Why? I don’t know.
Somebody else would have been thrilled to see something like this.
“Take it. Read!” Dad raised his voice to bring me back to earth.
I gingerly extended my hand to take the very old piece of paper from him.
The paper was thin, pale and extremely fragile. The top right corner had the date 24-10-1981 in green ink. This was written 3 months before my grandfather passed away.
I went straight to the kitchen and sat down to read. “The English is excellent, but the handwriting is crap”, this was the first thing that crossed my mind. “Just like mine!” I chuckled at the thought.
“What are you reading?” Mom asked as she paused to look up from the tons of dishes in the basin
“Oh!” She smiled and returned to her work before I could say anything.
Dad was at Abu Dhabi at that time and obviously, the whole letter was filled with news from home.
“This letter is written in blue, green, and black ink!” I thought out aloud.
“That’s because he never finished a letter in one stretch. He took about 3 days to write it.” I did not expect mom to answer that question. But now that she did, I thought of the numerous times I had saved emails to drafts before sending them across.
I finished reading the letter, returned it to Dad. I could see that he was waiting for me to say something as I turned around and went to my room.
There were two reasons for making this whole episode weird to me.
I have never seen my grandfather. He passed away before I was born. He was the topic of discussion only 2 or 3 times ever. Dad and Grandpa were pretty close. And it was clear and evident from the letter too. And whenever mom talked about him, she was so excited – she loved the guy. But, I don’t know why he was not in our conversations. This both confused and angered me. I would have loved to know him more. But that is never ever going to happen again.
Secondly, Dad seemed to treasure that old piece of paper like gold. It made me think, what do I have that can give me this same feeling? Of course, I have a number of emails that dad sent to me. But emails clearly lack the honesty and love of a handwritten letter. And most of the mails were only to scold me or to simply convey a message. Or maybe, when the time comes, even these mails will give the same feeling. Or maybe I don’t need something to make me feel the love that I have always felt towards my Dad.
Only time will tell…