My dear grandpa
Sep 12, 2018-
I had just got back from Dharan. He was sitting in the living room. He looked gaunt and pale. He had been ill for quite some time. I checked his pulse—it was feeble. After some days his condition worsened so we took him to a hospital. All day I would stay with him even though he seemed barely conscious and oblivious to the world.
Relatives and well wishers would visit regularly and grandpa’s health seemed to improve in this time. Then all of a sudden, everything took for the worse. He began to talk different and would say things like, “I had my part here. I want to die in peace.” Clearly, the man had lost his will to live any longer. As I sat by his side, he would chant repeatedly, “ram ram…” in his faint, feeble voice. He was suffering physically while his mind was slipping away and I could not bear seeing him like that. His health deteriorated by the day so he was shifted to the ICU—but it was too late. Soon after, he died. In that week or so that he spent at the ICU, I would watch him for hours while he silently fought for his life, hooked to a CPR machine—there was no sound in the room save for the steady beeping of the that told me he was alive and this went on for several days until the beeping stopped. At that moment, I felt nothing, numb and unable to immediately process what had transpired. The people around began to wail and weep and it must have been very loud but I could barely hear them, as if I were shell shocked. Then tears streamed down my cheeks too, though I still felt nothing. Every year since we have commemorated the day of his passing and even still, after all these years, his absence is painful. He was the head of the house, the glue that had hled us all together and now I fear, this large family he had nurtured so lovingly, will soon fall apart without him.
When I was young he would walk me to school every morning. If ever I were upset, he would always manage to cheer me up, regaling me with the fantastical stories of his youth—probably made up but precious to me all the same. Every morning, he would be sat outside on his favourite chair. In the cold moths of Poush and Magh him and I would spend hours on this chair, basking under the sun. In a way, I must say, apart from being my grandfather he was also my best friend. He seldom helped in household chores but when he did it was always an occasion—he specialised in cooking only one thing, mutton, and I have yet taste anything better.
He was involved in all our lives and had advised us and guided us at every step. He would share with us hard learned lessons. After all, his youth had filled with numerous adventures but also of great hardships. His storied would often take unexpected turns and would be embellished with such detail it had felt like we the listeners had been transported to those “good old days”—for all his flaws, grandpa was without a doubt a consummate orator.
The funeral, the final rites, had felt strange. We were all grieving and were lost for words. We took his corpse to Devghat. Once the inscrutable rituals were done, his lifeless body was set alight. It was had been raining earlier that day so the wood was damp and the fire was slow. It had taken more than an hour before grandpa was properly turned to ash and before he did, I swear, he had smelled just like the trade mark mutton he used to make. I know this is gruesome in a way but also in a way, hilarious. It was just the kind of jolt I needed and I stopped weeping and began missing him in a totally different way. I felt happy for him because I remembered what a full life he had lead and always on his own terms—this should be celebrated, not mourned. By the end, all that was left of grandpa was ash and smoke and of course a story. A story of an intrepid man that had lived and loved to the fullest and this story still guides and inspires me in my life. Goodbye old man, I love you.
- Dhakal is an MMBS student at BPKIHS, Dharan
Published: 12-09-2018 07:56