By Yashovardhan Maheshwari
As I was travelling to home from my boarding school in Bangalore, my heart was palpitating and I felt I had no control over myself. The journey was extremely painful and so was my life afterwards. At 2:30 am in the morning my dorm parent came and woke me up in a sense of urgency as I had no clue of space and time and he said, “You grandfather is serious, your dad wants you home” and walked out of my room. I sat upright in seconds with a worry starting to engulf my body.
I immediately searched for my mobile phone and called my dad, mom and sister but nobody seemed to answer the phone, I called again in two minutes when dad picked up and he said that dada is not well and he is suffering from dengue so come back home and meet him.No questions asked I quickly packed my bag and left for the airport. I reached and in no time got seated near the gate my flight was scheduled to take off from.
In a span of fifteen mins, an elderly couple came and sat next to me reminding of my dada’s prime days, I burst into tears and went into an unconscious state with no idea of how I am going to spend the next 6 hours of my journey. Seeing the elderly couple reminded me of Dada and dadi and also the fun times I had with Dada. It sought of broke me from within but also provided me with the strength to travel back home and get Dada back home in a fit shape.
As my family members hid from me what had happened, I received a call from my friend and his first words were, Are you fine? I was like yes and i told him that I am on the way back home and will call you as soon as I reach. That was the first time I felt something was wrong and by chance while surfing through my phone , I stumbled upon the website of Navabharat and the first article had the image of my dada into it.
I realised then that Dada was not in the ICU but at the same time I was not ready to accept the reality and hence kept telling myself that dada is recovering and he will be fine. I kept praying to god that please take him out of this tough situation like you have done all this while and just kept chanting for dada.
Coming home is one of the greatest feelings ever but this time as I walked through the main door into the parking area of my house , my legs gave away and I felt that I sunk . There are no words that can describe what I have gone through in these two days , seeing my dada with no expression, seeing my dada with no life even-though it seemed like he would at any time just say, “ Beta tu aa gaya “
Even in this state of shock and disbelief as I look back at the life my grandfather and how I have witnessed the last 17 years of that great journey,i feel terribly blessed and honoured to be around my dada all the time and more importantly to have him around was a blessing . He was no ordinary man and that remains undeniable. He had something special in him , a spark , the warmth which I feel has suddenly disappeared.
At this time of grief, somebody told me that “ your dada lived his life like a king” and I couldn’t agree more because his life has been full of ups and down but the elegance with which my dada dealt with problems has been unparalleled in the family.
The warmth with which he greeted everybody and his demeanour has always been remarkable. He was a good man and his smile would reach his eyes leaving a glowing face in front of your eyes. He set benchmarks in everything for the younger generation which we strive to achieve as we hope to be the flag bearers of the legacy my dada left behind.
I still can’t fathom that I won’t see him giving instructions to dad or talking to me or my sister , I still feel that he is just going to swing open the door of his room and come out and speak to us, I still feel my dada is around me walking in the garden and I would find him sipping his tea if I go there but I know I won’t.
There are no words which can describe my dada, he had numerous feathers in his cap and had great fame , name and respect in the country but he never let it show. He was always so humble , so down to earth, extremely and unabashedly kind and believed in helping one and all.
He always told me that you always must help others and be nice to everybody, he strongly condemned the spirit of revenge because he felt that at the end of the day, your existence is defined by what kind of a person you are and nothing else.
I always used to go to him with some or the other unethical idea to publicise our newspaper or write news to attract more readers because I felt that the others were doing it so why should we be behind but he always used to tell me that others are doing it does not mean it is right.
He told me that they might be making the money and maybe more successful than us at this moment but we know we are right and the people who read us do so because they believe we will always do the right.
Once I had a conversation with him regarding shutting down Navabharat and starting something new, I had never imagined that Dada could be so hurt by something said by me but I realised that he was and the only thing he told me after that is not until I am alive. I didnt understand it then but I do now why he was so upset at even the thought because navabharat for him was like this 4th child and for me it is my Dada’s legacy.
My grandfather might have been the Rajyasabha MP and might have headed various other things but for us he was just our dada who cared and loved us passionately and always hoped that we excel in life and stay happy. He has saved me from my mom and Dad so many times and also has protected me form the wrath of my dadi by cracking some or the other weird joke.
Whenever I felt like , I used to just walk into his room and be like “wassup Dada?” And then he would be like “just watching a movie, come sit” and would spend the evening watching an action packed south-Indian movie and thats how I always spent time with him.
Dada always remembered any important date such as when I would have my SATs or maybe my final exams or etc and before I would make the call to inform him I would already find him calling me, inquiring about the exam and also about my future plans. I was absolutely certain that dada would be so proud of me the day I would get into university and I just wanted to see his face but that wish will remain unfulfilled but I know he will be proud of me as he sees from up above .
I don’t know how we will bare with this loss, walking into his room and not finding dada, sitting with him in the living, forcing him to walk all the time , trying to get him to leave playing candy crush and most importantly just listening to him speak have all become just cherished memories.
The house was his and he was the soul of this house, he was centre of attraction and everything seems gone now. He was the captain of the ship which now steers directionless. But knowing dada, he would not like seeing any of us like this specially Dadi , he cared so much for her and always kept her above anybody in his life because she is the one who stood with him through all the thick and thins and stayed with him till the absolute end.
He was a fighter and a true one as he has fought for his life at various other junctures in his life, he has snatched himself away from death and has managed to defeat all his problem but now as he surrenders , I feel the immense loss which I can’t imagine to put into words and I hope I inherit my dada’s fighting spirit as he is gone forever.
I know he showers his blessings on me and everybody else around me from wherever he is and his gap cannot be filled by anybody else in this world. My grandfather remains 76 not out.