Three years it has been… how time flies!
Every year after that fateful day, when this part of the month comes around, I start feeling jittery. I go about my daily chores, but when I’m by myself, the memories come flooding back – in the three days starting from my grand-dad’s birthday, the mind starts recounting the events – the conversations and sequences start tumbling out of the mind’s closet. I can’t help but think about the could-have-been’s and what-if’s. It almost makes me tremble and I become jumpy, getting irritated at the slightest of provocation.
Yesterday on the way back, I felt restless, unable to sleep in the cab and unable to sit still. I thought I’ll at-least tune into the radio on my phone, which I hardly ever do while I’m travelling. I was hoping to catch some old melodies – dad’s favourites which would bring back good, happy memories. I tuned into Akashavani and the minute I did so, the RJ announced a Veena recital program of a Thyagaraja krithi by R K Raghavan. I was stunned! As the mellifluous notes from the Veena started playing I felt my nerves ease and the heart relax. It felt like a sign from daddy and I felt at peace for the first time in three days.
Dad was a music-lover – he liked music in its many forms, but his absolute favourite was Carnatic Classical music. He himself had taken Veena lessons from the famous Veena maestro R K Suryanarayan, even going for classes after office-hours in his middle-age years! He imbibed the love for music in us – me and my sis and insisted that we take Vocal music lessons. While I had relented and had taken lessons from a very strict music teacher Shri Lakshmana Shastri near-by our home, my sis had put up huge fights and wouldn’t go to him for classes, no matter what! 😀 He and the old Veena instrument at home were also the inspiration for me to later keep in touch with Carnatic music, by taking Veena classes from another lady teacher.
Dad was also a connoisseur of old Hindi film music and was a fan, especially of Rafi and Mukesh hits. I, being a huge Kishore Kumar fan, would have arguments with him that Mukesh was no good! These days whenever I listen to Mukesh’s songs, it instantly reminds me of dad and our arguments. Me and my sis would break into impromptu songs and antakshari-sessions whenever we felt like and dad couldn’t keep quiet, he would butt in with his song choices and we would shoo him away! 🙂
My memories of school and college days from home are filled with mornings waking up to strains of classical music and Sundays filled with Hindi film songs. Almost the entire day, the radio would be on – if not, it would be the various cassettes he would play. Sundays meant – old Classic hits, late heavy lunch, good afternoon siesta and a tall glass of evening tea. How I miss those days! 😦
Yesterday during the cab-ride back home, I also happened to look out and noticed a big rose bush outside a home. I travel almost the same way each day but haven’t ever noticed this house or the bush. Yesterday I did. It was a wild bush, growing in all directions – with many beautiful blooms of cream-yellow roses. It was the very same kind which used to grow in abundance at our home on the plants, which dad used to tend-to for years.
Another sign, may be? It reminded me of the days when I was young and we used to stay at the quarters – we had so many fruit-bearing and flowering plants and trees – dad seemed to have a way with them. They all grew and gave us fruits and flowers in abundance. If I look at my childhood photos, not one can I find where I don’t have a flower in my hair! Even when I had short hair, a rose adorned my pig-tails or sometimes it was the dahlia too!! Random happy memories.
Memories – that’s all is what is left of him now. As time rolls by, the memories start fading – will I remember all in such clear detail many years from now? I hope I do. I hope my son remembers his thatha always – the one who took on the role of a doting grandfather once he was born. I would see him become a child himself and play with him for hours – inventing new games and coming up with the silliest of jokes. I could any day trust him to take care of my son while keeping him engaged, right from when he was some months old – something which I don’t believe my mother can claim to do, even now! I hope my son inherits his thatha’s love for music and plants and books, and chess and carrom too. And his amazing sense of hospitality, which would be so extreme sometimes, that it would exasperate us ladies at home!
I also hope that my dad is at peace and looking over us with happiness, from wherever he is now. Love you dad, always! 🙂