My Grandfather

Foreword: The generation that grew up in India was privileged. We had the unconditional, loving care of our grandparents who practically raised us and played a big part in shaping our everyday lives. The generation that is growing up here in a nuclear, close knit environment has different memories – short visits separated by long absences, fleeting moments of being totally pampered, excited phone calls late at night and early in the morning, about spelling bees and and school trips and college admissions, sweet smelling gifts from back home of Amar Chitra Kathas and kaju katlis and Kurta pajamas. But the bond is as strong for them, the memories as sweet; it is the nature of this very special relationship between grandparent and grandchild…. Shalini Ramachandran remembers her grandad who would have turned 92 this October. in the morning dedicated to Nana, the best grandfather ever, who still lives on in the hearts of his grandchildren when you're little, and a leathery, strong brown hand is cradling your jaw, while another is vigorously brushing those baby pearly whites that have already begun to grow in crooked (but will straighten out after six long years of braces) you don't realize that each forceful scrub up and down, each instructional nudge toward the dusty mirror (so tomorrow, perhaps you can try brushing your molars without Grandpa) each tender sweep of your disheveled black hair behind your ears, each scolding chide for not bending down close enough to the sink and splattering Colgate all over the faucet, each gruff kiss on the cheek after a particularly scrupulous spitting session, each towel attack that leaves your cheeks raw but dry, nevertheless Will end. and someday, you will be brushing your teeth Alone in a moldy college bathroom, and you'll feel your hands habitually following the smooth motions of two Faraway, yet heart-wrenchingly Familiar, Loving hands that still seem to carry you, inspire you, guide you Gently into the world beyond the sunrise. Shalini's grandfather, was Umachandran (pen name) 1915- 1994, noted literary personality and linguist. A Gandhian and a nationalist, he actively participated in the Freedom Movement. As Executive Producer for All India Radio he wrote many Tamil and Hindi plays that were broadcast nationwide. A prolific novelist and short story writer of great merit, his most famous work "Mullum Malarum", a powerful and touching tale about the love of a brother was published in 'Kalki' and was made into a movie picturized on Rajnikanth in Tamil and Mithun Chakraborthy in Hindi. His many Hindi short stories were published in 'Sarita'. He died at 79 years and his swan song was published by the efforts of his wife, Kamala Ramachandran. His legacy lives on in his grand-daughter Shalini, Freshman at Emory College, Atlanta. Shalini writes regularly for her college newspaper, Emory wheel.

2 thoughts on “My Grandfather

  1. natraj

    that is nana in a nutshell caring ,loving always there when we need with his home grown remedies for every problem.Shalini you have articulated our feelings so beautifully

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