Friday, May 13, 2011

My Grandfather

This is my fourth week of participating in the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. I challenged Christina to imagine she was a horse on a carousal and she has done a great job answering it. Go read it here, I am sure you will love it.

This week's challenge is really delightful and comes from Amy who writes at Transplanted Thoughts. The challenge is:
Compare yourself to your grandparents. How are you alike? different? Tell us a special memory you have of your grandparents.

I am very close to all my grandparents. I started writing about all of them, but it became very long and anecdotal. So I am just going to talk about my grandfather. Many thanks to Stef who helped me with this prompt when I was stuck and gave my entry a once-over and made it spiffier.

My father's parents lived with us when we were growing up. I have just a few memories of my paternal grandfather, like the way his eyes would light up when he talked about his children's accomplishments and the way he would argue with my grandmother about some seemingly trivial things. He died when I was about seven years old. When you lose a grandparent at that age, you have to treasure and safe guard memories of them so that they stay with you for the rest of your life.

I was about three, when my parents enrolled me in this awful pre-school because that was the closest to our home. I used to cry and throw a tantrum because I was a snob (even) then and I didn't want to go a dinky school. I think after a few weeks my parents were sick of my drama and let me quit. Years later, my mother told me that it was my grandfather who didn't let my parents put me in a nicer school that was farther away, because he didn't want his precious granddaughter to go further than a few steps away from home. He loved to gamble and belonged to a club of some sort where he went to play cards. He won a small sum of money once in a lottery (say something around $20) and asked my sister and I what we wanted. I don't remember what I said, but my sister said that she wanted a new car! (I am sure I wasn't half as ambitious and most likely asked for a candy bar). He was half annoyed and half amused and told her he would get her a toy car instead. I have a lot of memories of my father yelling at him, I don't remember why. My father tells me that my grandfather was an honest upright Public Works Department officer who didn't have an enemy in the world. I have seen an old picture of him looking very handsome in his evening jacket and I can imagine how dashing he must have been, driving a jeep to dams and other rocky areas for work. Dad told me that he was very strict and would not bend the rules for anyone. I like to believe that I am a stickler for rules just like him, a pod and we're the peas right? He was an extremely friendly person and would invite a lot of people home for dinner without so much as letting my grandmother know in advance. I wish I had inherited his gregarious nature too. I am gun shy when it comes to talking to people and I have just a few friends whom I hold close to my heart. My father is still in touch with people who gush about what a great person my grandfather was.

A day or two before cancer took my grandfather's life for good, he called me and my sister to his room. I don't remember his exact words, but I do remember him patting us on our head and kissing us. I am ashamed to say that I was in a hurry to get out because his room always smelled funny and I did not hug him or say something personal. This is something I regret to this day. Would it have killed me to have said a few words to him? I can still see his smiling face and his hands reaching to stroke my hair. Why didn't I hug him back?


Dafeenah said...

Beautifully written. Grandparents are something special and often we don't realize what we get from them until they are gone.

janani said...

Thanks Dafeenah. What you say is true! I think I will call my grandmother today :)

Stefan said...

Fabulous work!

This is a rich telling of the people you love and your voice really came alive here.
The nostalgia was blended in nicely and you weaved all the ingredients together beautifully. I'd have loved to have met your grandfather, he sounds awesome.

You rocked this challenge m'dear!

Mandy said...

Your response brings up many familiar memories of my grandfather and me as well.

I'm sure he would be proud to have such a beautiful granddaughter who writes so well! Great response!

Ram said...

Brings back all the great memories, the grandfather was sure majestic and a man of respect. Thanks for bringing back memories alive.

mcx said...

I stumbled upon your blog by accident. I was searching for my wife's blog her name is Janani as well. It was a pleasure bumping in to you in the blogosphere

janani said...

@Stef - Many thanks Stef, for the comments and the editing. Yes, he was a really awesome person and I wish I had spent more time with him too.

@Mandy - Wow thank you so much! I think there is something about grandparents, I haven't met anyone who isn't fond of them.

@Ram - Yes, he sure was majestic. Glad you liked this.

@mcx - Welcome to my blog. Hope you stay around. Did you find her blog eventually? :-)

Karla said...

Relationships with our elderly loved ones are so complicated, aren't they? There is so much we don't know and understand until much later... when it is too late. Your piece captured that sentiment beautifully! Well done.

Richmond Hill said...

The ending is poignant, and I'm sure you're not the only one in this world who carries the same regret. What you can do to make amends is to live up to your grandfather's expectations of you. Remember, the family is the best legacy anyone could have.