5 years ago I got a message in the middle of the night. It was not good news.
I had never lost someone close to me (at 28 that made me pretty lucky), and the grief was surprising in it’s intensity. We all called him Papa: my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My Grandfather had been called that for as long as I can remember.
Papa was planning for the end since the age of 40. When he finally passed away at 92 I think we’d heard it all. Time is short, so make me this, I only have a few days left, so we must order samosas, my Doctor told me I had two years to live (not technically true, allegedly said statement was forced out of Doctor) so I had better live life to the fullest. And live he did.
He was a self-made man. He was a Civil Servant, a former communist and he had stories about the British Rule. He had lived in Orissa, Kashmir, Rome, New York and Delhi. He was the only person that could call a server “bearer” at a restaurant and get away with it. He ate chillis and slathered food at restaurants in tobasco and hot sauce with gusto.
Every evening he would pour himself a (generous) drink of Johnny Walker Black Label acquired from anyone traveling into the country that had access to a Duty-Free store. It was our ticket of entry into our family home. I will forever hold a soft place for it in my heart.
I wish I had visited more. I wish I had listened more. I wish I had been more patient towards the end when he had so much to say and few people to say it to. Although he didn’t go about it in the healthiest way (for the long term) he did wholeheartedly believe in living life to the fullest in the present and nobody can fault him for that.
We miss you everyday Papa. Rest In Peace.