....and all that jazZ

Friday, August 10, 2018

Chapter 14 - Curtain call for Superman.

When I decided to come to america in pursuit of happiness, my grandfather borrowed a map of the world from a neighbor, spread it out on the table and had me show him where on earth I was headed. Beaming with pride, my grandparents led the entourage at the airport as I set off to seek my destiny. I was told a year or so later that on returning from the airport my grandfather complained of chest pain. Nothing serious, but probably the heartache of sending off his first and dearest grandchild into uncharted territory.

I have since that day always carried an image of Tatha in my head and heart as that person I left behind. A man whose age never showed when one spoke to him over the phone, because his mind was always so sharp. My Tatha whose daily enjoyments were simple - a newspaper, filter coffee- strong and without sugar, the radio (which with time and age became the News on TV), hot piping idli vada plate at local pure veg vendor shops outside temples  ( not always, but I always noticed his excitement at eating this in the simplest of places) and his biggest indulgence - buying things like ice cream for his grandchildren. Tatha used public transportation only when it could not be helped and an auto only because whoever was accompanying him was too wussy to go by bus and not strong enough to walk for hours. "Never hail an auto that is sitting around" was one of the things he once said to me waving one off irritably "They are the unmotivated ones likely to refuse you.".

If there was one thing that defined him, it was his strong work ethic. He was tough, honest to a fault, immensely hardworking and adamantly refused to suffer fools. He had no patience for shirkers and demanded the same high standards from his children. His own beginnings were humble, but he dreamed large for his children. He provided for his own, protected his own and nurtured them into people who he imagined should ( and they did) exceed the life standards that he defined as the very minimum. " I hope you will someday become a big professor at Harvard University" he said to me. I smiled and said I had no interest in academia. He gently answered " But that is how brilliant and accomplished, I want you to be." I know that no one, absolutely no one has wished more for me than you have. Whether I wanted it or not, whether I deserved it or not.

When we lost Patti, I lost my faith.
When we lost Appa, I lost my childhood.
When you left Tatha - the promise of my amazing future was lost.

I hope I am everything you wanted me to be and I wish I could tell you how much what you have been is what I hope to be in life. I aspire to live fully and as purposefully as you have. You have taught us how the everyday joys are enough to fill ourselves with. To touch lives and inspire goodness as you have. I will always tell stories to your great grandchildren of their Amma Thatha who no matter which room he is in, heaven or earth, we know, will always have one ear on what we are talking about here. We will listen always for you to chime in.  We love you.


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