My Grandparents (maternal)

27-02-05_1601, originally uploaded by kartik kannan.

Zindagi ek safar hain suhana ,yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana .....(Life is one joy ride,who knows what will happen tommorow !!)

These words immortalized by the voice of kishore da and the onscreen prescence of rajesh khanna ....rings a bell in my ears every time I hear this song in the past 1 week.Life was going on normally for my grandfather last week ,as usual switching programmes on the telly and the occaissonal fight with my grandma and his son as to whether "kolangal" deserved to be played to or the ashes series...but all of sudden his asthmatic breathing problem showed up one fateful night , in the toilet where he probably was struggling to breathe...and given the fact that he had some constipation problem over the years,he may tried that extra hard to lessen the load on the stomach...which may have lead to him being a suffocated and lead to lack of breath which left him dead in the toilet...and its quite sad to know that this wasn't noticed by my grandmother as she is 85% blind,after fighting many glaucoma operations in the eye. She noticed only a while later that my grandpa wasnt at his couch ....and later to her consternation realised that he had not yet come out of the toilet...he went 2 hours back ...and then felt for him in the toilet ..as she couldnt see ....and when her hands touched his body, it was gone cold ..an indication that he had long been dead,probably an hour or 2. That traumatic moment of realisation that he was dead with no one around ....must have been really chilling for her.

and then in minutes my cousin who lived a floor above my grandparents ...came down and pulled out my grandfather from the toilet and laid him on the floor ,only to get confirmed that he had breathed his last and all of us got the info with a phone call at 3 am , that my grandpa was no more.When i got the news ....my stomach was churning with a fury that had never been witnessed since my operation last year....It was hard to belive that he was no more.

When i went over and saw his dead body, it just looked that he was looking at us .....with his eyes open , and i knew that never in my life would i get to hear that husky " helllou " on the phone ...from my grandfather.As i lay next to him ....my mind traversed a journey 20 years in time , when i grew up with them(my grandparents ) in the suburb of nanganallur ...the walks he often took me ....across the nangallur market....the times when he told me mytholigical stories ....of mahabharata and ramayana....

I even remember the times he used to pick me at my cricket coaching in YMCA in the summer of 92 often cracking a joke at my innate ability to get bowled often , the stories he told of his days in the army ..... and his english had a certain 1940's feel about it ...pretty much on the same lines as C.V.Rajagopalachary's ....small talk on M.S.Subbulaskhmi's eternal bhaja govindam.

The days we had a cold war as to who would beat each other to getting the newspaper in its unruffled virgin form reading the headlines first...was such an important daily event for me .There were times my grandma used to occaissonally glanceto me that the newspaper guy on his cycle was nearing our street,so I would make a quiet ,unpretentious dash to the gate and grab at the newspaper.I realise that there is no one to fight with ....all for 20 printed pages of news that one has hot with the cofee.

Even as I was recovering from the huge mental blow of reconciling myself to the fact that he was not there,matters got a little worse when some relatives mine came over feigning a tear or two ....that they always used to think about my grandpa...and blah blah ..blah..when they actually didnt even care about him.To see people like that blatantly pretending ....was like rubbing salt on my wounds .....and its even more hard to digest the fact that these shameless people are part of our large family ....

The most depressing part was accompanying my uncles , carrying pieces of burning wood , to the place where we had to burn him and the last rites being performed....seeing my grandfather amongst pieces of wood...and finally when the pyre was lit....My heart seemed to be on fire more than the logs of wood ........as I made the journey back from the cemetry to my grandpa's place .

I got to know life a little better that day !!! It was the first time I experienced sadness of a different degree,spent a day staring at a dead body, saw feigning hypocrites and of course ....wept inconsolably ....


Cipher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cipher said...

May his soul rest in peace..

Ram said...


I am really sorry to hear that. Hope your family is coping up well with this tragedy. I am sure that your Thatha is at peace.


Deepa said...


Theres hardly anything one can say at times like these..

Im sorry..

Anonymous said...

Came to your blog thru one of my friend's. Read so many of your blogs but never intend to comment, but this article realy shook me up. As one of your friend said there is nothing on can say other than.. Feel better that your grandfather is closer to GOD now.

Take care

Hari said...

I will read Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 as my prayers for the departed soul.
Pls read if you find time.

Neel Arurkar said...

Karthik, my deepest condolences.

Kartik Kannan said...

thanks a lot every one for ur kind comments .its heartening to note that one of u ..is reading the bhagvad gita for my grandpa , thanks a lot.

Dileepan said...


Very sorry to hear this. Take care.


Hemu said...

Mr Kartik Kannan, i am really sorry to here about the news about u'r Grandpa.

did read some of u'r blogs but this one shook me.

May u'r Grandpa's soul rest in peace.

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