I have known a nearly bald old man,with spectacles,for all the 19years of my life. The old man,who had been a pillar of strength for me. An extremely protective and caring old man.
He was extremely particular about what I ate. He would call up Ma to make sure I was eating right! He had a special fascination for fruits,especially mangoes!! :) He had a white cloth bag with which he would go out everyday and return with the bag laden with fruits. And since he loved mangoes,he made sure everyone had their share of the king of fruits,every summer. So,at the onset of every summer,I would receive a certain amount of money from him,just to buy mangoes!! Although I hate mangoes myself, I gave in to his demands of spending the "mango-money" on buying mangoes and having them too!! & that was quite a challenging and daunting task for me.
My studies were a cause of enthusiasm to him.Ever since i was a babbling,bawling kid,the bald old man was convinced I had the spark of a genius. Its a completely different case altogether, that noone else shared his viewpoint. But the bald old man was not to be deterred! I am told that in a school interview at the age of 3-4,I was shown a fruit basket filled with the usual fruits as well as cucumber,carrots etc. When asked what it was, I had replied "SALAD"!! ;) I guess the "genius" in me had let out its "spark" in the interview!! Now obviously you can all conclude what the result of that interview had been. But the bald old man had said "see,she gave such an intelligent answer! the school authorities ought to take her in". Such was his faith in me!!Anything that concerned my school life interested him. Whether it be my exams,or some competitions I took part in,my results,the new books that came in each class.....After giving every exam,he was the first person to know how my exam went. If i did not fare well in something, he would call 3-4 times a day to cheer me up and offer words of encouragement.
As a kid,I used to count him as one of my playmates. We would play all sorts of make-believe games,with him being anyhting i asked him to be. Station master,shopkeeper, bus conductor, detective, any damn thing! The bald,old man was also very interested in anything new,be it computers,mobiles,digital cameras. When Baba bought him a mobile, the bald old man was as excitd as a kid gets on getting a new toy!! He spent hours examining the mobile and discussing with me how it worked,how he could operate it,whether my mobile was different from his,whether he could click pictures with it etc etc....Another of his great loves, were watches.. He wore a watch at all times of the day,even while sleeping. A habit which has grown on me. And he was very particular about the brand of watch. It necessarily had to be Titan.
My birthdays were the days he would get the most excited. Even more excited than myself. & thats saying something! Really!! The bald old man made sure he was with me on each of my birthday,except for the last one. He would be extremely involved and wanted to know how many guests were coming,what was being cooked that day,what i would be wearing......The birthday present from him was always very very special..'coz whatever he gave me,he would make sure to write a few lines on top of it.. :) But perhaps the most precious thing that he has ever given me is my name, Deblina. The name which is my identity,the name with which i am known,and the name which will remain with me forever...
On my last birthday,the bald old man lay on a hospital bed,diagnosed with cancer,battling for life..Inspite of being so critically ill,he still remembered my birthday & when Baba went to visit him all that the bald old man asked him was how my birthday was celebrated! The old man passed away a day after my birthday,leaving a huge void in my life. people said he was 86,it was time for him to go.. I disagree. For an 86 year old man,with the spirit of a young child raring to go,full of life,& always enthusiastic & excited about everything,NO AGE is the RIGHT time to go,'coz such people are rare..Rare and unique..
I have so many memories with the bald old man..memories which seem like a treasure trove to me..memories that will cherished forever..memories of the man,who was & will always be an integral part of my life. The man who lives in almost everything I do..The man whose words and thoughts echo in my mind all the time..The man who has had such a huge hand in making me who I am today..The man whom I'll dearly miss.. The man whose place cannot be taken by anybody in this world.. The man for whom i was "Sona".. The bald old man.. The bald old man who was, is,& will always be MY GRANDFATHER......