In this world where money and position has become a top most priority, we lead a life as if we take our family for granted. But in reality am sure that most of us will be ready to sacrifice anything for the survival of a family member. It is our family that we can depend upon as a solid rock; of course God is in a totally different league of support so I mean this apart from him. In India we value relationships and we have been brought up that way. It is great when relations are there and you are there for each other as a family but we need to give the much needed space and allow them to grow and not breathe down each other’s neck as it will only tend to crack the beautiful tie. We are like the sections of an orange which are similar but not identical. Each one is distinct in his/her own way.
I am thankful to God for giving me a taste of heaven on earth with a lovely family. I have had the privilege of growing up with grandparents, a boon which not many are blessed with. I just feel that a child needs a grandparent around to feel more secure in the world. They are able to give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. The wisdom they pass on to us can never be matched even by the best of the best class rooms. I would like to dedicate today’s article to four beautiful souls who helped me to grow to the person I am today, my maternal and paternal grandparents.
Joe Thatha, my mom’s dad was a sweet heart, a zoologist, a musician, a photographer, he had many sides to him, but above all he was a lovely human being. He not only taught his students Zoology but also taught them by example how life is so much more worth living if you help others and take the path which will be a testimony to the Lord. He was an animal lover and had pets ranging from crocodiles to dogs. His house in Jothi Nivas was hardly locked and was filled with fun and laughter 24/7. He passed away quite early but the little memory I have of him are wonderful. He could not walk for long or strain himself too much as he had a deadly combination of a weak heart and diabetes but he never hesitated to carry me or play with me. I used to be taken for rides in his Silver Plus(a kind of bike in those days) and even had a special seat designed to accommodate me in that scooter. We used to play see-saw quite a lot. He was quite proud to take me around and introduce me to everyone right from the fish mongers to his colleagues. I can still remember the twinkle in his eyes when he used to smile and mind you I have never seen him frown. It is said that a person lives through his deeds and in that context Joe Thatha has done a tremendous job, there are friends who still talk about his deeds 24 years after he left this earth and quarter of a century to live in the minds of people is only possible for a legend and I can proudly say that my Joe Thatha was a legend in his own way.
The next grandparent is my Addy Gaga, an English professor; it was she who inspired me from a very young age to take up Literature. She was a woman with a heart as soft as cotton, but if you had rubbed her on the wrong side you would have got to witness the steel woman within her. She lived life in all it’s glory. No one can forget her humor, love and laughter. She was a favorite sister, athai, chithy, periamma, cousin, all-in-one. There was no one who could not get along famously with her. She was fiercely protective over me and believed in giving me the best, from holidays to education. Usually if you are scheduled to study during your holidays you would detest it but somehow she made it so much fun that I used to love going to Tuticorin for my vacation. I used to board the bus with her the night school closes and will have a month of fun. She imbibed the reading habit in me and made me read classics at a very young age which was so useful when I did my Under Grad in Literature. She was diagnosed with cancer but till the very end she had the will power to live on even with the pain. She has been an inspiration to many and has influenced me more than I can explain. I miss her till this day as she eventually lost her battle with Cancer. There is not a day I have not thought of how things would be if Gaga was around. Am sure she is filling heaven with laughter and Thatha is filling it with his music.
My paternal grandparents lived with us for very many years. I have not seen such caring yet non-interfering people who were there to advice us but let us lead our lives. I am sure that it needed a lot of self control and maturity and God’s guidance to do that. The love they showered on my mom was amazing. She was pampered more than their own daughters, which is definitely a rarity. My Thatha, was a retired Deputy Collector but I guess we could never take the job out of him as till his last breath he was running around to do something for the colony we live in. He was 90 years old but used to walk and take buses in order to go to the various government offices requesting for good roads and water supply for our area. He believed that no bribe was the way and his perseverance paid as we finally got what he worked hard for. He was the administrator of our house and am sure that my dad didn’t know which bill came in when as my Thatha kept a tab on everything. He believed in the Lord up above and the love he had for my Bama is simply mind blowing. They used to bicker like kindergarten students but end of the day couldn’t be without each other. Even death couldn’t separate them. Thatha went to the Lord four months after Bama did as he just couldn’t digest her loss. He has taught us how to live lives wisely and how to love your spouse.
My Bama, Dad’s mom, was a marvel. She lost her eyesight when my dad was in school but that didn’t make her sit in a corner and mourn. She equipped herself to carry on with all the daily chores and bring up 6 children the right way. Her love and understanding of Jesus was amazing and she has touched so many lives through her belief. She was the one who taught my mom how to cook. Each day some delicacy will be waiting for me when I get back from school and it used to be yummmmmmmmm. The love she had for my mom knew no bounds, I have never seen a mom-in-law care for her daughter-in-law this way. She was always on the lookout for my mom and made sure that she got that extra special treatment by everyone. Even in her death bed when she refused to eat food, the only person she was ready to listen to was my Mom. She is a lady he who was stronger than Jhansi Rani and her love will live on for generations.
I miss my grandparents but am glad I got to know them personally. I hope I have imbibed some characters from them. Even if am able to take just one character from each am sure I will be a great human being. I am proud to have had such wonderful, god fearing human beings as my grandparents and I hope and pray that someday I will make them proud. I understand that this article is long but I feel that even this is too short to describe four lovely inspirations of my life. And I would not be doing justice if I don’t dedicate even one article to them. Love you Thathas, Gaga and Bama.