Friday, September 15, 2006
Waiting for Grandpa
I draw lines on the canvas of dew that has settled on the window panes. I would fix them straight but they would trickle down aimlessly, beyond my control; Random, strange patterns. Try again, and again, and again. Random, strange patterns. No straight lines. They behave as they will. Does God script lines of fate similarly?
I watch through the misty glass, the pale yet unusually calm face of the man I so revered and loved – Grandpa. Yesterday was not like this. He and I had had a nice, warm chat, sitting by his bedside. And suddenly, with minimum fuss, he slipped into a coma.
Granddad was telling me about his childhood days. How he and his little friend, Somu, jumped over his neighbours’ compound wall, into their farm, to steal mangoes with great expertise. These for me were like silver screen stories in real life. Where had I ever heard of such stuff? The movies, I bet.
Ageing is such a mysterious reality, even stranger, the phenomenon of death. To me, they are frightful truths that often haunted one in the nights and quietly escaped through the backdoor as morning descended with the illusions called life’s responsibilities. Don’t we categorize them as simply, daily routine?
Coming to think of it, there is the other side. We run in a race, fast and faster, to be the first and always on top. In the process of running, many of us forget that the ultimate finishing line is the end of ourselves. I somehow, can’t subscribe to the fact, “there is only one life, live it.” We should live it, but well aware of our coordinates. We don’t live forever. Sadly, many of us either ignore death or worry too much about it. How many of us can gracefully accept that death is indeed a humbling truth?
Surprisingly, Grandpa always had a calming view of death, not the frightening undertone that it usually presented. He only dealt with it, with such elegant ease. The calm that stemmed from his subconscious glowed on his face, as if preserved till eternity.
We fear missing others, in their deaths and in our own, missing our own selves and lives, those lives, however miserable they may get. We fear death even more, because we have no conclusive control over the causative factors.
I was missing Grandpa’s toothless grin, as soft as a baby’s. I was missing his childish craving for the forbidden jalebis, his assuring talk, his strong will that beat the fragility of his physique. I was missing the complement of me, a weak young woman– he, the strong, old man. I was missing my confidant.
Is there nothing that we can do? I ask the doc, gazing at Grandpa. The doc shrugs in reply. He is deteriorating. I hold grandpa’s hand that had grown to wear the characteristic softness of old age. I will wait for you, Grandpa. Afterall, who am I to draw lines?