interacted with. You valued your time. You had a strict routine from 5 am to 9 pm. You were a voracious reader and your spoken English was peerless. You liked solving SuDoKus and Crossword puzzles in Magazines. You loved your filter coffee and expected it at 2 pm sharp. 2.01 pm wouldn’t do. 🙂
I recollect how I used to play Tabla on your bald head.
Hatred was a word absent in your dictionary. You loved all. You were loved by all.
You were a master storyteller. I love sitting next to you and hearing you talk endlessly about your growing up days in Karaikkal and Kumbakonam. You loved Kumbakonam and your favourite “Little Flower High School”. You knew exactly 10 words in French and felt very proud about it. 😀
Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi were two personalities you loved. Anyone who’s had an interaction with you would know “Tagore never sleeps during the day”. You also followed his footsteps till your active days.
Oh, how can I forget your sense of humour. Your spontaneous humour was second to none. You would repeat the same joke a 100 times to different people and laugh along with them.
Few of your gems (may not be original):
- What is the opposite of Aravindsamy?
- Aravind did not see me
- Which word/set of words in English language have the most letters?
- Post Box
You were a selfless person.
You didn’t like being in photos much. That didn’t stop me and Appa from clicking lots of photos of yours.
You wouldn’t ride bikes, scooters or cars. You preferred long walks or travel through public transport. That’s what has kept you healthy in the later years.
I have lived 9617 days with you. It’s yet to sink in completely, that you’re not with us anymore. It’s just the memories we have with us. You would often remark to me, “You never spend time at home; always roaming around with friends”. Perhaps, you were right. I’d have loved to spend more time with you. Now it’s too late.
You’re God’s Own Child. Despite our best efforts, you suffered a lot in your last days. It’s time you rest peacefully.
I hope this letter reached you safe.
I love you so much, and I’ll miss you every day.