Picture this. It’s 1968 and aboard a rusty, halfway broken down ship dozens of expatriates have beads of sweat running down their foreheads as they row onward to the sandy, almost desolate land of the Trucial States, as it was then known. The passengers of this melancholy ship are forced to contribute towards the prospect of actually reaching their destination, for in those days, migration was not easy business. A man named Raghuraj was aboard this ship, with a burning desire to get to shore. After all, wasn’t that every 28 year old Indian man’s name?
All around him, people were sick, starving, and close to death. His strong will and extraordinary focus kept him healthy enough to not only survive the long travel, but reach land in prefect health. Over the next 3 years, he successfully created a strong financial foundation for the skyscraper that was to be his corporate life. In 1972, he wed a beautiful girl named Sarala, who bore him a cheerful daughter they christened Saira, meaning ‘pure’.
By this time, the Trucial States had united to form the United Arab Emirates.
Always a man of planning, he led his family like the head of a great pride of lions. Stern, not someone to mess around with, and yet incredibly warm-hearted and loving. 25 years after Saira was born, came the third generation of this family- me.
Ever since I can remember, he has been the best grandfather, mentor, storyteller and family member I have ever had. Apart from all the fun times we spent together, like walking in our garden and discussing the real reason why the moon followed our car, cracking jokes and playing chess, he was a visionary leader. Having led the company for over 25 years, he retire from his job of General Manager at 65 years old, and left to his homeland soon after. There, his hobbies were gardening and doing community service while he was elected Vice President of the local Rotary Club.
Sadly, even a lion has to leave the earth with only memories left behind. My dear grandfather passed away in August 2009, when I was ten years old. He is not a person you can ever forget, and so sometimes I still think I see him watering the trees outside my window.
Death is such a strange, inconceivable thing. Love and death, when news of such is vocalized, always invoke shock. Of course, when it is of love, the shock is of a more happy kind, whereas death brings on only confusion and disbelief. It takes a long time to come to terms with, and even after years seems so irrational and maybe even magical.
It brings out the most profound feeling within oneself, where we are so helplessly aware of our place and our time, and clears the fine line between lives well spent and live that didn’t have the chance to.
He may be gone, but his legacy continues forever. He was a classic example of how a hero can be the most ordinary person you come across. He continues to support me, and has been my main source of motivation for the past 5 years
For those who have gone, have gone only physically. But really, they live. He lives in me, and always will.

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