Wednesday, July 12, 2023

My Thaatha's journey

My grand father's name is Ramiah. I hardly saw a person calling my Thaatha, by his name. There was no one of his age, who could call him by name. 'Naana, Mama, chinnana,Abba'- I heard a lot of them calling him differently but, not by his name. 

He passed away on 4.July.2023. Estimating his age, there are several accounts. My mom was born when my grandfather was 40 years old. My mom is 54 years old. That makes his age 94 years. 

Other assumption is that, my grandfather is 8 years elder than paternal grandfather. who must be 80 years old, if he survived. Then, my thaatha must be 88 years old. Unsure of the documents that exist. Irrespective of how many years he lived, people declare that, he had a good death. He didn't struggle for too long to die. Everyone agrees on this. 

Multiple times, he survived through hospitalised visits and other ailments. I always knew him by his sheer grit and perseverance. As my mom says, he didn't had land, money or parents. He came to my great grandfather's house and worked in their house. Expecting an alliance, he always felt as family and strived for them. As soon as the promise was not kept, he walked out of home, found a girl, married and raised a family. His family comprises of 4 daughters and 2 sons. 2nd eldest daughter is my mother. The eldest daughter died due to ill health and the eldest son, Eeswariah killed himself. 

Penny by penny, my Thaatha saved and bought land & worked on it. As far as I remember, whenever I visited his farm, he had lemon trees. Also, Silk worm crops were there. There are couple of wells in which water was always available. Shared by him here and there- he went to far off places like karnataka and maharashtra to sell off his yield. No matter how far he traveled to sell off his crops, he always returned home to have a proper meal. He'd rather stay hungry but, not eat outside. Mostly he'd be surviving only on water. I can imagine him traveling with the crop and go to the big city, only to do his business and then return. If I would be in his position, I'd be wavered off by what the city had to offer. 

Back in his days, he has never seen homes filled with electricity. Electricity for the crops were a dream. I visited village, once a year, during my childhood. I remember him waiting at the pongame oil trees- the unsaid bus stop for the villages around. He was always happy to see us and walked us a great distance to the home. Sometimes, I remember being picked up by my mama on his shoulders.

He stayed pensive and grieved a lot for his loss. He lost his son, daughter, wife and has witnessed a lot of life. A hearty laugh and muffled voice. Will miss him walking into the house, whenever we visit the village. 

Whenever we came home, we were offered sharbath, a great electrolyte booster to cool off in the scorching sun. The house was simple- a huge porch and the two rooms.  Of two rooms, one was used as living room, kitchen and other as store room. There's no concept of bed room. We always slept outside. In winters, it's cozy and cold. 

We always came home during the summer holidays. As a kid, i didn't enjoy much but, whenever I came my mama or Thaatha used to hand me money which I always looked up for. 

Some interesting stories I'm amused of my Thaatha are he is a great walker. He walked distances. People of his generation walked a lot. The recent story that amused me was, he had no business with alcohol as he doesn't drink. During the election time, he was there where there was huge amounts of alcohol. He was also taken and put in prison. He stayed for a day and walked out of jail. He walked nearly 25 kms reaching our home, which is on the other corner of Kadapa.

He held a bet of 50,000 that TDP would win the elections. Till 2017-18, he put some crops in his land and had an income through agriculture. Still, I wonder how he'd just does that.  There are many more stories that I always got amused of. How does this frail person has such grit as well as kind heart. He always cared for his daughters. He lost his first son and the youngest son always had a difference of opinion with the father. 

The one thing that I'd regret is to not arrive home early as he waited at my home for weeks for my arrival. "Chinnodu bayatiki velliopothadu kadha, raani, kaluddham." The younger one would go out of the country right? Let me meet as he comes. 

He had to finally leave to village for his pension on June 31. As soon as he returned to village, he fell sick and couldn't recover. He passed away peacefully without much struggle. 

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