Remembering Dadubhai

My earliest memories of my grandfather involves an old rocking chair. He would sit in the sunniest corner of the rambling old verandah reading the newspaper often accompanied by a steaming hot cup of Darjeeling tea and occasionally supplemented with a bowl of muri (or puffed rice, if you will).

If I asked nicely enough Dadubhai would put down his newspaper and he would tell me stories. Real life anecdotes from his boyhood, his life in a village so remote that he had to walk two kilometers with his bicycle on his shoulders to come to a track in the dirt that passed off as a road (by which I mean you could take the cycle off your shoulders and ride it to your destination). Stories about the village pharmacist who doubled as the school headmaster, a visionary who saw potential in Dadubhai and encouraged him to venture into the city to seek higher education. “Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity”, he would quote Aristotle. He spoke about his youth, his first month in the city which he would spend walking around aimlessly marveling at ordinary things like theatre and cars and even pitched roads!

Much as I liked Dadubhai’s stories, it was his poems that I was totally in love with. Dadubhai was a poet, you see. He had a trunk full of notebooks where he wrote beautiful poems. And on sunny afternoons when the rest of the family would be taking a nap, Dadubhai would take out one of his notebooks and read me a poem or two. I am not entirely sure I grasped the meanings of his verses, but the musical quality of his beautiful words always left me mesmerized. Dadumoni gave me my very first copy of “Tales from Shakespeare”, and it was he who introduced me to the magical world of Keats and Wordsworth which had a huge impact on my taste in poetry.

Dadubhai also taught me to love afternoon soaps and Rabindra Sangeet. He also taught me the correct way of making tea, how to build sand castles on sea shores and how to laugh without restraint, to forget the world around and give in to the humor in the moment and just laugh.

Dadubhai died when I was fifteen.

It was a balmy spring afternoon, the air was thick with the creamy sweet scent of magnolias. There was not a wisp of cloud in the dazzlingly blue sky. The perfect afternoon for a poem, I remember thinking. But the rocking chair on the sunniest part of the rambling old verandah was empty. A newspaper sat neatly folded on a small table by the rocking chair hiding a tattered blue green notebook. I slowly picked up the notebook and began to read.

“I may no longer be by your side, buried in a meadow on an isle
But every time a magnolia blooms
Think of me and smile.” 

#IndiMarathon #tatazica #tatazicamarathon #impact 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.