A Tribute To My Grandfather!
It was only the other day that I was wondering that I hadn’t written a tribute on my blog. Both ironically and sadly it was somehow intended to be my grandfather.
On the 8th of August 1928, my grandfather Mr. Paresh Chandra Misra was born into one of the wealthiest zamindar families of Bengal in undivided India. I do not know much about his childhood or youth but from what I have heard he played an active part in the struggle for Indian Independence following the leftist communist ideology. He was an avid follower of Jyoti Basu, one of the most famous politicians and leaders in India.
He later joined the FPI and settled down in a job. He became the deputy director and was shifted to the ministry of Food. He was a man of such strong will that he used to walk 10 kilometers home every day from Fresco Street to Raja Basanta Roy Road. I don’t know much more about him in the days before I was born so I shall go ahead to what I remember.
I was the first child in my generation in my immediate family. And 3rd if the extended family was considered. So needless to say I was pampered beyond my wildest dreams. No would could scold me, no one could hit me but if they did it always Dadai (my grandfather) who took my side and scolded the person who took my case.
I was the only kid who had the guts to go into his room and play around with the antiquities hanging on the walls. The others were just too scared of him. Even most of my relatives; and I’m talking about my grandma’s brothers the youngest of whom is 56 now; called him Tiger which aptly suited his persona. My dad still remembers how the entire road on which our house stands used to empty as soon as he was seen on the corner.
My Ammi(grandmother) told me how Dadai single handedly provided the financials required to marry off her sibling. He was a man for whom respect came naturally. So strict and disciplined and yet such a noble man.
When I first joined South Point I used to go to school in the morning by a van and Dadai always used to bring me back home. It used to be an adventure every day, crossing the busy roads of Gariahat, getting on a tram in the middle of the road and then walking from Deshapriya Park to my house. I used to have lunch and then sit in his room while he smoked his Cheroot. He never said much but I always saw his eyes follow me around the room, a playful smile in his eyes as if he wanted to join my play.
One day while returning from school, I jumped onto the steps of the tram. A 3 inch long piece of iron went into my knee. Dadai tried everything but my pain wouldn’t lessen, he even tried closing the wound with his finger but it just pained more. As soon as I got down from the tram he picked me up and carried me home 3 kilometers. That ended our little adventures, he was termed as too old for the duty of bringing me back from school. But I wasn’t ready to give it up. I pleaded and pleaded but to no avail. I was put on the school bus. That somehow increased the distance between us.
A month or so later Mom got transferred to Delhi and I moved to. Now I could only see him only for some days in a year. But he had grown old and kept sick most of the times. I remember fighting him for TV time and my mom scolding me. Then I saw my brother fighting with him for TV time and quite naturally it was me who scolded him. Then came the time when he himself let go of the TV and wanted us to watch. He kept growing weaker day by day and yet every time I talked to him, whether face to face or on phone, he always said ‘God bless you my child!’ He loved his grandchildren like crazy and nothing we did ever could be wrong.
He was very fond of Fish Fry and Sandesh and he always wanted to be amidst lots of people. He loved having people around. Yet his luck was such that his entire kin lived far away from him.
Last time I came to Kolkata in October, I could not give him my full attention as something was ailing my mind. Yet I tried to spend as much time with him as was possible. I held him up, made him sit, something he hadn’t been able to do for months. Seeing his son, daughter, daughter-in-law and his two grandsons gave him the strength and will. He wanted to live beyond a 100.
I met him before I was leaving for the airport. He had tears in his eyes and yet a smile on his lips. He looked at me and said ‘I wish you luck in all your endeavors. I know you’ll make me proud. Best of luck my child.’ He touched my cheek and looked out of the window, he was too proud a man to let me see him cry. And he didn’t see the tears in my eyes either. I got up and left, not knowing that I would never see him again.
He breathed his last on the 19th of January, 2011 at 12:45 pm. He was 83. All the organs had failed and he was suffering from severe septicemia. It was Dad who called to let me know. His voice was shaky. I along with my mom, brother and aunt took the 7:45 flight to Kolkata. The proceedings in Kolkata were waiting for us. We received the body of my grandfather. And there on his face was such a blissful look, like he had attained peace and no one had to worry about him anymore. I brought my brother to see him one last time. He was silent. He didn’t cry but he was silent. I put my arm around him and asked ‘You know what happened, right?’ He calmly replied that he had.’
Then we headed to the crematorium while my brother went home. He quietly asked mom ‘Where have they taken Dadai? To heaven?’
Mom replied ‘Yes!’
With a smile on his face he turned back to watch TV. I guess that’s how life goes on. And we need to learn that from him.
Rest In Peace Dadai. All is good here down below. We are all happy that your suffering ended. May your blessings be with us forever. We all love you.
I LOVE YOU.