Ode to a Grandfather

When I came into this world
You stood by the birthing chamber anxiously
One of two men pacing up and down before that door
Both rejoiced when they heard the indignant wails cried angrily
Floating in through the painful shrieking walls of Childbirth

Growing up, you were the guide
The wise old man who had all the answers
We climbed the thousand steps to Mahavira ’s summit together
You on your feet, me with you as my ride
The Sanjeevani in your hands
Issued relief when I was in ailing distress
I ran to you when my nightmares
Woke me up in cold sweats and shaking with stress
With a wave of a hand
And an incantation of your voice
You chased all the ghosts away
Turned off all my mental noise
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You taught me to hold a chalk
Held my hand through my first alphabets
Gave me my first paint-brush to wield
Told me my senses could be fine-tuned instruments
You rejoiced at my silly victories
And comforted me in my foolish defeats
Told me the same stories again and again
Never growing weary of those irrational requests to repeat

When I grew older
I saw who I would be in old age
When I looked at you
Your wizen yet noble and wise visage
At the end of my hardest day
When I’m worn out and breathing raggedly
Your memory gives me succor
And your words ring in my ears ever steadily

Even in your last moments
You held true to your word
You didn’t give up your final breath
Till you met me one last time at that momentous crossroad
As your vessel finally lay
Lifeless still, in calm repose
I know your spirit merged
Back into the Primordial eternal source

Even today,
Or until the end of my years…
Your noble memory
Will wipe my most anguished tears
Be a good human being and please all our ancestors…
May I live to be (to someone) all that you have been to me
Hear this, my ode to you my grandfather…
From now on till eternity

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