Thursday, 25 February, 2010
My dadaji (grandfather) passed away peacefully on 11th February, 2010. We had several names for him - Grandy, Gramps, Grampa, Biscuit Baba (he loved biscuits!), and of course, dadaji.
To say his life was a struggle would be an understatement. He had seen hardships right through his childhood. But he fought through every struggle and achieved everything that he possibly could. He was the quintessential self-made man.
Dadaji had few hobbies, and the one that topped the list was research. He would spend entire days writing in his journals about his new finds and discoveries. He would rip apart relevant newspaper articles and stick them on to his journal, even before anyone else got the opportunity to have a read. He would read and write with such joy - it was something he was so passionate about. Of course then, we found this hobby a waste of time and energy, and most importantly, we weren't getting our paper to read. We would tell him to stop so many times, but he never gave up.
The second thing he was most passionate about was cricket. He loved everything about cricket. He would discuss players, scores, even stadiums at length with anyone who'd ask. When he got sick and bed ridden, he would tune his portable radio to the live cricket commentary. He would still cheer and curse whenever India performed favorably or not.
The last time I saw dadaji, I told him he was a great man. I told him I love him and I will continue to love him forever. I told him to get well soon. I wanted to see him back on his feet again. I wanted to see him reading and cutting holes through newspapers again. I wanted to see him cheering every time Sachin Tendulkar hit a six. I wanted him to tell me his stories again. I wanted to hear him cough loudly every time he brushed his teeth. I wanted to hear the shuffle of his feet when he walked. I wanted to see him tune his radio again. I wanted him to be around.
And then, on 11th February, 2010, he left the world. He left me. And he took a part of me with him.
And then, on 24th February, 2010, Sachin Tendulkar made history by becoming the first cricketer to score 200 runs in a One Dayer. While India cheered for Sachin's achievement, I cried because dadaji wasn't here to see him do that. He would have cheered wildly, and then have told us for days about what he had done.
I talk to myself a lot, and I always hear a voice talking back to me. Yesterday, I spoke to myself again - "Dadaji, you missed Sachin's 200"
A reply came back to me, but a voice I had not heard before - "You don't think they have televisions in heaven?"
I smiled a little, while tears streamed down again.