Memories hold a remarkable place in our life. Nobody could deny it. It is deeply connected to our feelings. Some memories belong to particular events or actions that occurred at a specific place and time. Some memories belong to any living or non-living things or beings like plants, insects, birds, animals, books, food, pens, ornaments, persons, etc., These memories are based on a sort of relationship or bonding that we experience or have experienced with them. Among these loads of memories, we all have one unforgettable memory that has a deep emotional connection in our life.
I’ve one such memory that always keeps my Tātā beside me though he is no more physically. Among all the relationships, my bonding with my Tātā is exceptional to me because he is the reason for whom I am today before my Amma. I remember how he taught my school lessons from kindergarten to third grade. I remember how he wrote the questions in a long-sized 192 pages ruled notebook to prepare me for my exams. I also remember how I used to take a five minutes break before taking up his test and preparing a bit to pass his exams. I’m sorry Tātā, for that naughty cheating. I also remember how I used to cry when you erased my complete homework and made me rewrite everything to improve my handwriting. I remember how I used to sit beside you while sticking pictures in the class work and binding the notebooks. All of your practices made me manage myself after your absence and aided me to improve and change into an organized person.
While studying you was a strict teacher, whereas you were an affectionate and loving Tātā in every other action. Now, I realize myself as a part of you in loving, caring, eating, teaching, and thinking. I see myself as a replica of most of your behaviours and thought processes. I remember the day you got your pension amount and bought a package full of snacks for us and Rs. 10 Chicken Biryani especially for me. Amma used to say how you made her learn to cook biryani from the neighborhood Muslim aunt as it becomes a favourite food for us. Till now, my favorite food is biryani in non-veg and masala dosa in veg, which are frequently bought for me from both my paternal and maternal Tātā. I remember how you taught me to eat the mutton leg, where I used to sit beside you and take the mutton leg piece from the gravy and beat it in your plate to suck the flesh present inside, as you did. I also remember how I complained that “Tātā, it’s not coming!” when I couldn’t suck it and you would take the piece from me to beat it harder in which I forget to eat it and get mesmerized with that tok, tok,tok,…sound. And also I remember how you taught me to dissect the flesh of the fish without the bones, where I used to take an hour to finish eating a single piece and often complained that “it got stuck in my teeth”, “it got stuck in my throat”, and you would rectify it by making me swallow a small rice-ball. I remember how you used to bring me lunch to the school 10 minutes before the bell and wait till I finish the complete lunch box.
I remember how I used to hold your hands while walking, and how you, thangachi , and I used to dance the “puliyattam”, when you come home after consuming alcohol. We know that “alcohol is injurious to health”, but you couldn’t live without it and we also didn’t mind as we were very young. I remember how I used to be the only one to sleep beside you hearing your bedtime stories by embracing and putting hands and legs on you.
I missed you very badly when I got separated from sleeping beside you when you became ill. As a child, I distanced myself from you as we witnessed how you couldn’t stand and walk without the help of others and how you couldn’t control your urine and feces excretion. I remember how your health became worse gradually because of your long-time alcohol consumption. I remember how I distanced myself from you as I was afraid to see you in that state. I remember very well about your last days where you used to vomit blood often.
Whatever happens, I couldn’t forget the last three days of your life. I was glad that I felt sick and didn’t go to school during your last days and was at home noticing all of your actions. Two days before your demise you arranged to celebrate thangachi’s birthday and told appa to buy her chocolates to distribute to her classmates in the school. I still remember your consoling reply noticing my frowned face that “I’ll do the same for your birthday that comes in the following month.” The next morning, we don’t know what you thought; you suddenly asked amma to take you to the State Bank of India located at Ashok Nagar. I still remember that place where you would take me often and you’re the first person to introduce me to the bank atmosphere where I would stand beside you while filling the slips and asking you questions like “why are you doing this?”, and waited till we hear our token number in the speaker to get money and I also remember how I used to enjoy the air conditioning environment till you complete your conversation with the clerks. I remember how you compelled mom to take you to that bank, where we three went in auto after sending thangachi and appa to the school and the office.
I remember how you were sitting in the middle between amma and me and again you couldn’t control your urine and feces while returning. When the auto stopped near our home, I remember how I jumped through the window to get out of the auto; the auto driver helped you to sleep on the couch in our home while mom helped you to clean yourself and the auto. While she was doing it, I slept in the bed as I was tired and when I opened my eyes I saw you sleeping beside me on the bed. I remember how I silently came out of the room and laid on the floor of the living room. You didn’t say anything to me. When amma returned and said, “Why did you come here? Tātā has dozed off you because he has missed you.” I felt very guilty when she said that and decided to not repeat it ever again.
From that night to the next morning, your health condition became worse and you were vomiting blood continuously. So, appa and amma planned to drop us at school and take you to the hospital. The next day morning, I woke up and began to walk slowly from the bed to the living room and appa was holding the tub when you were vomiting blood and suddenly there was a sudden leak of blood from your ears, nose, and mouth and I heard the voice of appa in high pitch calling you and people from the neighborhood gathered in our home and did CPR to make you regain your conscious. However, I saw your frozen body and I realized that you’re no more when the people tied your fingers of your hands and legs and made you lay on the floor. I still remember the last rites we did for you and the last time I touched you where amma took my hand to apply the Shikkakai paste on your hair. I also remember standing alone by seeing your body leaving in a decorated cart.
There was some heavy feeling in my chest but I never cried. Until now, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t cry. Till today I regret leaving you in bed. Hitherto I cry whenever I remember that moment because I left you when you missed me. I shouldn’t be afraid of your illness. I should have supported you. I’m extremely sorry, Tātā.
You are the best of all I’ve ever had or going to have in my life. I missed you so much at various moments after your demise and cried several times at night for neglecting you. Though you’re not present physically, I can sense you and share my thoughts and happiness with you and complain to you. You still live in my memory and I always feel you beside me. Thus even death couldn’t separate you from me.
Love you Tātā.