July 19, 2007

Velluppa - My Grand Father

While walking towards my office today morning I got a call from my brother back in India, I was a bit worried when I took the call at an unusual time. He was calm when he told me that Vellupa, our dear grand father has expired. At first I was a little shocked, I thought I will cry but I did not and I am surprised at the numbness I felt and is still feeling about it.

Velluppa, my mother's father was the one who looked after me till the age of five when I stayed at my mom's house. My mother got employed in government service as soon as my younger brother was born, she found it difficult to leave both of us at home while she went to work. I was a very troublesome kid then, so she had left me with my grandmother and grandfather. I lived with them for quite sometime (I do not remember how long), till I was five when I started going to school.

My grandfather was one of the most humble and soft spoken personalities whom was acquainted with in my childhood, and I am sure he has gifted me some of this behavioural traits to me as well. But for the naughty kid I was, I still remember the many occasions when he has beaten me for creating problems. And I still have good memories of those days when he took me for the daily walk and the trips we have made to Kara Vakkadapuram and Kodungallur Bharani, specifically I remember the incident when I lost one of my chappels in a crowded bus while returning from Kodungallur.

I know no other person who loved walking as much as he did. He used to get up at five in the morning everyday and would go to a teashop in town to drink tea, and then for his morning walk. While he was still working as a teacher in the near by primary school, he used to walk long distances after his job hours. After he was retired, and got affected by old age illnesses, he was forced to discontinue his morning walk by doctors and his children. But still he continued his evening walk, as he did not have many friends of his age he started making a trip to nearby houses of his son and daughter after his usual visit to the village market.

He always wore white shirts and white mundus, he was an orphan from childhood and had only one elder brother who is no more. His wife, my grandmother also expired ten years ago while I was studying in 10th class. I am sure he became alone after that, though he stayed with his elder son and grand children. Even being that old, he still had a good health and vision, only disability was with hearing and we had to talk loud to him. My mother used to tell that his good health was due to the walking that he did all his life and she used to encourage us to do the same.

It was one of these evening walks during last week that he got hit by a cycle and got admitted to hospital. He had to undergo a head operation two days back, and was improving in strength. But he left us last night when it was raining heavily as told by my brother. The news was not a surprise to me as I new that he was in hospital, but I am still surprised at the numbness I feel towards it. Am I slowly changing to the American way of living where you have no time to worry about anything else but only you?!

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