Monday, July 5, 2010

My Father, Eshwara Chandran


Whom the Gods love, die young...
What can I say about my father, Lt. Col. K.R.E. Chandran, who, despite being an Army officer of exceptional calibre, was yet the gentlest man that I have ever known? The eldest of three sons, he was the favourite and the most loved one in his family. What one noticed first about him was his smiling eyes, punctuated by a jerky laugh that came straight from his heart. When he joined the Indian Army, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was the epitome of an ideal soldier – patriotic, straightforward and chivalrous to the hilt. His penchant for the written word, and the beauty of his calligraphy, made his letters unique, especially in a time when people tended to speak more and write less. Even today, when he is no more with us, it is these letters, much read and frayed, which truly capture his spirit on paper.
The Army was an ideal backdrop as he set out to use his engineering skills and agile mind in various ways, both in peacetime and in war. His men adored him, fellow officers swore by him and ‘Sam’ Chandran, as many knew him, was slated to go far in life.
He was the balm to my mother’s fiery nature, always the quiet tensile strength behind her. Nalini was effervescent, like quicksilver. He tethered her down with his steadfast nature, taking care never to quell her myriad flights of imagination. Together they made magic, as they sat out to do everything they loved together, be it in the realm of entertainment, music, dramatics or literature. It was as if they were one soul in one body. When the children arrived, they only cemented the beautiful bond further. There was so much to be done, so many mountains yet to be climbed together!
Then came ‘the most unkindest cut’ of all...
Fate decided to take him away from his family at the young age of 42. There were many things about him that we missed – his quirky sense of humour, his wonderful writing style through which he imparted nuggets of wisdom that enriched me personally, his devotion towards his loved ones which made him the ideal son, the committed husband and the exceptional father... and above all, his steadfast presence that always made us feel that all was right with the world! On the 29th of January 1979, he passed away, having ensured that my mother would be able to face the world in her own forthright manner, but even today, after thirty long years, the void and the ache in our hearts remain. If there was one wish in all our hearts, it would be this...
“Would that he were still with us, his crown full silvery grey,
Would that his face were a map work of wrinkles, and that we could watch him age;
But we are denied this pleasure, only a photo remains,
To remind us of what he was, but not of what he would have been!”

8 comments:

  1. You are one of a kind.Iam sure, your dad will be one proud creator, taking pride in your achievements, be it in the written word or other activities. Its been 30 years since my dad's leaving, all in a hurry and just about 33 yrs, with his wife (My amma) pregnant.I wish I had arrived earlier...He wrote creative scripts (In Tamil and English), besides working full time at a Public Sector, was overwhelmed marrying a natural beauty and had wanted from his heart a daughter, which he never lived to see.To revisit him this way, no written work of his with me to connect to, but still, hopeful that I'll retrive them lost treasures some day and make his living day memories alive is something I had wanted to do, sooner or later.Thanks to you though and after having read your deep ties with your father, makes me want to write and complete my dad's remaining life chapters...one day at a time.

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  2. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments! I do hope you will retrieve your father's written works and be able to keep his memories alive!
    All the best!

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  3. Kudos to your parents, especially your mother, for having made achievers out of you. So, you have inherited your father's genes when it comes to writing. No one can take the place of our parents. I too miss my father, though we were lucky. he passed away 4 years back, when he was 72. And I too have followed his foot steps. Both civil engineers and writers!

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  4. Thanks, Jency... we do owe so much to our parents, don't we? Actually my Mother also writes... she is an educationist and multi-faceted. And what memories I have of my father are wonderful...

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  5. Chechi,
    I didnt know that...

    Sujesh

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  6. Hi Sujesh, now I know who KOI is... thanks for the interest... love to you...

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  7. Deepti, I do empathize with you...To die young may be a boon to the dead as they are taken away by God to be with Him so that they do not need to suffer any more...But for their beloved ones, memories are the only treasure which they can keep looking at with smiles at times and sighs sometimes...

    May your Father rest in peace always, and keep Blessing you and your family...

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  8. Thank you so much, Jayashree... we share a common loss here, that of a parent. It is only when you go through such an ordeal, you realize how trivial are the things we fight over and keep close to our chests... life should be lived to the fullest... and blessings counted... always!

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