Watching my grandfather sit on his chair and pass time, bored and yet helpless, waiting for the needles on clock to come to a certain hour, for the arrival of some people, is a scene in my house on almost all days. He sits waiting for us to come back home, to share with him the events of the day and make his life eventful. It is the poor old mans wait to share the life of the young, to make his life have a tiny shade of color. But then, the figure waiting is not given the whole time once we are home, for we have our own jobs to finish at home as well.
His marriage, lasted 58 years, before grandma died and now he is left to live in memories alone. He some times talks about their marriage, when around 25, a friend found a suitable proposal for him and after many a formality he got married. Sharing life ever since then and being there to watch each others back, till an year ago,there wasn't a world, without her, for him. She was his, through the smiles and the pain and its been a union, from as far his old memory could easily recollect.
Grandma was on bed with arthritis, moving with the aid of a walker or if the weather was good, with a walking stick, for more than a decade and it was his tireless devotion, which made her walk at least that much. A loving dedicated husband,and a good father, but with the old age and its toll, there is so little a world for him to exist in now.
A peaceful existence with family and news and events and being involved for 85 years and finally to a big silence now. Grand mom was the talker, the one who had a 100 questions to ask or share and grandpa the listener. Now with the speaker gone, there is no sound for this old man to listen to throughout the day and he doesn't fancy listening to the new FM stations as well.
I can close my eyes and easily recollect my childhood spend with him. He always had the time, to answer my questions and always had some work with me involved in it. He held my hand while crossing the road, waited for me in the railway station, solved my queries about farm animals, taught me the roads, bought me a hundred rubber balls, is now just confined to his easy chair and the walk to the church and grave every morning.
I was filled with shame, for no reason, while I was making him evening tea the other day. The tea turned out to be horrible, yet he had it with no complaint, asking me about a friend of mine. I asked him "what do you want to do? Start a small farm and spend time the agrarian way? travel a bit and go through places, you have once been to? See the changes time have brought in? Live in different cities and meet new people?" He smiles at me and says, "I am just happy like this, sitting with you."
I look at him and I can in a way feel myself as a kid all over again, sitting in wait for him, for my adventures to begin. Being a kid, I wasn't left to venture out myself, but then with him around, the world had a new bigger dimension. The huge pond near the temple, the small tea shop near the main road, which served 'chaai' and 'pazham porri' (Banana fry and I hope Melange doesn't find my translation ridiculous), the lake on the left side of the Edapalli Railway Station, every place I went to, near the home I lived as a child, was holding his hand. And now he sits, waiting for me to share my life with his. Waiting for the rubber balls, with what I could brighten and bounce his days.
I take him out to meet his younger sister living about 50 miles away and he sits in the front seat, like a child, fascinated or maybe struck by the change that has struck and the pace with which change is marching on relentlessly. He tells me many a tale about some of the places, we pass by, places he have lived, places he been to, places which had his friends, most of whom, who doesn't remain any longer. While we drive back, he looks at me and tells, "since you were there, the day had wings."