ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Behind that unassuming smile of his lie a student who wish to seep all the knowledge that one can grab to make life more meaningful than ever. My association with Peda-Pedanaanna (eldest of my dad’s brothers) is unlike any other siblings of a vast 9 children family of my grandparents. I lay no claim that I am better than anyone but, I am sure that I am the lucky one. Today I woke up looking at a bad news that he departed this world physically and a billion thoughts breeze past me like a tsunami. All those childhood memories that I have filled mostly with utmost respect had something in them that I understand now as somewhat mature person that behind that calm figure lies a learnt soul. My conversations with him were casual for better part and yet had an element of intellectual exchanges. Being a child of the youngest sibling, I not only had ‘easy’ access but for better part of my adolescence, we were living close-by. The small talks that we shared were mostly clouded by my grandmother’s visits. Barely I saw him not with a newspaper in his hands, no matter the time of the day. For his times, he is very well educated and had a highly respectable job. I barely knew him before retirement and yet can connect all the dots of his life with whatever I could get from him. His assumption that I am well read came with the burden of removing clutter from our conversations. His tone always had the ‘inquiry’. Carefully chosen, his choice of words were stamped with authority for me as a child. Having his mother beside me always put me at ease in front of him. He is more of a father figure for my father and that carried with me whenever I met him. Including my father, all the siblings (my father is the youngest of the 3 sons) has this unique sitting posture with their right leg governing over the left leg commanding respect that naturally comes from the recipients.
I remember all those tiny details of the front room (Vijayanagar Colony) that he had, and the order and essence of their unique presence, for a man who would show his interest in me, ever changing as I was growing old. Time to time, Mom used to send some chutneys and savories which he loved the most. For some reason he assumed that I can know everything, painting, singing, literature, etc. It has nothing to do with reality but for my association with SriRama Navami. For any person, this would bring a sense of guilt that carry on heavily on one’s shoulder but, for me, it only drove me further.
I am glad that he spent his post retirement life to the fullest, getting to know us (all the cousins) all and understanding the order of the universe. His sense of ‘duty’ towards life unknown to me at that time made all the sense in the world in later days. Grandmother’s departure invariably created a huge gap for my visits. As time passed by conversations became rare and precious. A walking encyclopedia she is, Dodamma always knew about us all and may be she was the source of his connection to a vast family tree.
Our conversations only became longer with distance.
Things changed for him and me, almost simultaneously. He decided to spend his final journey in the Holy abode of Puttaparti while my life took an interesting turn making me a relentless seeker of ‘Advaita’. Somewhere there is a connection that would only transpire in our conversations. He understood my babyish ignorance and yet kept his ears wide open. Over the time, I think he understood my journey more like a friend and only had encouraging comments. Unknown due to my ignorance, the order of the Universe connects people to seek out from each other. The wise listen and the unlucky ignore. I will carry that small unfulfilled wish that I cannot see him in flesh and skin. I nevertheless will not be sorrow that his time has come, for one, he is still alive in my memories as precious as ever.
He came from ‘Purna’ and he is blessed to merge with ‘Purna’, a person who was always ‘full’.
Good bye Peda-Pedannanna!