I’ve been having a writer’s block for a couple of months now – you know, life gets in the way. I thought this post was a good way to get back into it.
My grandfather was somebody now you’d describe as a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’. He had four children, my mom, and her siblings, all of whom he doted on obsessively. I was his first grandchild, and naturally the apple of his eye. He was a gorgeous person, or at least that’s what everyone used to tell me. My Grandma and him moved to Kashmir a couple of years after they had gotten married and started a family. All of their kids grew up in Srinagar, where they went to school and college. From the stories i’d hear, it sounded like they lived a very precious childhood, in a house run by love, laughter and chai, surrounded by beautiful apple orchards, lakes, and valleys.
“Rainbows and unicorns” I used to call the place.
I was very little when he passed away, and I remember I’d cried very hard. One day he was well and the next day he was being admitted in a frenzy. Him suddenly falling ill was painful for everybody. And his demise, was the first time I’d experienced someone really leaving me. I remember- I used to follow him around everywhere, jump on the couch even when he’d ask me not to, go book sniffing in his private library.
He just meant a lot to me, as any doting grandparent would feel like to a child. So when he left, I was heartbroken.
“Kati Patang”, as my mausi described it.
If I could talk to him, I’d say:
I miss you terribly. Honestly, I remember how mad Grandma was at you leaving, and I kind of agree with her. You should have thought about the rest of us before you went awol like that. You left an entire family of doting children reeling in pain. I cried so hard. Harder than I must’ve ever cried in my entire childhood. You were the most kind, gentle and loving person in my life. I loved hearing stories about your progressive ideas. And it broke my heart to see you go. That’s where it all started I guess. I remember I’d sobbed in my uncle’s arms. “She’s been crying non-stop, it’s crazy”, He’d said. But I couldn’t stop.
Soon after that, my parents and I moved to Kuwait and began a lonely and troubled childhood. When other kids were angry and depressed, they would act out. I just became really really alone. I’d cry my self to sleep and would wake up crying because I didn’t feel like I belonged there. I felt so alone and unsettled. The only thing that would keep me going were these annual visits in Pune where I’d see others who were the kind of loving adults I knew then. When I look back now, I feel like I wish you were there too. Did you know Nani made Kehva and Jelly Pudding every year when we went? Did you know that your kids are still the tea-a-holics they used to be? Did you know Anhad, who was born right when you got admitted, is the softie that you always used to be?
I used to think I’m too sensitive, and I thought that’s what made me weak. But I’ve learned to accept myself better. I am loving, compassionate and sensitive, and I get all of that from you. I love everything about me that reminds me of you. And that, I think, is the best realization of all.
There are times when I’ve missed you. I wish you were there to talk about which college I wanted to go to. I wish you were there to call me whenever I felt low. I’d just wanna hang around you doing nothing, and demand for chai and hugs every now and then. I feel bad that Anhad, Rahat and Ishani will not know you for the loving doting grandfather that you are! But I’m happy that you’ve left an army of sensitive people behind to love each other and care for each other. And for that, I’m grateful.
I just hope I find someone like you, you know?
Someone who’s warm, and gentle, and sensitive.
Someone who understands my love for P.G. Woodhouse and Chai.
I will always love you incessantly,