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Thursday, January 3, 2019


Over the last 15 years, a typical January 3 morning would start with an 8AM phone-call to my maternal grandfather wishing him on his birthday. He would be waiting for it. If I were late, he would admonish me. While I have very fond childhood memories of summer and winter vacations at his palatial home in Patna (his dog was our sibling/fielder/lizard-chaser/tug-of-war participant), I think we grew close after my grandparents moved to a flat in Kolkata after he lost his eyesight during a routine cataract surgery. As a doctor, he could accept the fact that it happens in 0.02 per cent cases, as a human being, he couldn't. As his vision shut down slowly in the other eye, he had to give up reading, which he loved. BBC broadcast, music on AIR and conversations were his only forms of entertainment as arthritis restricted his mobility. He waited for my phone-calls and visits to Kolkata and then we would talk about everything under the sun over a plate of momos or kathi kebab rolls. I listened to his grievances, patiently, which is why he loved me more dearly. He loved food. My last memory of him is from June 2018, he biting into the third slice of Domino's pizza in an apartment in Pune while talking about Arab cuisine. A diabetic through most of his life, his sugar was finally under control in his last two years, much to his glee. What I miss about him most is his sarcasm that he deliciously ladled into his conversations and garnished with humour.

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