letter

A letter to my ailing Grandfather

Dear Grandfather,

Mom called to say that you are very sick.

In the five second pause, between mom saying that the doctor offered little hope and her bursting into tears, the memories of you roller-coastered around in my head.

Memories of us may not belong in the Chicken Soup for the Grandparent’s Soul. You were a busy man. Retired from the military where you were a flight engineer, you set up a cafeteria, travel agency, telephone booth… You built a home for your  family and the business generated revenue and did not go under. The house had a big garden. Grandma had coconut trees, guava, custard apple, drumstick, spinach, a whole terrace wall of jasmine, lots of hibiscus, mehandi, curry leaves and this is where my memories begin.

The fact still remains though that I never felt attached to you. A chauvinist and misanthrope, we learnt to steer well clear of you early in our childhood. You were also a contradiction of sorts, you would favour some grandkid (s) over others, son over daughters, you know. However one can’t deny that you provided for your wife and children while they lived with you. You called my brother and I to the room on the first floor of the house and opened up your old trunk to show your medals. You told us how the war was, that you didn’t have to go to the battle field but stay in the yard and work on fighter planes. You loved those medals and went ballistic when grandma lost a few of them.

You loved your scooter (Bajaj Super FE) and would let me clean it. We loved that scooter – you and I. I knew how to repair the brakes, oil the wheels and get it to start on troublesome days and you let me.

I’m lost on details but you and your son decided to tear down the house and have these builders construct an apartment complex. I was there that demolition day; I watched how you caressed a last intact portion of wall with tears in your eyes. It was obvious that you wanted your son to have the best at whatever cost. Though a lot of people criticized you that day, I felt sorry for you.

Through the years that you were sick, we used to visit you and if we stayed more than five minutes, you would get mad and say hurtful things. We kept coming back because mom made us. I felt jealous and angry that you would have a daughter who loved you so unconditionally despite everything. You had someone to shed tears over your condition. Mom loves you inspite of… inspite of… you must have done something to deserve that love. If I have children who loved me half as much as my mom loves you, I would count myself very lucky indeed.

You asked me to forgive you and I asked if you would bless me instead. It was so hard to answer you. It is not hard to fathom why you are terrified to look at yourself. Now you are a mere shadow of your former self. Your eyes are like haunted pools of fear and confusion. It is hard to look into them. You are afraid to pray.

Grandfather, you may be scared, but we are not. We are praying for you – your grandchildren and children. We know that behind that terrifying veil, there is no pain. We believe in God and that when you meet him, life would not have ravaged you. Raising children, building a home, loosing things in life would all be behind you.

I’d like to think that you would be just a little boy to God, who would envelop you with his wide arms. He would guide you to streams of sparkling water like then ones you would bathe in as a child. You would look in and see your eyes glistening with merriment. There are no lines on your face, no scars that the world gave you. Maybe there would be juicy mangoes that you love there. You could eat them whole, the juices running down your hand and dripping down from your elbow.

Maybe God would pick you up and throw you into the air like your dad used to when you were a little boy and punctuate the air with your laugh that the world hasn’t heard in a long time. Don’t be scared grandpa, we are praying for you. We know that there is no darkness behind the veil, just God waiting to say “Michael, welcome home”

Love,

Archie

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Message from Beyond…

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap

Dear Reader,

Hope you are doing well.

By the time you read this, the tulips planted on my grave will probably be dead. Feel freeto replant them. If you can pitch some money for a few rose bushes as well I would be glad.

My name is Posta L’Ter , I belong to the great family the L’Ters. In my time it was a great honor to belong to the L’Ter family. We ruled the cities and suburbs alike. We were always accompanied by uniformed escorts. People used to gather outside their houses to receive us. The Famille des L’ters  descended from The Royal Family of The Mails of Communesbrugh. You used to see our royal cousins De Cards gracing functions and social events. They always dressed in bright colors, wore expensive coats and their visits were treasured for eons.

Our extended family by marriage were the T. Grams and sons. They were our foot soldiers if you will; running around checking up on people now and then. Courtesy was not their strongest suit. People often lamented over their insensitivity and we would soon follow hoping to soothe their hearts.

We existed with dignity, pomp and splendor. We took great pride in our customs.

Our reign did come to an end. Our great land was invaded by the Netisans. An unforgiving people they were. Their conquests were brutal, taking over by completely destroying the enemy. Few of us escaped and still managed to survive. Some traitors however defected to the enemy. They married into the Netisans and called themselves E. Mails. They were non-conformists, rejecting tradition, deeper and deeper they sank into a muck of identity crisis, getting on with the world and pure disrespect for the people they visited.

They did not bother to speak to people anymore, rather they just chatted, pinged, poked and posted in a devil-may-care way. They turned people away from the joy of receiving our royal personages, treasuring us and our memories forever. They have invented random alphabet clusters that at first don’t seem to mean anything, like they are threatened with a stint in the dungeons if they use vowels.

The golden era seems to be buried right here with me. The last of the royal MS. Ellie Graph of India was buried here this week at the ripe old age of 160. You may think I’m a bitter, pompous old twit for going on about things bygone. We ought to pave way for innovation no doubt, but a present that is built on the ashes of the past will never attain the true glory that the future could’ve had.

 There is one more thing I would like to tell the youth of today from beyond the grave… Pull up your pants if they get any lower they would be called ‘socks’; and ladies, the skirts you wear today were called ‘belts’ in my time. 

 Yours Respectfully,

MS. Posta L’Ter

Dilapidated Grave No 2

Golden Era Cemetery