Once up on a time in Buchireddipalem, there lived a family which was known for the love and care among their family members. Ramappa Panthulu was the head of the family and he was survived by a wife, Ravanamma, son, Bhupati Sharma, and two daughters, Kamala and Vimala. They all lived happily in the village of Buchireddipalem.
Bhupati Sharma got a job in Indian Airlines and he had to move to Bangalore. Later, he was married to Manojna and they had a boy, named Mithun. Mithun was born and brought up in Bangalore. But during every summer and winter holidays, he used to go to Buchireddipalem and spend time with his grandparents, aunts and uncles. As a kid, he was always fond of the stories his grandpa used to narrate to him, especially the three-mouthed fox story. Mithun used to listen the same story at least once in a day and he always loved the way his grandpa start the story, “Onceeee upppp onnnnn aaaaa timeeeee…”. He never slept until his he heard a story from his grandpa. As he grew older, he wanted his grandpa to play with him apart from telling bed-time stories. So, his grandpa played games like “Elephant comes to our city”, camel-ride, hide and seek, etc.
As time went on, Mithun grew older and so did his grandpa. His grandpa developed listening problem and he could hear only if someone shouts at him. And Mithun started getting bored of the stories narrated by his grandpa. He was too old to be carried on his grandpa back and play the games he played once. And from then, whenever he visited Buchireddipalem, he started spending his time with the play-gadgets and was always glued to them. The time once he used to spend with his grandpa was reduced to the charging time of those gadgets.
As time passed, people started speaking less to Ramappa as he can’t hear them and on the other hand, Mithun, his heart-beat, started visiting him less often. The child with whom he used to talk for long time was now “User busy” for most of the time. And during the visits, Mithun was always on phone chatting or talking with someone, surfing the net with his laptop. The time he once spent with his grandpa was now reduced to the time for the message received on his mobile from the recipient of the message sent by Mithun.
Ramappa was very disappointed at how the time and technology changed his grandchild. He recollected how Mithun used to cry when he was not told a story, how he used to roll on his bed when he slept, how his tender legs walked on his board chest, how he played sitting on his back and how they both enjoyed the company of each other. And as he recollects them one by one, tears started to trickle down from his eyes and they fell on the photo of Mithun which he was holding in his hand.
As days went on, Ramappa became very weak and doctor became a regular visitor to his home. His health started to deteriorate but even then, he longed to see his grandchild. He was expecting that Mithun would come to see him in his last days. But Mithun is now a grown up and a six-digit salary is credited to his bank account every month at the cost of his life. He became so busy that he even doesn’t find time to talk to his parents. Even on weekends, he is drowned in fb or gtalk. He spoke less, ate more and slept no more. His parents asked him many times to visit his grandpa but he thought that going there would disconnect him from social media sites due to signal unavailability. At times, by mistake, if he remembers his childhood days (on seeing someone’s childhood display pic in fb), he used to put status messages like “Missing my grandpa” and waited eagerly for his friends to comment and click as many “Like”s to the comments for that status and comments. He was gradually turning into a man who ate breakfast commenting on the “Having sandwich” status of his friend and slept after one hour of updating status like “Hitting the bed…Good night”.
As the winter approached, Ramappa(like he does in every summer and winter) expected Mithun to visit him but as you expected, expectations never turn out to be as expected. As days passed, he spoke only if he needs some water or wants to go for a nature call. The food intake was drastically reduced to spoon count. But even in such a situation, he wanted to convey his last words to Mithun. He hardly had strength to catch a pen and write a letter but his urge to convey his message to Mithun made him write. One day, he finally managed to write something on a piece of paper. On that day, Ramappa was very happy. He even ate an idly to everyone’s surprise. Before he slept, he called his wife and placed the folded paper in her hand. His last wish was to give this paper to Mithun. The next day morning, he was no more. He passed away in deep sleep.
The phone calls were made from Buchireddipalem to all his relatives. Mithun was in office, working, when he came to know about the news. He didn’t want to go to the village as there was no direct bus or train. But due to his parent’s force, he had to give up his stand and started his journey. Finally after five hours and two bus changeovers, he reached there. As soon as he got down, he looked at the mobile screen to find no signal blinking on the display. He sighed and felt like hell on coming here. Lazily, he started walking towards his grandpa’s house. It was almost four years since he came here last. As he neared the house, there was a large gathering of people, everyone coming to pay the last homage to the old man. Looking at the crowd, he became very frustrated. Finally pushing through the crowd, he reached the outer corridor where his grandpa was laid. His wrinkled face looked like he got all the peace in the world and he was there, taking a never-ending nap, with a wide smile on his face.
Mithun stood there looking at his grandpa. He hardly remembered how his grandpa looked when he met him for the last time. He was handed over the piece of paper his grandpa left for him.
He looked at the folded paper. He moved away from the corridor to the backyard and sat under the banyan tree where he always heard stories from his grandpa. He slowly unfolded the paper. It read…
I am dying now to be reborn as your child so that I can always be with you. Miss U.
Your’s grandy 😉 ”
He closed his eyes and a tear droplet fell on the paper. For the first time in his life, he hated himself to death.
P.S. This story is dedicated to my lovely and wonderful grandpa, Venkateswarlu, who is now no more with us. I miss U all my life. Love U grandpa.