Yesterday evening, my grandmother and I were chatting on the phone and of course, the conversation turned to marriage. In the smartest of ways, [pats self on back] I managed to divert the conversation to her courtship with my grandfather. Very few people know the complete story but in a nutshell, they knew each other as children and played together in a common angaan in Karachi. After the partition, my grandfather’s family moved to Bombay and my grandmother’s to Hong Kong. Many years later, they reunited in Hong Kong and through beautiful love letters and of course, with the blessings of their families, they married. I awed and gushed over their love story, but I wasn’t surprised that she was floored by him. He was just like that.
Being the first grandchild, it was only natural for me to be overly pampered. My grandfather however, couldn’t get enough of me. I was his favorite and I have no qualms boasting about it. This is probably one of the reasons I grew up calling him 'Daddy'. He was quite literally my second father. As a gift, I landed up inheriting the writing gene from him but he taught me lessons for life which till today I live by. In many ways, my mother says I’m like him. I love India like no other, feel the need to exercise to vote, believe that organization is the key to living and that no work should be done halfheartedly.
The last time I saw my grandfather, he took my siblings and I to the museum and the aquarium in Mumbai. At 12, it was hardly the most interesting thing to do. I remember yawning and experiencing boredom of epic proportions. Looking back now, I wish I had listened to every word my grandfather had told us and hugged him a million times that day. He passed away less than a year later from cancer. My mother tells us he asked for us every day.
My fondest memory with my grandfather was when he'd place me on his lap and we'd sing "Our Song".
“You are my sunshine,
My only sunshine,
You make me happy,
When skies are grey.
You never know dear,
How much I love you,I love you very very very very very much!”
We modified the song to our liking but it was the moment after that I miss the most: the warmest hug in the world.
It’s been 18 years since he’s been gone and there isn’t a day where I don’t miss him. There isn’t a minute I wish I'd told him I loved him just one more time. Every morning when the sun comes shining through my windows into my room, I smile because it is then that feel my Daddy around me watching over me like my guardian angel.
I miss you Daddy. Miss you a lot.