Monday, February 16, 2009

my dear army officer

my thatha (grandpa, mom's dad) - a perfection demanding, brisk walking, british english speaking, melody songs loving, hindu crossword cracking, arithmetic wizard. but the icing - a very very short tempered man.

to give you an essence of the shortness - when he is tempered, a crying child in the next house will freeze, put a finger on its mouth, and put one on its mother's.

as a kid, i admired him for his knowledge, but avoided the army officer. i had to keep my radar sharp, lest i would have to undergo a smartness and sharpness check by the officer, which i used to fail consistently.

periodically, he would set a trap for the evasive kid, capture me, make me sit, and teach me wren-yuck-martin. those doses of grammar sucked, and the homework he gave, zapped my energy. even multiple cups of maltova was not enough to re-energize. (amma should have given me coffee then!)

i rejoiced when my parents moved to madras, away from thatha's 'guantanamo bay' - madurai. thatha-payrun (grandson) meet ups reduced, and even when we did meet up, grammar was not on the agenda.

years have rolled.

now, when i turn back, i notice that the little impeccable qualities, crossword solving prowess and peter-english that i possess have their dues to the seed implanted by my dear army officer.

today is his thithi (death anniversary - 9th). in his remembrance, i raise a cup of coffee to him, without any sugar in it, the way he used to drink it.

why is it that the scent of a person is more palpable when he/she is not around ?

i miss you thatha.


My favourite quotes said...

now i know where did ur writing skills (eng) came from ...very nice piece of work..keep writing more:)

passer by said...


catcharun said...

good one, current. i dont think the old man is to be blamed for he wanton peterness.

what is it with old men and educating kids, anyway..i knew this non-relative person who used to ask me questions, mostly math oriented. i attribute my math prowess (lack of it) to running away from him. when i grow old, i will give kids free candy and make them all bokkai.

Mak said...

Suma katha,,, all bu shit he has written... and people reading it are getting carried away with it.... I tell u.... he is short tempered (for people who could not take his disci...), he was my chella thatha... and i was his chella peran too in his eyes.....

Note- I totally dis agree in the caption "my dear Army Officer"

madraskaapi said...

thanks for your comments.

@catch - not just old men, grown ups have the habit of imparting knowledge they possess onto youngsters. forcefully sometimes. they like to see a little bit of them in little ones.

@mak - you, a photocopy of thatha, was his dearest. i don't even compete for that post :-)
you have a right to your view. but please maintain decorum when expressing it.

litterateuse said...

Nice :)

Wren & Martin reminds me of my mom's dad - he was an English Prof. and a writer. And for all the times that I successfully avoided getting trapped into a 20 min., "lesson", I'm quite certain it's his Grammar Nazi blood that runs in my veins. Now I regret having passed all that he had to offer.

As for "why is it that the scent of a person is more palpable when he/she is not around ?" Couldn't have said it better. Reminds me of a number very close to my heart:

To grandads :)


deepa said...

Hey payra, i gotto read this post only today...after a fortnight...anyways, a nice piece..good that u wrote...i remember him everyday...but you brought him back to life! Cheers to our Thatha :D

Inigo Fernando said...

first, may his soul rest in peace.

BTW, coffee without sugar and milk is the real coffee.

coffee with sugar and milk is an adulterated drink which people continue to call it coffee for lack of another word :-).

i see all traces of your thatha, except for the army-type discipline part. You should throw the Marlbaro packs off your balcony into the hudson. :-)

Fun with Boredom said...

hey... my thatha was an airforce officer.. i hv had all the similar experiences.. he hasnt been keepin well for over 2 yrs nw :(
I am nt in Chennai, I miss dose days, I miss him too :(