Thata, nalla irrka ma (grandfather, are you keeping well)? I thought I could hear him say, “Irrka, Dolma.” But then, Acchi (his wife) picked up the call and informed that he passed away. I struggled to console her with my choked voice, she knew both of us were broken inside to cope with this loss.
I was a naïve college student back then, hopping from one house to another in search of a temporary home I can call my own. Finally, I found myself settling deposit amount with a tall old man, Tamilian by origin. He appeared indifferent in the beginning, but as the time passed by, Tatha opened up. We managed to communicate – he would understand my broken Tamil, and I, his broken English. Every time, my friends and I would come home tired and lazy, Tatha and Acchi would drop lunch (a grand one, with sambar, rice, vegetables, curd). We gradually grew fond of each other, having weekend lunch together, laughing, eating and talking for hours. This is the rarest of rare gesture you would encounter in a city. Most of the landlords would scream at the drop of a hat, make numerous complaints.
Three years flied. Tatha would still call me, poking fun, “Job yipri irrka. Dolma, marriage la wesa aicha?” (How’s your job? Dolma, you are well passed your age to get married) I smile, and convince him that it is not a big deal for Tibetan women in their early 20s to be unmarried. He toiled hard (selling spices across states) to put up with dowry demands when his four daughters got married. Ironically, as with most Indian women, Tatha’s daughters adopted their husband’s family, and somehow, made their old parents feel isolated, and lonely. Tatha would say, “Lord gave me four new daughters (my friends and I).” We loved him like our grandfather.
This was another truth I should reflect upon. Impermanence is the cruel truth. Everything that comes, has to go away sooner or later. Death is inevitable. Live your life for the bigger purpose. At least, I would want to die peacefully, thinking that I did live a meaningful life. I pray I will.
You gave us unconditional love, Tatha. You are my karmic grandfather. Rest in peace. I love you so much.