"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan

Dear Grandpa,

When I was born, they say you were too old and weak to see or hear me and I was too young to recognize you. Our lives overlapped just a few months and by the time I grew up to start remembering things, you were already a sweet memory for everyone. Now, when I reach the threshold of 30 long years in my life, I wonder how the same milestone would have been for these three generations of our family.

They say you participated in non-violent protests against the British. When you were 30, you stood high on the wave of patriotism that so dignifiedly swept us all into an independent India. You celebrated your birthday with jubiliation all over the country. It was a freedom you earned for us, but something dad says seemed like a bad-dream to him - Sadly he could not celebrate his 30th birthday due to the severe imposition of National Emergency clamp down all over the country. Today, on my 30th year, another Gandhian is sweeping the country with similar protests and ideology - but I didn't want to miss my birthday party. I celebrated it with few buddies at the club. Sadly others were either stuck at work or in traffic jams and some had other parties to attend - they all wished me on Facebook though! The protests irritated me a bit there..

Grandpa - You guys really missed out on the social network thing, people from all over the world (like my friends from Pakistan and UK) could have sent Independence wishes to you. Also, there is nothing called Facebook Emergency!

They say when you were 30, your eldest son (my uncle) had started going to work with you. So effectively, the family burden was partly off your shoulders, but when my dad was 30, I had just entered high-school. There was still a long journey ahead for him and his 'family burdens' had just started to weigh down upon him. Today, when I am 30, I am still grappling with how much I should study further. I have not even started independent steps of my own and family is not a word in my dictionary at all. 

Grandpa - The things that you had achieved and done with, are the same things that I have not even started thinking about, at the same age of 30.

In your days, the world was still an enigma, options were less and life was simpler. Today, we opened up the world, added more color to our lives. For you, the world was large and happiness came in small things. For us, the world is small and happiness is still at large..

They say you walked by the sea-shore in the evenings. I am sure you would have looked at the sunset and ruminated on your life. Introspection is like digging at the sand - you remove layers trying to find something underneath. You were a man of limited means, so you stopped digging when it was a small pit. You plainly threw in a few seeds and covered the pit, which has spawned three healthy generations now.
I look at the sunset, and I introspect too. But my digging does not stop at just a pit. Its a frantic search.. for my identity, for my purpose, to realize my self and to define my place in this world. I continued digging and today I stand in a pit thats as big as me. So big that I can bury myself in it!

Grandpa - I wish I had a chance to spend more time with you...