“12th standard board exams” these words merely are enough for any student to actually get a feel of all the stress that we had undergone during that period of 15 days. We’ll all remember for our entire lives all the academic stress and pressure that we’d gone through and also the hard work that we’d put in. But for me, it will always be something else that will come to my mind when I think about this time.
My grandpa, or Baba as I used to lovingly call him, was really close to me, just as most grandpas are to their grandsons. Most of my sweetest childhood memories were linked with him. He used to tell me about this one time when I had gone to my paternal village and there was a Pooja going on. The mischievous kid that I always was, I started eating the sweets that were supposed to be eaten after the Pooja. Not just that, I started going to every person present there and started distributing among them the prasad. This is just one solitary incident that I have mentioned here that used to crack both of us up every time we talked about it. Baba was a school teacher when he was young. So he used to tell me engaging stories about his youth and the way he used to teach his students. And of course, he used to help me with my studies whenever I asked for it. I used to take care of him as far as I could, you know like giving him his daily medicines, checking that he has blanket on him at night, ensuring that he taken milk etc. I felt that in this way I could give something back for all the teachings and love he had given and was giving to me although I knew that I could repay him for all he had given to us,and he used to like the concern that I showed towards him. So all-in-all, every evening we used to give each other company and both of us thoroughly enjoyed the chit-chat.
Coming back to my board exams. My grandpa had not been keeping well lately. But one could expect that. I mean, he was in his late 80s and it was kinda-sorta normal to start having some complications at that age, I guess. My 2nd exam in boards chemistry paper, to be precise. Two days before the exam, Baba passed away. I used to talk to him about all my future plans and dreams in life. About how I wanted to join an IIT after my 12th standard because I really liked to study math and physics. He used to inspire and motivate me to strive to be better each day and to keep competing with myself. I used to promise him that the day I will clear JEE, he’ll be the first one to know it not my parents, not my teachers and not my friends, but him. The night he passed away, I did not know how to react at first nor can I remember too much about exactly how I felt. It felt something like being punched straight in the face and being knocked down unconscious. Everything just keeps happening around you without you noticing it. You see but you don’t watch. You hear but you don’t listen. I was devastated. Everything seemed to be going in slow-mo. Leave out studying for the exam, I couldn’t even think straight. My grandpa was a tough self-made man. Everything that he had achieved in his life was by his own hard work and dedication. So, after everything in my memories related to my grandpa right from childhood to teenage had gone through an infinite loop that night, I thought about what he would have wanted me to do in the situation. We used to talk a lot about life, and how short it is. He had told me that whatever I did in any situation, I should never ever ever give up. He would have definitely wanted me to keep going. So I somehow mustered the courage to start working again with double the spirit this time for Baba. And this I did. Got done with my board exams. Aced the JEE. And here I am right now. Studying in one of the finest institutes in the country and getting a chance to compete with the sharpest brains in India, all because of him.
Now that I think about it, this episode made me a lot stronger than I was before and all his blessings did their job. I will always remember all that he had done for us and probably is still doing, not by his actual presence but through his wishes and blessings. I would be the luckiest planet on the face of earth if I become 1% of the good person my Baba was.And to convey my message to him in a few lines,I have this –
God saw you getting tired
and a cure was not meant to be,
So he put his arms around you
and whispered “Come to Me”.
With tearful eyes we watched you,
as we saw you pass away.
Although we loved you deeply,
we could not make you stay.
Your Golden Heart stopped beating,
hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us,
He only takes the best.