Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sweet and sour memories

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 41; the forty-first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "SWEET AND SOUR"

A couple of weeks ago, we visited Dad's eldest brother who was bedridden. Bade papa was all of 85, yet full of life and energy. He saw us stream in to meet him and the most radiant smile lit up his face. 

"Come, come, come..." he beckoned us in and motioned for us to sit around him. 

Badi Ma, dutifully arranged for chairs to be placed around his bed so that he could see and talk to all of us. His memory seemed to be failing him and he pointed to my hubby, 

"This is....." he tried hard to remember.

"My husband, S" I added helpfully.

"Ah! yes, how can I forget!" 

He turned slowly to my sister and recognised her immediately. He seemed mighty pleased with himself and clicked his frail fingers in glee. Taking a cue, she brought her husband closer to him and told his name. 

"Oh, yes, I know, I know..." he said, not wanting us to know he had indeed forgotten the names.

The kids came around and climbed on his bed jumping around, seemingly oblivious to the old man on the bed. 

"Sshhhh....get down this minute," I chided.

"No, no..let them be," he brushed my comment aside, "I like it this way...if kids don't behave like this, who else will? you and me?" he laughed.

I was scared they'd fall on him and cause him pain.

We spoke for a long time about the good times and he would pause to reflect on those memories as if they had just passed by. He was struggling to speak with the slur in his voice, and badi ma dutifully translated what we could not understand.

Finally we got up to leave and he hugged each one us lying down. 

"I might not be around the next time you visit here" he remarked, as I took a last look before leaving his room. A thin smile trying to form on his lips but quickly fading away.

A lump formed in my throat at the thought of never being able to see him again. "No bade papa, you'll be fine," I assured, not so sure myself, "don't say such things."

He simply nodded and smiled, maybe at my immaturity, maybe at my childlike wish.

We spoke about him on our way back home. He had been an inspiration to all of us with his vast knowledge, his thirst for education for every single member of our large family, and his sense of humour and wit. 

The next day we had been travelling back home by train, when Dad called us to tell us that bade papa had passed away that afternoon. It was incredibly hard to believe that the man we had seen in flesh and blood less than 24 hours ago was no more. 

Badi Ma told us how happy he had been after we left. Till he went to bed, he could not stop raving about us and our kids and the wonderful time we had together, she said. 

Sweet and sour memories these, souring before we could enjoy the sweetness of it all. But these are the ones I will cherish all my life. I am happy we were able to make the visit that day, or I would have lost the opportunity of bringing him whatever little happiness we did, in his final moments.

RIP Bade Papa.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 04


  1. Dear Little Princess,

    Nice to meet you !
    I am a relatively new entrant to the blogosphere and yours is one of the blogs which I have been reading for some days now. Couldn't comment earlier due to some firewall restrictions at my place of work :)

    You have a nice blog, with varied content. I remember reading your story ,' A Victory' here before reading it on Tamarind Rice. Congrats on being published ! :)

    The above entry on sweet and sour memories is really good and it did remind me of the similar losses that I have also had in life. :) and :( for that ! :)

    All the best ! Looking forward to reading many more such good write-ups :)

    All the best :)

    1. that was encouraging theMeinMe... thank u for all the kind things u said. it touched my heart.

  2. So sorry for your loss and yes, such memories last with us a lifetime. Precious, precious memories.

  3. Hi The Lil Princess,
    Happy to have come by your blog.
    I was an avid blogger a couple of years ago and now am back to blogging after a long hiatus.
    Glad to discover that there are reader worthy blogs like yours around. :)
    Bade Papaji's story is such a simple experience well narrated. A sweet and sour poignant memory that has touched the right chords in my heart, just the right amount of emotions evoked!
    I think I have found my fav' at BAT this time...:)
    and ATB

    1. I usually write fiction, but just having come out of this personal tragedy, i wanted to write about it, because writing about something always makes my heart lighter....irrespective of BAT, i would have written it anyway, but the topic of BAT co-incidentally was the same as my experience..hence this post.

  4. Loved this. Now, I'm your fan! :)

  5. बजुर्गो की याद को
    आशिर्वाद को
    पिरो माला बना लेते हैं

    बहुत खूब
    हृदय स्पर्शी रचना

    कभी हमने भी
    अपनी नानी की याद में ये कविता लिखी थी

    नानी मेरी प्यारी थी

    1. the elders of our family keep us connected, and losing that connect is traumatic.

  6. This is the second emotionally connecting story that I have read now in this BAT and this one is equally heart warming and emotionally connecting. Glad to have read it!

    Read mine at Aashish - Sweet and Sour!!!

    1. that's because, it's the way we have been brought connected to our family....basking in the blessings of our elders..

  7. Ah Titli, hmm. That's bittersweet. More bitter than sweet perhaps. But memories and life can be so, eh? My condolences.

    1. i wouldn't call it bitter, because it doesn't leave a bitterness in our hearts. it is more a souring, u know.... like sweet milk sours and curdles....a souring of memories that were sweet just hours ago....

  8. Touched Titli. I do not have words to say, my condolences to you. Good luck!

    Someone is Special

  9. touching..!! My prayers to your family..!!

    May Good God Bless You..!!

    Best Wishes..!

    Here's my entry for BAT
    Yamini Meduri

  10. death is the biggest truth of life,we only left with memories of those who left us.

  11. If it;s a true story, then my condolences to you.

    The post is written very aptly, specially the nuances of Indian way, specially badi maa arranging chairs. Wish it had happy ending.

    All the best!

    1. it is a true happening...and we lost bade papa last month. there couldn't have been a happy ending, bcoz, he was 85 and ailing, being in and out of hospital several times in the past few months.

  12. The cycle will go on.We should know well to cherish the sweet moments.

    1. well said...he taught us that even on his last day, by cherishing our visit to him..

  13. Oh, this touched me deeply, Titli. My condolences....
    ATB for BAT~

  14. Memories ... they make people alive irrespective of their physical existence in this world. Bade Papa, wherever he is must be very happy today ...

  15. Very flowing narrative, carrying with it the most appropriate emotions. Well written.


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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