It was a fine Monday morning. A young boy was brushing his teeth whilst preparing for school. But his main focus was not in whitening the teeth but in a wish for an excuse to skip school. He got one, one that even years later, he repents. It was the third period at School. Time for Hindi class test on the chapter Vayayam when the office peon came rushing into the class calling out the name “Abir Soni”. In spite of several rounds of question, the peon didn’t silent the boy’s quest. Finally, at the reception, he saw his cousin and uncle who just told him that “dadaji” is sick. All three of them then took off in the car to pick up the younger most member from another school. On the way to home, both the kids heard the word “expire”. Unable to crack, both scratched their head. Having reached home, I saw my father, the strongest man I knew, in white clothes and red eyes. Dadaji was no more. My friend, our beloved Daddy was more! He was gone just like that! How can he ditch me! I just met him the previous day! He was unwell and in pain, I massaged his feet and he said he was feeling better!! I requested him to come to our house! He promised he would! But I didn’t know he would be so honest with his words! Dadaji and I shared a very special bond. Not like the one most grandchildren share. I met him only once a week since he and dadi lived at a different place. But whenever we met, it was our little custom to sit together and talk. I was not allowed to sit on the chair, since my chair was his lap. The children who live with their grandparents don’t know the value. Ask someone like me and you’ll realize.
The greatest happiness for me was when dada and dadi visited our home. I always wanted them to stay at ours but they had their reasons. So whenever they visited, my main objective was not to let them go! I used to cry my eyes out, hold them by feet and get dragged along, make them sign on the paper that they’ll come to stay with us soon and even lock the main door so that he couldn’t leave. Sometimes the trick worked, but most of the times it didn’t. My grandpa wasn’t in the army, but if you had met him, you would have wondered what rank did he hold. Slim trim, well combed hair and a routine, that most of us would compromise for an extra hour of sleep. He was a man of principles and virtues. Not just that, he also had a huge sense of sarcasm. Being the headmaster at my father’s school, he didn’t give dad much privileges. Rather as dad recall many a times, once when he didn’t get up for school, dadaji brought in the entire section to wake him up! Even on his final day, as my aunt quotes, dadaji was all dressed up, suited booted as he always would, with his specs in his pocket, just when he sat down and signaled a last goodbye. Thinking about the past sometimes, I feel I should have ditched school and stayed over. Maybe, I could have heard him call me, for the one last time. It has been over 14 years now, yet every morning starts with the phrase, “Nanaji Dadaji please bless your child”, a statement I created years ago just remember my old friends. I know somewhere he’s reading this with a smile and has already jotted down several errors that I have made.
I hope Dadaji, that I make you proud someday!