I probably should be asleep right now as I have work in the morning. Instead I am going to use this time to try to explain all the things you did for me. In a chaotic family you were the stable one that rarely lost his cool. You were the one that taught me many life lessons, and although we had a language barrier I did learn from your example. If I become half the husband, father, and grandpa you were I will be successful at life. I just wish I knew better Punjabi so I could have deeper conversations with you. I’m grateful for the last four or five months where I spent many days with you and Bibi. I tried to accommodate your needs, but mostly I was just happy to spend quality time with my grandparents. You screamed at me in late July because I could not understand what you were saying as you had slurry speech. I’m sorry Papaji. I just wanted to give back, I’m sorry if I failed in any way.
The first lesson I learned from you Papaji is to treat everyone with respect. It didn’t matter the economic class, color, or background someone came from you were going to be kind to everyone. In a world where petty grudges are held I didn’t see you hold one. At times there was drama around you but you never intentionally tried to hurt anyone. You would see someone that needed a ride and would offer it to them with no hesitation. That meant seeing people at a bus stop and taking to them to their destination so they would not have to ride on a bus. You would see my teammates after practice and make sure they were getting home safe. You would talk to the person that others said was taboo. When you were India you made sure all the village kids were fed. You never said a bad word about anyone. This might be hard for SKA to believe but I do follow my grandpa’s lead in real life. I try not to say bad things because being angry leads to nothing good. Hell most of my hothead behavior is an act. Sometimes it’s real but if SKA saw me in real life I think you would see me as ” chill”.
Papaji, You spent your entire life giving to people, and the only thing you asked for was ride to the park when you lost your license. Your grand children were happy to oblige with that request. It was the least we could do for you after everything you did for us. You and Bibi had a huge impact on our childhood. Our parents were working so many hours that you two practically raised us. It was not like Bob taking custody of his grand children, but you were there everyday.
Another lesson I learned from you is to be a family man. There was nothing in the world that made you happier than your entire family being around you. Some of us have a strong bond because of the example you set. You always preached for us to stay together and be there for each other. You were delighted when five of your grandsons played on the same team. We always set you up with the best seats in the house, and after the game we went looking for you. We asked ” Papaji how did we play” your response was always ” very well my children”. You could not stop smiling when we won tournaments. We handed you the trophy because you were our leader. At first we sucked. However, you saw our team grow everyday as we practiced at the same park you hanging out with friends. I was never as good as my little cousins or my brother but you didn’t care.
I think you were a strong family man was because of your own tough childhood. Your father was hung when you were 12 years old. It was 1940’s India , and well I still don’t know the full details. I do know that your sister was so distraught that your father died that she starved herself to death and died two weeks later. I’m told that your cousins gave you a difficult time but your mother was there for you. Your own children had a pretty strong bond, and that extended to your grand children. It wasn’t always easy. We had our drifts and fights but we are good now. We were brought back together because of you. That goes back to you preaching the family concept. I hope we all understand what papa wanted. We were all there in the hospital. Your last words were that you wanted your family to stick together. I hope we can do that for you.
I also learned from you the ability fight through adversity. You worked 14 hours a day in the hot Indian sun to get to America. Then you worked at factories/ farms here for 12 hours a day. Your sons worked factory jobs/ farms. Then they moved on to Seagate and running their own liquor stores. Your daughters worked fuckin hard as well. SKA knows that I have had my professional troubles. However, I will never give up because that is not acceptable. You were so proud that your grand children graduated college, and started professional careers. I got the education part covered. I may be lagging behind some of my cousins and my brother professionally but I will not give up. Papaji, you taught me giving up is not an option. I went through a lot of my stuff academically when I was a child but I came out the other side a better person. My Papaji, Bibi and mother were there for me the entire time.
There are other lessons my you taught me. You were always a well groomed man. You wore nice suits at party. You had kuta pajamas ( spelling) that were always smooth. Papaji wore a nice watch when he went out in public, and always had his Turban on like a boss. You were an awesome husband that went out of his way to accommodate his wife.
I leave with you this Papaji. I knew there was one other thing you wanted. You only had one of your grandson’s get married. You wanted one of ” us” ( I won’t give out my last name in this article. There are SKA members that know my last name and I ask them not to share it) to get married and we couldn’t do that for you. I can promise you this though papaji I will teach the lessons you taught me on my kids. I will teach them kindness, dedication, and a family orientated mindset. I may also give them starburst like you did for your grand children. I will try to reach the goal standard you set. I will always remember you because you are the greatest man I ever knew. There are other things I can say about you and will as time goes on. Your impact wont be lost on any of us. I will always try to follow your lead.
Your grandson Sukhjot.