Growing up as an only child of parents who had eloped from home and tied â€˜the knotâ€™, I grew up mostly alone, not knowing the bonding and the friendly fist fights with my siblings, not knowing what it felt like to piggy-ride my uncles, not knowing the pleasure of sleeping in a grannyâ€™s lap her lullaby paving the way to my dreams.
Walking home from school, the water bottle dangling on my neck, talking to every plant on the way, kicking every stone on the road, the 5 minute path for any normal kid took me more than double the time to reach my home. That day, walking home on a similar fashion, I saw an old man sitting on one of the shop verandahs eating groundnuts. In love with hot groundnuts and curious about old people with wrinkled skin, I went closer to examine the manâ€™s face and he offered me a handful of groundnuts. This small exchange developed into a strong friendship, as the days passed, our relationship too got stronger. I knew not where he lived or who he was, he never asked me who I was, what I did. It was a simple relationship founded on trust and mutual love. He used to call me â€˜babyâ€™ for he never asked me his name, nor did I tell him mine.
One exceptionally sunny day as I found my dadu, for that was what he wanted me to call him, sprawled out on the verandah of the same shop where he always used to wait for me. What was strange is, he always knew when I would come and would sit up and look out for me, but today, he was lying down, â€œmaybe he is asleepâ€ my little head said. But I never realized it then, that he was asleep, and that he would never wake up again.
Was it the twist of fate or some strange planets had aligned themselves in a pattern never seen before, I could never be sure of. But it was strange, the way I met my dadu, the way I became his baby, and strange way he left me, without saying good bye.Â
PS: I have not been able to title this post, so that should explain the three dots…Â