"age withers away in mist,
what remains is experience
A scintillating journey called life
where happiness lies in true relations"
"MR HARRIS" the voice capriciously echoes in the dormitory room as the Nurse passes by handling over a letter."TO GRANDPA" the scribbled childish letters send an impulse of emotions through the old man's spine.The old man in his late 90's sits on a cane bench upfront near the sunlit window,voraciously reading the letter.The nurse returns again to put the old man through a series of medications.The man has been in the hospital for nearly 28 years.The nurse mandy has been taking care of the old man and helping him recurperate of a disease that has no solution whatsoever.
Because the man has been suffering from a memory related disorder and he cannot remember anything except the day when his son visited him.
i am fine...little miss joey misses you.mommy and dadda say,she is going to be a mommy soon.the doggy loves to play with me.i love you grandpa Harris.Mommy says,you need rest for your little heart and so you are away.get well soon Grandpa..i love you.
since granny is not well,she has'nt baked cookies at all.daddy says we all are happy to have found you after such a long time.he tells me stories about how you went to fight World war-1 in the army.i am proud of you and one day even i want to be a soldier.i proudly brag and boast about you to my friends.We are coming to take you home soon grandpa!!!
Tear drops slide across the old saggy cheeks as the old man smiles with his glass tips perched on the nose and the story of his life racing against his mind to be unfolded to a stranger in myriad ways.A stranger who visits him every day yet the same successive story telling takes place.
The old man was in the army in the year 1912.He was stationed at Arizona,tuscan in US.he was happily married with three kids and had a beautiful wife who loved him till eternity.There was a wide spread fear of a mammoth war That woud usurp the world peace and get everyone fighting.circulars had been sent to the sergeants and soldiers to join the army in a brief span of time.There was a hidden pain in the couple's eyes as separation and fear of losing kept drifting and hovering around.
one of the last memories frank had about his family was having spent an evening with them during christmas before leaving for the war.They had prepared a christmas tree and baked cookies and cakes together singing christmas carols till the wee hours.making the most of the last remaining togetherness the couple had promised to meet each other and that the war would get over and peace would fall upon and their family would be together again.hugging against the fire place as the time seemed to slow down the new day and a new cgapter in their life had begun.Seragent Frank left for the army bidding farewell and promising to return soon as tear drops swelled across each of the kids eyes as their loving father diminished into the streets.According to neighbours and people alike,"the crusader had set to prove a point to the world.
the war between the supper-powers for the power had begun.That was the crucial time period when infiltration,battles,brutality were at peak acting as the precursor for world war-1.He was called sergeant Frank Harris.
cities were bombed and people killed.The battle took place on the borders and a separate battle between religious groups,extremists and civilians took place in many countries.Frank never supported violence,Infact he had always been taught the message of love by his parents who visited the church regularly to instaill virtues of peace and lovingness to their only child.The massacre and the gory destruction haunted him and he wrote,
Rough Battles,Blood Gory,loss of lives and the heavy destruction were the sight at the battle of world war.Frank had to survive admist enemies by pretending to be dead for days at end,dress and camouflage as commoners and live in the dangerous hub of the world.The soldiers had to struggle to fight and survive and many lost their lives and their bodies were never sent back to their families.During one of such events Frank was hit by a bullet and badly injured his spinal cord.his reflexes and nervous system got affected and he collapsed into coma.This happened when he was trying to protect a group of civilians from a nearby town and he was put into an ICU for survellience.Back home,his family knew little about the complications.He was in coma for nearly five years and he lost track and designation of his family and life.He had little memory of his current life and was a maze of puzzled memories.He stayed in the hospital for nearly 27 years with no optimism and no perspective in life except a hope that one day he would make way back to his family.The feeling of loneliness and togetherness with his family broke him into shambles when he could remember things until a day,A young Man who resembled Frank in his earlier days.walked in with his wife and younger kid.The doctor informed Frank that it was his Son and his family.He had been searching his father in Army Barracks and hospitals all over.
It was a moment of tepid salvation for him as he hugged his son and cried his heart-out over the pain that had built up over the years over the fear of loneliness and not keeping his promise of love to his beloved wife.A sudden sad canopy enveloped them when doctor explained Frank's case to the family and said that he cannot be taken home and should be shifted to a nearby hospital or remedial center.Frank saw his grand child and was taken over BY sudden surge of emotions and happiness.The wizened old man was bent over with the burden of his advanced years.He looked at the small child who held his hand trustingly and marveled at the innocence of the very young who had yet to be touched by the scorching heat of experience and the dreaded experiences of life.It filled his heart with gratitude and he felt blessed to be an integral part of the circle of life.He loved to be alive and so much in mirth after all these heavy and devastating years.His wife although aged as much as him appeared much lively and happy to be with him.They held hands together and happy to have sufficed their promise of ever lasting longingness...
frank said "all these years i survived only with your memories,your promises...when i was near death,i pleaded myself not to let go..when doctors said i had my irreplaceable memory problem,i said i will not forget my love and my family,no matter i died a thousand deaths daily,i wanted to live.....to see you,to see my kids and see what all i had missed throughout the years...life has been kind to me to atleast let me meet you all again and specially this little fellow wayne here...my GRAND-SON...although i may or may not remember you tomorrow or in the next split second but always remember that grandpa frank loves you" and he started weeping and realizing that you are never a burden for your family no matter what happens.love binds us all.
Then he was shifted a hospital near Arizona called st mary's cardiac and nursing center" where he was taken care of by the nurses and the family.Old Frank got an accredition certificate from government for his services in the army and a bravery medal too.
And I am the one who held grandpa's hands when i was small and who wrote him a letter which he reads everyday thinking it as a freshly arrived one.And when i am lucky enough he recognises me too.He taught me about the war,gave anecdotes and dished out some great learnings for life.It was always fun to go to his remedial center and play chess or just talk to him as a stranger.Every meeting taught me a lot about the differences between the current and the past generations.
The past generation valued relations to the core and were sensitized towrds parents,grand-parents and everyone around and this trait is very much missing among the current generation.So i have learnt about what it means to have family,grand-father and relations to cherish till i die.
life has changed much since the years he arrived but my grandpa is the same.I love it too,its been a struggle for him to remember things and he gets paranoid too and certain people had filed for an euthanasia for him but i know he wants to live till the last day no matter what.So I fought the case on mercy killing at a court and got justice for the same.And my grand father lives to be with me.Grand mother has passed and i am starting my own family but still I am my Grand father's young little grand child.And i still adore my grand father for his valour,courage, patience and persistence to face all odds and i would love my kids to aspire and adore their great great grand father.
i am my grand-father's stranger in myriad ways.