Dating back to my early teen years, I could passionately recollect how supported were all my hopes and aspirations by my very conspicuous vigour and vibrancy. And, I presumed I was in charge of my life, and happiness seemed granted. Books, along with loving, caring family and friends, were my companions. Though waking up early to birds chirping was thrilling. Those street vendors knocking on our doors with fresh, organic, non-GMO veggies felt disturbing, and the paperboy hurling the newspaper sounded interfering. The postman’s appearance intruded into my private space as my dad would receive a dozen letters every day. An emotional reminiscence made me feel touched as I have had the best childhood. Now, stuck in a motor jungle, the hyped communications can be coded- a gentle horn is a hello, and a bighorn is for anger.
Generally speaking, people are associated with their car numbers, and everyone has a busy daily schedule. In this part of the world, big parties hosting a minimum of fifty families over weekends is the norm. Greeting every guest is not even the basis of social get-togethers. Tracing back those street vendors’ affectionate smug in my search for healthy foods in shopping malls where plastic cards do all the exchanges, and organic food is far and beyond my reach. Forget Non-GMO’s. The postman wouldn’t be knocking on my door anymore, but letters, well, primarily sales and marketing flyers, and our monthly bills are left in a box at bay.
Back then, physical handwritten letters were part of exchanging warmth and birthday wishes among cousins and classmates who lived farther or moved places. I moved to England with my husband in 2004. Until then, all those twenty-five years of my early life were spent in a small historical, cultural town, Vizianagaram. Hailing from a small town which was the home town for us since my great grand parents time, every year, I look forward to my town! After nearly 14 years of my marriage, I still get homesick; I still have the foreigner-feeling wherever I am. My roots are firm, so are my experiences. My best friend, my maternal granddad, regretted it when telephones became part of every household. “If it’s a handwritten letter, I will cherish reading my letters whenever I want to, whenever I yearn for that person. These phone wishes take away my happy memories, my best time pass and make me long for my grandkids more”, in his exact words.
My granddad was eager to learn about e-mails in 1999, but he didn’t live longer to try that ‘e’spect. I miss my granddad, who was my movie partner, my walking partner, my guide, and my stress-buster, my wall. I never understood his agony about the newly forming nuclear families then and the repercussions. His usage of cloth bags to reduce plastic/paper wastage; his willingness to walk any number of miles to stay fit and be able to say hello to his friends and work colleagues on the way. His philosophy towards vasudaika kutumbam- the whole world as one family – most of his life he had been a great host and rarely a guest. I miss my grandparents’ unconditional love, my grandmum’s innocence, my granddad’s willingness to accept whatever was thrown at him, with a smile on his face though it caused pain to his heart. I was part of the latter emotion, his agony once, and I bury my head in disgust when that thought surfaces in my memory. They taught me the importance of relations in life, and hence I try and maintain one-to-one relationships with everyone I meet and get to know. I try my best to be an agony aunt to any in need. Many forget me in their happy times. I was back-stabbed many times. Yet, I trained myself not to change my core. I am not that weak that any negativity around me could change me.
I have realised “Life” is in charge of me. Lots have changed, but there are affections beneath all these hustle, bustles. Fortunately, the world around me is very sane, and definitely, love will dominate hatred.. I am incredibly fortunate to have some friends, our extended family, who have the hearts of gold and have the Midas touch. Luckily, we all share the same principles. Love begets love.
I wish I could have met the amazing man your grandfather sounds. One of the greatest things is true friendship. In some ways I’m glad we can speak so easily over the internet/ e mail but it’s no substitute for seeing you in person xx
That’s such an honour, Kellie! I am so glad I could introduce my first best friend- my grand dad to you, my another best friend ❤ Meeting in person is an added bonus. Take care xxx
Wow!! Beautiful piece of art padma. You are so right about being nostalgic when we visit our parents’ home. I regret that I left my roots and for my future generations . I can totally connect to your grand father. I had 2 that were just like your thathagaru. With deep relentless urge to serve the community. My grand mom was the same. There isn’t even a single day that I don’t think about them