Thursday, December 17, 2009

Unspoken affection

I was then a young boy of twelve years.My maternal grandpa lived in another part of the town with my uncle.He was an old man in seventies.He was a widower having lost his wife at a young age and led a life of strict discipline and austerity.He wore only Khadi made out of the yarn spun by him in the charka (wheel).He rose early finished his oblutions and the puja by 6am to be before thw wheel spinning yarn for two hours.He was a disciplinarian,spoke only when necessary and was given to reading habits.He was spotlessly clean except for the snuff that fell on his dress when he inhaled it frequently.This was one ‘bad and nasty habit’ he admitted he could not get rid off.He ate less but was a gourmet relishing good food.

Whenever I had holidays after each term, he took me away forcibly to his place.It was a big house and he had rented several small portions to many poor families.There were young boys and girls of my age to play with.While I looked forward to the fun with them, what I detested was his strict regimen of study for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.He would teach me in the mornings daily along with a few other boys living in the house algebra and geometry for an hour and Englsh grammar from Wren and Martin for another hour.Learning Maths was fun but grammar I found a bore.His temper was short and he had a ferrule at hand and believed strongly in the dictum of sparing the rod and spoiling the child.I remember clearly that he used it only on me and not on other boys. My uncle often used to come in support of me when I got beat only to be chided away.My tears never moved my grandpa though I should confess he never beat me hard.It was his anger and inhaling the snuff before taking the ferrule in his hand that scared me.He gave enough home work to be completed and shown in the afternoon session.Besides this he chose one story poem daily and asked us to write it in prose form.

It was this story poem that I felt the hardest for it was dfficult for me to comprehend and to write in prose form. I made many grammatical mistakes.One boy who was with me always got his praise for paraphrasing the poem in impeccable and flawless English though he fared poorly in all other subjects.My grandpa’s anger grew more when he read mine after reading his and invariably ended with the ferrule coming into operation.This went on for quite some days till I accidentally stumbled on the boy’s table one book that was a key to story poems with answers neatly provided.That boy simply copied it and presented to my grandpa winning appreciation.

So the next day when he started praising him and hitting me, I spilled the truth.That incident witnessed the boy being dismissed permanently from his classes.He said ”Yes I was wrong in praising him and should have suspected it.But that does not in any way condone your poor work”

I remonstrated ’Thatha, you are always partial.You always beat me.Never once you have hit them.You revel in spoiling my holidays bringing me here always.I hate you.I don’t want your tutions.I don’t want to be here with you.Please allow me to go home.”

He hugged me tight.”Partha, you are my favourite grandson.They are nobody to me.I want you to be bright and do well in studies.Do not mistake me.You have opened my eyes.I will throw the ferrule away and promise not to touch you.Please do not go away. I am sorry” he pleaded.

I felt bad when I saw a tear trickle from his eye.I fell at his feet and said “Thatha, please forgive me.I know you are doing for my benefit.”

He said “It is okay.You can go home today and come after three days if you wish to.Let us finish the few chapters of Wren and Martin and a few theorems before the school reopens.” When I said that I didn’t wish to go, he still sent me back.

Two days later when I was playing cricket in the garden behind my house, my sister came running to tell me “Partha, thatha died an hour back due to heart attack.Amma is going.You also join her.”

An hammer blow it was.There was a big crowd as my grandpa’s body lay in the hall there.I could not suppress my cry and wailed inconsoably.I felt an arm on my shoulder and turned to see who it was .It was my uncle with eyes red and swollen in tears.He whispered in my ears “What happened Partha.He was depressed eversince you left that day and mentioned to me something about having been harsh to you.What was that?”

I remembered my insensitive words about my hating him and his pleading with me not to go away.He was not demonstrative and had never said even once that he liked me.But that was his way of keeping his feelings inside his heart.I felt that I was instrumental in hastening his end by my thoughtless and childish remark.I broke out weeping loudly to the surprise of the people gathered, “Thatha, forgive me, I never meant what I said that day .You were a pillar of strength and knowledge to me.I was an idiot in not realising your immense affection for me.”

I was gently taken away from the place by my uncle.


  1. very sad story KP...since all he wanted from you is to learn a lot...

    but when you didn't want to learn anymore, he was hurt so much...which caused his death...

    sad story of you...

  2. Dear Partha,
    Good Evening!
    very touching story,indeed.I want to tell you,earlier elders never expressed their feelings like love so frankly.we were scared of our Grandmother.they keep love in the heart.
    anyways God had given the opportunity to talk freely once for all.
    Whatever happened had to happen.let's now pray for the peace of the departed soul.
    each one of us has some guilt feeling buried deeply.
    please try to overcome those type of feelings n be grateful to Thatha for the strong base in English.
    wishing you a wonderful evening,

  3. Hi Parth,

    So you've chosen a sad theme this time... but the moral in it cannot be missed. And the little boy has your name too. :-)

    This story simply illustrates how life treats us.. or maybe to some who believe so - how God handles us. When life or God gives us 'challenges' or 'trials' in this journey we're taking, our usual reaction is 'why me?'. Why of the thousands of people out there must I be the one chosen to suffer?

    What we need to understand is that all that trial, challenge, or suffering we are made to undergo is definitely meant to shape or mold us into a better person. It's all meant for us to learn important lessons -- help us grow or become better if not be the best that we could be. All that is done for our sake, welfare, betterment, and good. We must remember that when something like that happens to us, it can only mean because --- We matter! We are precious! We are special! We are truly loved!

    Some lessons are learned the hard way. Some have a high price attached to it. And some cost us our tears. But learn them, we must.

    You are at your usual top form with this story, Parth. You masterfully struck home the message straight to the heart of your readers. Looking forward to more from you.


  4. Hi KP
    Very sad story today :(
    I have a tear in my eye ..

    Its sad how people you know become people you knew ..
    Its sad how you think you cant grow but you already grew ..
    Its sad how you can start over when your young but not old ..

    Sad memories my friend
    Take care ..

    Greetings Anya (@^.^@)

  5. I am amazed to see your wonderful collection of stories full of values and good morals..Its a library of Morals..:)

    Thank you so much ..!

  6. very touching story..i like reading your post..Infact while reading i thought it was a real incident...keep up the good work!

  7. you are back at your creative best despite being away for a while ...

    ohhh and this one is a lovely story ...
    there is nothing spectacular about it, the day-today, ordinary stuff, but you been careful and keen to brush it with amazing colors ...
    that makes the differnce, not just in this story, but in all ur posts ...
    there you go....

    i think truth dawns on us bit late ha? we get carried away too often umm

  8. very sad and heart wrenching story..nobody was bad, neither the grandson nor the Thatha, still they got hurt...this is called life.

    Earlier nobody expressed the affection, and never physically, my mom never hugged me, but today when she sees my daughter hugging me, she so much wants us to hug that way, but now we feel very shy.,

  9. We all learn from our mistakes. The child learnt a lesson too.Great story and very touching!

  10. Had tears in my eyes when I read it. Sometimes words uttered out of frustration can lead to immense regret later on especially if one does not get a chance to make amends.

  11. A sad and emotional but very meaningful story. We often in our daily life are unable to understand the depth of a particular relationship. We don't realise the real worth of feelings. And sometimes by the time we realise it is too late...just as Hamlet says in Shakespeare's drama 'Hamlet':
    "Had I but time...
    ...O, I could tell you
    But let it be."
    A wonderful story indeed!

  12. that was sad... a great loss..

    well expressed.. heart touching..

  13. a nice write though with a blend of sadness..yes, our elders care for us in every manner, it is we who often misled their way of showing the concern for us...

  14. oh my...ur story tears back tears partha. i bet the kids fav subject will soon be english grammar and wren and martin his fav book.