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.