Happy Birthday Thatha

The tenth day of January remains a special day in my life. Since the late 1980s,  I was made aware of the dates and their use for occasions to wish, celebrate or remember.

My maternal grandfather’s birth date happens to be 10th January.

He had a liking to write – in his case, it was personalised letters, which he wrote frequently. My mother replied to all of them, and my birthday wish to him began with a note – “Happy birthday Thatha,” that’s how I called him or refer him to this day, ‘Thatha.’

And, in the 90s, it was our time to send him greeting cards. My sister and I used to write our unique messages. I wish I had a way to scan those cards we sent.

He retired from his service and lived in rural Bangalore, and thereby much closer to us. We made those visits if his birthdays were on Sundays or else it was still the ‘greeting cards.’

Then came the telephone; he was just a dial away from receiving our wishes.

As I grew up, I fancied riding on a bike to wish him on occasion.

A few years later, we would drive with our family and celebrate with him or have him down to the city to spend time with his children and grandchildren.

By this time, he had a mobile number.

Then it was 2009, the last time I wished him in person. Two weeks later, I left India, and since then, we have kept in touch via a mobile device.

In 2014, just days before his birthday, Tripti and I visited him in January during our short stay in India. We wished him in advance and did call him on 10th January. Who knew what was to come?

He passed away a few months later, in May of 2014. I made that trip to the village; by then, the final rites were complete. He was gone from our physical world. I didn’t know what to make of it. It took me some time to accept that he wasn’t there if I had to converse with him.

Three years on, 10th January remains special. I wish him from my heart and remember him for being such an influential figure in my development.

He was the first person to narrate my stories, the tales from mythology to his encounters with many interesting people he met in his lifetime. I learned how to share one’s experiences listening to him, for he always crafted a story out of nothing.

My love for the movie classics stemming from the 30s were thanks to him. He loved his motorcycle and was patient with a lot of people. There are many more incidents related to him that deserve a memoir; maybe one day, I will pen those thoughts.

For now, I would say, happy birthday Thatha, I miss conversing with you.


Memories, ah!

They are lovely and aware of my feelings; tonight, I have been reluctantly traveling down memory lane for some time. Quite noticeably, I recall random conversations that are dear to me. I am not sure what to name ‘the state I am in.’

I wish to go back and relive those moments, rekindle many a conversation, replant the several pranks, re-taste the foods from different cuisines, retake the journeys to other cities, and reconnect with people who have and remain in my life.


There is plenty that’s stored, but none can come close to those real moments that formed these frames in my film of memories. Looking back, I would be prejudiced, for I seem to have known the outcome. Who cares!!


It made me nostalgic, and I felt the world around me had stopped.

I ran as fast as I could to travel back in time, only to realise that I was merely a spectator and not an active participant.

I tried to put these thoughts aside and hit the bed; it didn’t work.

Minutes later, I decide to type, wondering if letting it out would offer me a meaning to what I was going through……

C’est la vie. That is time’s way of telling, “although there is a window to look back; there’s no living back.”

Memories…. beautiful memories… I am happy to have carried you all along.


Image – Wonder How To/Shutterstock