My maternal grandparents lived with us while growing up. My parents were doing their Post-grad at the time of my birth and hence, a good amount of my childhood and teenage were spent under the care and supervison of my Nana and Nani (That's what we call grandfather and grandmother in our part of the world).
I shared a very special relation with my Nana. A retired School Headmaster, he was the one to inculcate the habit of reading in me. He handed me my first book,Gulliver's travel, when I was just 7. We would spend our Saturday and Sunday mornings reading in our garden where he would explain me the meanings of words I didn't understand. He would take me to Temple every alternate evening and then buy me a popsicle on our way back to home. He would accompany me to my first Chess Competition and pacified me when I broke into inconsolable tears on losing the first match of my life. He would come along with me on Annual days and I would run straight into his arms after receiving accolades for academics. He would be the first audience to all my written stories and be an honest critic to them as I wanted him to be. He motivated and inspired me in a way that nobody else could. We would spend many a evenings talking about anything ranging from Indian Politics to Spirituality. I would confide my fears and troubles to him and he would counsel me on how to deal with them in the best possible manner. He was a man of strong will and an absolute moral fiber and I looked upto him for everything. I was the object of his affection and he of mine. They say girls wish for a man like their fathers. I always hoped to marry someone who could even be half the man as my Nana was. That should say about how much I revered him.
Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease sometime in his late 60s. That was a horrible time for the entire family. More so for him. Woes of an Alzheimer patient are really hard to pen down. It started with him forgetting our names to the condition being as bad as him forgetting about performing his daily activities which included eating and sleeping. It pained us immensely to see him struggle each day. One day he slipped out of home for walk and then forgot his way back to home. We always kept a check on him but on that doomed day things happened just too fast. We reported to the Police and tried searching every possible place in the city. My uncle went ahead to give an advertisement in the newspaper following which somebody called us from the government hospital where a passerby who spotted him took care to admit him for he was found unconscious under a tree. I can not bring myself to write what happened during the time he was gone to the time we found him. The memories would still haunt us for the rest of our lives. We admitted him to the best Hospital of the city where he was diagnosed with a hemorrhage in the brain. Turned out, he might have slipped somewhere while walking and fell head-on on some object. He passed away on the fourteenth day that followed after we had admitted him.
I cannot just list one best memory I had with him. I had tonnes. From him accompanying me to my first day at School to him being around at the last day of my School where he would read messages written on my shirt by the people I knew and laughing hard on some of them. From him being the mentor and guide to being a patient friend. From him getting me Harry Potter books to him watching Harry potter and Prisoner of Azkaban movie with us (Yes, he was that cool!). To say I miss him would be an understatement of my feelings for him. I make myself believe that he's happily watching over all of us from heavens above. That's what I would want myself to think when I remember him.