Grandpa you are truly what I called a gift

Neha Thangjam *

 Grandpa you are truly what I called a gift

Can you imagine that kind of breathe, the one that inhales and when it exhales, it takes your whole life away, that kind of breath, the last breath. My perception of dying has always been shaped by the ones I see on the silver screen and movies and have never given much thought about it until one day god has taken away the dearest person from my life.

Grandpa I am missing you so much here wishing you could have fought a little longer and managed a comeback like you always do. I lived with my grandparents for most of my childhood. They raised me from a baby. My grandpa was more than a grandpa, he was my father figure, a friend. He was always there when I needed him. He was a strong and determined men the type of man, who has an imposing presence for sure wherever he goes.

His mom died when he was still an infant and his dad followed soon. Inspite of all the hard knocks he grew up to be a great lawyer, yes, he is the 1st lawyer of Manipur and the 1st lawyer to complete 50 years of legal practice. My grandpa Naorem Kerani singh, born on the full moon night of Yaosang, did his high school from CC higher secondary school and later graduated in law from Allahabad university, in 1960 he became a Pleader in the All Manipur Bar Association (AMBA). Later he became the secretary of AMBA and President of High Court Bar Association.

He was also the founder President of the Old Age Home in Monsangei built under the All Manipur Senior Citizen Welfare Association. The Old Age Home is now a home for around 40 aged people who don't have anyone to take care of them (once when I visited this home after my grandpa's death they told me they also fasted and wept in the news of his demise and they can't thank him enough for giving them a place called home).

My grandpa was also a great orator and gave lectures and speech in many gatherings and meetings. He served as legal advisor and counsel in various government departments. A great teacher he was, many of his juniors are now among the best lawyers of Manipur. 2010 was a great year for him, he completed 50 years of legal practice and also celebrated the golden jubilee celebration with my grandma, Naorem ongbi Khuraijam Rani, the woman behind the success of this man.

And by the way I am the only one who knows their love story, how grandpa saw grandma playing hockey in Naoremthong ground and felt in love with her. I was always impressed by him as a child as he somehow seemed larger than life. I remember him finding time to play with me and always had time for me to sit on his lap. He always make me feel special.

As a 6 years old kid I would want to do the writings his junior lawyers did when he dictates it to them n guess what he would make me do it, recalling back now and having realized the value of time in one's profession, isnít it amazing how someone can spare so much just for a childís play and every night before I sleep my grandpa would tell me interesting stories about the cases he was fighting and everyday he had a new story.

I remember studying in his chamber and trying to mimic him and when my aunt beats me up my grandpa always comes to my rescue. Do you know he was the one who makes my milk in the middle of the night when my grandma will rock the cradle and sing me to stop me from crying, yes I lost someone whom I considered a father.

In my whole existence, I have never seen my grandpa enraged or irritated, he was always so calm and content and serene, may be it's because of his wisdom may be he didnít want us to see that side of him may be it isn't for me to decide but I can tell you he was one in a millioní. He was an honest man. On a lighter note: as a child I would go around saying doudou hasn't lied even once but my dad told me' lawyers are good liars and that doudou lie every day in the court and it surprised me.

He was my favourite Hindi teacher (he could fluently speak 6 languages) and of course a life teacher. I learnt a lot just being with him, years and years of guidance and wisdom that really helped me over the years to be who I am today. Unfortunately, he was taken away too early from me. I wasn't anywhere near done learning from this great man. My grandpa had kidney ailments since long, before it started to get worse he was still strong and smiling. He didn't let the sickness get in the way of anything and when it comes to law, nothing could stop him.

Even at the age of 78+ and with a chronic kidney condition, he kept burning himself in big fat books, going for arguments and teaching his juniors enthusiastically, I have never seen someone loving his profession as much as my grandpa did. And of course when it comes to meeting me during my vacation my grandpa made no grounds. The last time I met him was in December 24, 2012, he told me 'he wish to live for another 3, 4yrs' I cried at my heart because I want him to be there forever but I firmly told him doudou you will live for another 20 years and even more.

This year since march he had been sick without much improvement so I was planning to take leave the whole may and spend time with him but fate had it, on April 5th, 3.25pm, I got a text from my sister saying 'grandpa passed away' .

The death of my grandpa has hit me hard. I felt I didn't read the text right. I couldn't move. He can't be dead. He is my grandpa. My hero. My role model. He is supposed to be there during my wedding and see me become a great doctor. I was frozen in denial. I couldn't go to the funeral, seeing him in that wooden box, it wonít look like him. He can't go away just like that. I lost my grips on sanity that day. Nothing even mattered to me anymore. I was existing but I wasn't living. I lost faith in life. I tried escaping from everything even from myself. The minute I think I am past it, I start breaking down all over again.

All I wanted was to spend time with him the whole may, but simply one month was too long for him to wait. 'May be God saw you getting tired when a cure was not to be and took u with him.' This is the best thing I can come up with.

As days passed all my family can talk about him and accepted it but every time I say something about him I will start crying. Sometimes I just sit alone for hours just thinking of him in his last moments. Another heart to heart conversation between grandpa and granddaughter was all I need. I was wishing for another chance and counting every tear. My goal was to complete my medical soon and treat patients .Everything changed and life was nothing but a regret now...

After a day or two I saw him in my dream, so happy and so bright, in an everlasting light. All the pain and grief seems over. He seemed happy but he didn't say anything. 'May be some words are better left unsaid'. Now I am 101 percent sure that my grandpa is in the safe arms of the lord.

Finally it sunk in that this isnít how he wanted me to live. He would want me to make him proud. I know i am not the only one in this world facing such lost and when death occurs it seems unfair but death isn't an adversity we can conquer or a battle that is to be won.

And when death comes no one can fight to have the upper hand, rather, itís a natural part of life that comes sooner or later because our bodies weren't made to last forever and for that matter nothing is designed to last forever. Also, itís the event that gives life meaning. Without the timeline of death, it would be argued, we would never get around to doing very much at all. Remember those we love are never truly gone. They live within our hearts, itís up to us to make sure they stay!!!

'Grandpa you are truly what I called a gift', so now I can finally say goodbye. Until we meet Again.

* Neha Thangjam wrote this article for She can be contacted at nehathangjam21[AT]gmail[DOT]com
This article was posted on June 07, 2014.

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