An atlas cycle. Big One. My Grandpa was tall. Would be somewhere around 6′. He customized his cycle to make space for a small seat to place a tiny toddler on it. Yep, that would be me.
I would sit with my legs stretched out and hands on the bell or on something placed in the basket in front. Being the first-born has a lot of perks. You are the centre of attention. Even more, when you happen to be plump and chubby. Oh, yes I was.
Most of my memories of childhood are centred around my grandparents. I used to tag along with them wherever they went. Places I dream of going now, as a kid I have visited a few of them already. Although I hardly remember any!!
My dada has a big influence over my life. I look through the society from his borrowed glasses. My political or religious views, eating habits, to care about anything other than myself and things which I’m yet to experience are all acquired from the old man.
I don’t know whether its old age or a typical dada, bragging about his grandkids for anything under the sun was what he loved to do. Especially among his friends. Relatives ? Well Dadi handled that.
It has been more than 7 years since he passed away (May Allah grant him Jannat), and a lot has happened since. I’m sure that he would have been proud to see his grandkids just become grown ups.
I remember when he kept the cut-out of a write-up I wrote in The Telegraph as a symbol of his own accomplishment.
He was there when I was a kid who won’t stop crying while going to school for the first time. He was there to bring me my first bicycle. He took me to my first ever boat ride. And perhaps a lot of firsts which I can’t recall now.
Our story was similar to the Dhara ad and as mush as the advertisement is nostalgic, it is a reminder of our relationship as well.
(Pic Courtesy: Youtube Video grab)
I remember him even mocking me when I used to complain about anything to Dadi , turning into a one-step Shammi kapoor doing the same. Or even when I used to cry about anything. I hated it back then. But now, it’s those instances which paint a picture of the old man. Must add, he was famous as “Ashok Kumar” back then.
He taught me a lot of things by not actually pushing me to do any of it. He asked me to bring the newspaper as soon as it dropped in the veranda to make sure I inculcate the habit of reading. He used to take me to the mosques and even though instead of praying, I would be at my mischievous best, he’ll still take me. I remember we used to go to different mosques every friday and on our way back, visit a relative who stayed nearby. It was our ritual.
As we grew up, my sister who used to always listen to him and follow the same schedule as he did and my Brother who from the start itself loved the family business, more than I would ever do, became his new favourites. Or as I used to think. I was an attention-seeking child you know.
I was there when he got really sick. I wasn’t when he breathed his last. I wish, I was.
But I can see a lot of him in the way I see things, understand them and relate the world around me. I miss Dada!
This post was written in association with Indiblogger for HDFClife for their Apne ko apne dum pe jeena sikhao campaign. You can check out the video which brings out the perfect story of how “Apne ko apne dum pe jeena sikhao” by HDFClife.