Sunday, June 16, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 35

The Last Photo

My dad was not expressive about his emotions. He was very rational person and never knew how to use words to his benefits. In fact, he would usually say something out of place to embarrass us. I don’t remember him expressing his love in words, until Rayyan was born.
With Rayyan, I saw a completely new personality of my dad. Being very stoic and non-expressive person throughout his life, he suddenly felt like being a very loving person towards his grandson. He was torn between his new personality and an image he had maintained so far. Finally the grandfather lost to the other guy. He was always busy working from morning till night, purchasing products for Joy Ice Creams and his work was his life. Fortunately, as he retired and was at loss as to what to do, he found Rayyan to chase away his boredom.
We were shocked to see him stand by and watch my mom wash Rayyan’s cotton diapers and clothes to point out if she missed a spot. Then he would dry them out carefully and secure them with clothespin. He would watch out that no birds would dirty them. Once they dried up, he would iron them all neatly; yes, that included the diaper clothes. He would put them neatly in the designated basket for use.
We were rarely carried and pampered by him, but Rayyan and later Farheena both got the luxury of outing being carried or pushed in a pram by him. I feel his love for Farheena went a notch above of that he had for Rayyan.
Rayyan called him “Bappa” and would usually want his grandpa to pick him up. When my dad went through cancer treatment and lost his hair, Rayyan, who was nearly a year and half, started calling him naana, and would not agree that Bappa and Naana were same, though he agreed that he loved both of them the same.
When Rayyan went to school, he did not have heart to leave him behind and sat there until his classes were over for a whole month. I pleaded with him not to do it, but he was stubborn. He wanted to be sure that no one would bully or trouble his grandson and would choose a spot from where Rayyan was visible to him but not to near so that Rayyan wouldn’t notice him.
When Rayyan was going to school in Byndoor I did not use laundry blue for his uniform shirts. My dad when he came visiting us was shocked that his grandson was wearing such an unkempt shirt and immediately he sat down to wash his shirts. He scrubbed it sparkling clean with soap and finished by bluing his shirts in right proportion and finally ironed them neatly. I have to agree he put me to shame with his meticulous job.
He usually purchased fresh fruits for Rayyan and would declare to the shop keeper, “This is for baby, please do not give me stale fruits”. I can still recall his exact words and the earnest way he would say that. He would also buy vanilla ice cream cup for Rayyan and would request for fresh cup.
Once a very healthy and fit person, my dad slowly fell victim to cancer, accident that damaged his hips and a delayed replacement surgery that made him dependent. It was a torment to watch him suffer without being able to move around much.
Slowly he became cranky, especially after my mom passed away. At that time, though we all loved him, it was not easy to deal with his constant demands and nagging which would continue for quite some time. He would have a list of tasks for Rayyan when he came back school. He would not wait until he finished one thing to demand the next …. This would irritate my sister-in-law (brother’s wife) who would ask him to give the poor child a break. Rayyan would calmly pacify her and say, “It is OK aunty. He has done a lot more for me earlier. He is frustrated and angry not being to do all the work himself. Let him repeat what he wants … it is not a big deal”. He would calmly finish whatever his grandfather asked him to do. He would also sit and listen to his stories of past which meant a lot to my dad. My dad would want to know few updates about the happening in the village and Rayyan would narrate it to him. It was a special feeling to see the person who gave me life sharing companionship with a child I gave birth to.
The strongest thing that pulled us hard to come back to India from USA was my dad, who we wanted to be with in his last days. My dad had another fall and changed quite a lot by the time we came back. There was some mess up of diagnosis after his fall and he was completely bedridden. He slowly recovered a bit more after we came back and he underwent another surgery. We bid him a final goodbye on 9/9/2009.
My dad never posed for photographs and it was with great difficulty that we would get his pictures. During his last years he completely refused to be photographed at all, other than one time when he wanted a picture with his grandson. Rayyan was wearing a white blazer and my dad was overjoyed to see his grandson all dressed up. I was so taken aback when he requested me to click his picture with Rayyan. This was his last photograph, but it reminds me of how much he admired and loved Rayyan. There are lot of stories of Rayyan with his grandpa, but that is for another day…….

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