I know I’m bad, Grandma. But I hope I am not as bad as you made it out.
They called me a cold sob. I didnt care.
They called me an aloof, and because back then it was partly true, I didnt mind.
They called me old-school and stupid. I didnt care, again.
They called me the bloody naasthikavaadi. I never minded – because that’s precisely what I am, at times.
They called me indifferent, heartless and opportunist. I just didnt care at all.
They even told I was full of false-pride and ego. In the past, may be I really was. I believe I am different now, but still the chanting continues – I didnt mind.
And then, I enquired about your health and well-being.
I dont know why you responded the way you did.
You didnt say a thing. Oh you chose not to. You did not look at me in the eye and smile. You chose not to. You did not even acknowledge the question. You chose not to. You just muttered a stern and cold “mmm..” which made it clear that you didnt even want to respond to me.
And I felt bad. Very bad.
I have remained away from my paternal relatives for long, yes. I dont exactly mingle a lot with many of these people. But I respect them all! I like my cousins and I gladly want to help everyone when they ask me a favor. I am okay with being just a useful instrument when they require me. I respect my dad’s siblings, a.k.a your kids. But I keep a respectful distance at all times. That’s what I am. I certainly dont intend any ill-will, but I dont want to interfere. I am not the ekkedaavadhu-pogattum type. I am edhu-nadandhaalum-nalladhukkaaga-nadakkum type.
There was only one thing that moved me to tears of late. My mom accusing me of brimming with false-pride when all I wanted to do was tell her I was not as bad as she made me look. I made my defense and in return, I was falsely accused.
I still dont know why my eyes welled up when you replied the way you did, grandma, but it sure made me feel bad about myself.
Probably it was the hope and trust that I always have had in grandparents; probably it was the belief that grandparents are more outgoing, forgiving and benevolent than even parents; or probably for that one brief moment, I suddenly trusted my mom’s words about me being one of your favorite grandchildren, not realizing that all grandchildren remain equal to your eyes.
Yes, I am bad, I know it, and I accept it completely. I am working on being good, too, even though failures pile up.
And I am sorry for whatever I did that made me so loathsome to you. I truly am.
- Your Grandson.