Friday, April 29, 2011

To The Most Wonderful Man I Have Known. With Love.

A year ago I lost the man who had been the biggest and best constant in my life. Mere words aren't enough to describe how amazing a person he was. Still, we tried to him justice.

My grandfather's eulogy, written by cousin Scribbler and myself. 

Most of us who are here are here because we knew my grandfather --- whether as L, or uncle, or Irmao, or Padrin, or Mr M, or Daddy, or Papa. Some of us will, indeed, remember him most vividly for pinching our cheeks really, really hard. So since we all know him, it hardly seems necessary to talk about him --- but perhaps this will help us relive some memories.

Ever since Thursday, when he left us, I have been thinking that I will never be privileged to meet a more gracious person than him. We all know that, despite not having much education, he took every opportunity for learning in establishing a career, moving up from being an accounting clerk at West End Watch co, to being the General Manager, the first non-white person to hold that position. But many of us will also know that along with this achievement, Papa never forgot his duty and responsibility to share his success with others and help them make their own successes and build their own futures.

He was such a kind man and a generous one. Generous to a fault maybe, always giving without counting the cost. But generous in giving materially as well as in spirit --- he forgave people who wronged him and didn't hold grudges.

Career apart, he was a wonderful family man --- a loving and loyal husband to Grana, a dutiful and caring son to his mother and mother-in-law, a good father, an affectionate grandfather. He may not have been a modern guy -- you would never see him carrying babies or changing diapers -- but he carried us all in his heart and did whatever he could to protect and nurture us.

He lived a full life in other senses as well. Many of us will remember how fond he was of reading, especially his favourite books, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Song of Bernadette. Some of us will also recall that he was quite a movie buff. And many of us would have enjoyed the fulfillment of his dream of having a house in the hills, at picnics and holidays in Khandala, the house he delighted in for more than 2 decades.

He enjoyed discussion and was quite opinionated, so that birthday parties sometimes seemed like meetings of the debating club. Without question, he was very stubborn -- a trait several of his children and grandchildren have inherited. But this stubbornness also helped him stand up for what he believed in and defend anyone he felt was being treated unfairly. He had such a solid sense of ethics.

We will miss his deadpan sense of humor, making unexpected jokes that were always memorable.

Above all, he was steadfast in his faith. He was devoted to Our Lady. At the end, even when he struggled to find the strength to speak, the words of the Hail Mary and the Angelus flowed freely.

Yes, he was gracious. Till the end, when he had become a man of very few words, those words often expressed concern, hospitality, gratitude. "Eat and go," "How is Mummy?" "Tell her not to worry," "Take care," Thank you, " "Kind regards, " and if you said you were going to visit, "Most welcome." These were the things he said most often.  Whatever suffering he faced in the last year or so, he bore silently, without a moan or groan or a word of complaint or frustration. Till the end he was saying "Thank you" to his doctors and caregivers.

He was given to us by God for nearly 96 years. Yet it seems as if we got to journey only a few miles together. Still, I know I'm luckier than many who never knew their grandparents, for they had died or lived far away. And even as we know we'll miss him, and miss the second home that Grana and he made for us, we are thankful for that irreplaceable gift of Papa and the memories we have of him.


Heathcliffs Girl said...

you have both written it so beautifully! He sounds like a wonderful person to have known..

Anonymous said...

I attended a talk by Wayson Choy in Vancouver and he had a lovely saying about life after passing....he said he didn't believe in an afterlife himself, but he believed that people live on if their love nurtures someone. I thought that was lovely.


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