My grandfather was a force to be reckoned with. He was like a lion who’s roar would send all the animals in the forest scampering for their lives- but if there is one thing that cannot be denied, it is that he loved us, his family.
I remember, as a child, he would take me with him and my dadi. Where? Everywhere- to the market, to the temple, to school- even to Shirdi which is 1181 KMs away from Kanpur. I, being a very curious child, would often wander and lost on these expeditions with my grandparents. I was never scared though. I’m sure they would get worried and frantic, but I knew I would be safe and so I never cried or panicked and I was always found.
Out of his 6 grandkids, I think I was the one who spent most time with him- purely due to the merit of being the oldest. As the years passed, Shantanu and I went to Shirdi with Dadaji and Dadi again. This time we took them instead of the other way around.
Circle of life.
It is difficult to imagine life without Dadaji in it. Most people don’t live with their grandparents and talk about going to their home during vacations. I have lived with them since the day I was born. When it came to Dadaji- you could love him or hate him, but you definitely couldn’t ignore him. He had a presence that demanded to be acknowledged as soon as he walked into the room.
In the past few years, yes he became difficult to deal with, almost child like. I feel that it was just because his body could not work in tandem with his desires and his mind- that stayed sharp till the very end. Dadaji was a strong man in his youth. He used to tell me how he could eat 2-3 whole chickens or a dozen eggs. Just the way old people talk- I don’t know if it was an exaggeration. His fierce love for food was well known trait of his. He would make amazing mutton, chicken and fish- specially during Dussehra night. Coincidently, that is when God decided to call him back. My grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep during the early hours of the morning after Dussehra.
It is extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that when I go home, his room will be empty. I know that he was proud of me and of Rushit, Shantanu, Vanshika, Archit and Yashima. I know that because we are the only ones who could scold him and get away with it.
Dadaji made a lot of people cry but he was not shy about shedding tears openly himself. He was extremely caring and emotional. He would always make sure that everyone’s favorite fruit is stocked in the fridge before they came and our favorite sweets are there in the kitchen. He wanted people around him all the time and loved socializing. He just wanted the best for everyone and that sometimes was like a bitter pill that a lot of people could not swallow. But we, his family, knew that his intentions were always pure.
Dadaji will be missed. I wish my children could have met him, but since that wish cannot be fulfilled now, I wish he is in a better place that can encompass the grandness of his personality in its entirety.
Jai Ram Ji Ki Dadaji.