Monday, 14 November 2011

ADIOS.... CHATTEN !

Thavo ,my only elder brother is no more. He died recently at his age 64 . He was healthy and hearty all along and hardly visited a doctor all these years.But he was detected of having advanced stage of cancer of lungs six months prior to his demise !

Our relationship was unique.More than a brother he was an intimate friend .From childhood to this age we continued to have this warmth in between . Whenever we visited India during the last 27 years (at least once in a year ,if not more) I  and my family used to live with his . In spite I had houses and flats of my own ,we continued the status until I became 60 and my children became grown adults!!

We had common personal friends from childhood  . We used to interact very well and see that mutual support is in place whenever it is required. He did his best under his circumstances and I did under that of mine. That sums up our relationship in one sentence.He had special relations with my and my sisters children .They used to call him "captain" as he wished.We used to talk everything under the sun . Obviously in many situations we had difference of opinions but always we learnt to 'agree to disagree' and respect each others view!

I had really bad days and weeks after his death. If not busy officially, naturally my mind used to drift to him and our years together. I used to have new type of 'mental agony' which I never had in life before. On one of those days while jogging in the night after office hours, I thought of writing an eulogy- a tribute for him and for our friendship. I did not know how to go about it.

Two days prior to his death he went to coma.He never regained conscience thereafter. I thought the best tribute for him will be 'informing' him of those two days in detail. I imagined of an email   which I would have sent him after attending 'his funeral ' had he been alive!!! Decided to create a blog and post it for future . My first blog!!!
                                                   _____________________
cc amma, geetha, vinay,vishal,anu,chedithiyar,thara,sabu,isha,sunny,sunish,anthu,wilma

Dear chatten,
As a practice between us all along , I think it is only appropriate to narrate to you what had actually happened after you reached a stage where Lakeshore doctors decided to move you from ICU to a private room. This is  my version and I am taking the liberty to cc this mail to all of our dear immediate family members ...

14 oct 2011, friday
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I get a call from Vinay at 6.00 PM (Doha time 3.30 PM). The message was clear. The doctors have told him  and Isha that you may slip to 'coma' soon ,prelude to few unconscious days which may  follow before you reach the end. He advised me to inform Thara to take action suitably. I did call them soon. Asked Sabu to put her in the next flight available, whenever it is. Sabu promised that he would.Thara sounded ready to face such a situation...

15 oct 2011,saturday
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Ramani chedithiyar & Isha are around you in turns in the hospital ,while Purushothaman (yes, the fatty bystander) is all the time in the vicinity. Thara was picked up by Vinay from Puthoor on her arrival in the evening  . You could meet Thara in your good senses for the last time. ("Appa was pressing my hand hard unlike anytime before " she told me later. The nurse wanted to make sure that you recognized her correctly . She asked you " Do you know who has come to see you ?" Yes, my daughter , you answered. "Do you know from where she has come?" It seems the nurse wanted to test your IQ rating at that time .You answered " Malaysia" ! )
Soon you started drifting to sort of ' not very conscious ' state.

16 oct 2011 ,sunday , before 8.15 PM
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As advised ,Thara tries to contact our achen to take him to hospital for a prayer. Unfortunately he was not available in none of the land or mobile tel numbers . Upon information so ,Samuel sar (our area prayer group senior member) volunteers and he was taken to your room in the  hospital for the prayers. Your breathing is getting more difficult.
 Vinay calls me at 5.30PM (Doha time 3.00PM) .He advises us to catch the night flight home. Unfortunately I had an important  meeting which could not be cancelled in the office. It was a meeting with a delegation of CEO/senior executives from Al Faraa Group,Dubai which is looking for a tie up with us .It was arranged a month earlier . I attend the meeting (My God ,this was too much for me to take!! Geetha is aware of the situation and in touch with all of our available family members over tel. I was briefed by her of the exact situation when I got out of the board room).
Vinay calls me again. Purushottaman has called him from hospital . Ramani chedithiyar and Isha are in the room and suspects that any time the breathing may stop. He along with Anu is pushing for Lakeshore .....

8.15 PM
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You have left this world at this moment officially.

 after 8.15 PM
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Action commenced from all to meet the situation.
Vinay,Anu and  Ramani chedithiyar are in the hospital ....
Isha at Mundakal.
Amma and Thara are in Puthoor house along with Tharun,Liya and Leroy.
Sunny is in train already which will reach Kochi early morning.
Sabu in Brunei but in touch with all...
Vishal will reach Kochi in the morning flight.
Anthu is trying to catch a flight .
Sunish ,Wilma (and Pachu) decides to take their car since no other option was not there then.(Their new car developed engine trouble on the way and they had to be pretty slow ,I was told later)
Called up Vinay few times to tell what to do since he was the only male member available in the immediate family at that time....but within 1 hour or so I knew that he is on the job... in control..It was decided to have your funeral next day ...Body will leave Puthoor at 3.30 PM. Called up Nebu but he was not picking up. Then tried George , who promised to take action. Nebu returned the call ...already he knew the sad news...he was crying loud over telephone!!!
Trustee of our church agreed to me on my request that a tomb will be made available to you.
Geetha and I boarded the 3.30 AM flight....

17 oct 2011, monday
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Vishal joined us in the airport .We reached Puthoor around 10AM. A pandal was there in the front. Everything seemed to be in order...You are lying in the central room in the mobile mortuary. You looked well and handsome - as you have been  always -..wearing specs. You were dressed up in white 'kasavu' dhothi ,shirt and a shawl !(Same dress you would have worn if you had attended Vinays wedding but for the shirt. Shirt I was told later ,Gikku bought in the night on request of Vinay).
A group was singing devotional songs with occasional breaks for reading out bible .It was an excellent exclusive show of Mundakal team headed by Sunny. Very nice of them to have shown their warmth for you and all of us, chatten.
People were coming in and few going out ......
I saw a lot of our neighbours.(Later I was told that our neighbours did a wonderful job at the right time. They all came when amma and Thara  were only available, to clear out the furniture and make the house ready to receive your body from hospital. I have to be honest- credit for good neighbourly relations goes to our amma and chedithiyar than you or me)
All of our friends  are there.(Sajan came in first followed by all of our friends and helped as much as possible ,I learnt)
I could see most of our relatives  in the house .(All of our relatives cooperated very well through out .None was left out in this matter- Puthoor, Pengamuck, Mookencheril, Pulikkottil, Manjali, Kattady,...cherai group, Mookencheril kochi group, more or less all who attended Vinays wedding attended this function also..plus a surprise -Hima !!)
Surprisingly I saw Beena, Anu's amma busy moving around in kitchen/dining. She was busy attending to needs of visitors serving water, bread /light food etc  and quietly  attending to all  needs in the kitchen!! (Later I learnt that Pauly was also there in  the night helping out Vinay to make necessary arrangements and in the house attending to various needs of the hour. Anu's both aunts and Dr Sony also came.  Chatten,do you remember what you commented loudly once we came back to Puthoor after meeting Anu and her family on 25 dec 2010 for the first time? -" .... a cultured family"....
Whenever you said good of Baby Marine people I never expected this far. They were all there .Father and both sons and their wives..
Tharun is more or less in his room .Sitting quietly.
Liya and Liroy are silent ,sitting around Thara.

1.45 PM.
Time to shift you to coffin (I was told that  Vinay and Anu went and ordered the coffin)and place in the pandal . Achen came soon picked up by Sunsh. Anthu came in.
Sojanchatten tells me to take a few photos ..just for records in case it is required for any civic rules.Vishal takes the snaps.
 More and more people are pouring in ...
Your St Alberts school old boys assn guys ..
St Alberts college friends ..
Old Tata Oil Mills club gang ..
A lot of exporters ..(I think Britto gave them the news.Britto was quite emotional.He was telling me how you,chedithiyar and Vinay visited them 3 months back when he lost his father, in spite of the fact that you were undergoing treatment which you never told him nor he was aware.).
I saw a Jap coming in and spending some time.
Expot Inspection Agency, past  colleagues including Joseph
Baby Marine management and staff
Some of the old workers whom you have helped..
Your local ayyappankavu friends ..
Vijayan of the nearby cycle shop (Yes,the same Vijayan uncle of our children),Pillachen,Jibu....
Vinays local close friends
Church mates/Area prayer members (those who were not already present)
Few related to our friends  in  Doha
More and more neighbours...
Deshabhimani Puthoor neighbours
Quite a large crowd.....from different walks of life
One person came to me and introduced. He is your college mate but have not met since 1970 ! Saw the press release in the obituary columns in the newspapers.(Chatten,one of our cousins has added 'maramath' to puthoor in the press release!!!!Ha Ha Ha..)

2.15 PM
Achen starts the prayers.

3.15 PM
Achen announces that the 1st stage prayer is over .2nd will be in the church and the 3rd in the cemetery. Time to say good bye at Puthoor house . In spite of my efforts not to be emotional ,the 'brave man' in me drains off..I might have sobbed loud !
Ambulance comes to our gate.Coffin is picked up .Pallbearers are mainly our next generation boys - Sunish,Anthu,Vinay and Vishal-with supports from me ,Sunny and some of our friends. Ramani chedithiyar,Thara,Geetha and me gets into the ambulance.Thankachen jumps in.
Poulosekutty joins the drivers cabin. We are off....

3.30 PM
Your body is brought to church ..Prayers followed .
One church office bearer - I  cant place him- as if expressing condolences did speak something 'inappropriate' for the occasion. Achen in his speech tried to correct his comments.(I wanted to take up this matter with achen/trustee later.But next day our amma told me " we should not take up these issues. There will be people like him at times who finds pleasure in making such negative comments. Ignore and let him be happy".
Achen announces that there will be a prayer at Puthoor on 20 sept 6.30 PM (after consulting me).

4.10 PM
Again we are in the ambulance on the way to cemetery. Near the cemetery we got stuck in the level cross for nearly 12 minutes . You are looking fine...as if in a deep sleep ,not to be disturbed.
Finally we reached the spot. Reasonably good crowd was there also. Prayers followed....I remembered our appa .
Your body was laid to rest in the tomb allocated for us -No 63. Yes, 63 RAVIPURAM is going to be the final destination of all Puthoors of our  immediate family hereafter!!!

20 oct 2011 6.30 PM
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Prayer is arranged at Puthoor . Achen,neighbours ,area prayer members,our close friends and few relatives (those who came voluntary)are there -around 70. Thara took the initiatives to make the arrangements .
PM chacko uncle delivers the special prayer . Achen speaks for a bit long. Our Sunny made an excellent speech on the occasion- about you, our transparent warm relations within the family,how you are a 'captain' to our next generation....I made a vote of thanks . (Geetha told me later that I was not loud enough .What I did not tell her was that I was in a state then ,desperately controlling myself not to outburst with my emotions!!)

TAIL PIECE
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During the last six months , while you are not well,all within our immediate family members did everything possible to face the situations boldly, to give the supports required ,interacted well to achieve what is possible humanly. Response of our next generation was extremely good and ideal. Having said this I have to specifically mention about two persons -Vinay and Isha.
Vinay did a fantastic job -right from the start till the end- in spite of the fact that he himself is a busy person and he had two important mile stones of his life during this period-his betrothal and wedding.
Isha was just superb. She rose to the needs regardless of her own problems back her home. We can be proud of our sister!!!
Last time when I left back to Doha , in spite Vinays marriage is well conducted , my mind was disturbed because you were suffering..chedithiyar ,amma and all in the immediate family were undergoing hard time....But this time when I returned my mind is not disturbed ...sad but not disturbed because you are not suffering anymore....
 The stormy days are over now. Sun will rise again. Spring will follow suit. Everything will be back again if not better...except that we all will miss you, forever . We shall always cherish the fond memories .....


Bye     

Jaison 
                     
                                              Our last photo together  - 6 May 2011


                              One of our earliest photo together. Clicked by our appa in 1952 !!
                                 Chatten is 5 years old , at the steering wheel and me 2 years!!!




                                     A musical dedication to you....chatten..... courtesy to Westlife















 

 








43 comments:

  1. Nice blog, Appa. Velliappa would've definitely appreciated this initiative.

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  2. After knowing Velliyachacha for almost 3 years now, all I can say is that he was one person who used to view life from a different angle altogether. He has no doubt contributed in shaping Sunish, Vinay, Vishal and Anish's character but also was an inspiration among other members of the family. We have had his support and guidance right from the time I joined the family till Pachu's first birthday. He has definitely given new meaning to all our lives and will continue to be the bond that binds us together... adios Velliyachacha!

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  3. Wonderful tribute, Jaison chettan to a wonderful person who had a profound influence on all who came in contact with him. He was my childhood hero who had a huge influence in shaping my interest in books, movies and western music. I remember with fondness the day when the two of you took me for a visit to Fort Cochin ( I must have been 13 or so) as also the time the two of you took me to see my first 'western' movie at Sridhar ' 100 Rifles', in the late 70's. I now have a copy of the movie on DVD and watch it again and again with nostalgia.

    Thavo chettan was a wonderful person, a perswon with firm ideals and principles of his own but always receptive and respectful to others with differing views, open and warm hearted but firm when needed. Most of all he was a very brave person who never let the various tragedies and travails he went through show in his demeanour which was always cheerful, and this facet of his character stood out till the end. He is gone from this world but lives in our hearts. RIP.

    Vineeth

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  5. Still can't believe that Captain has left us. Good blog, Jaison chacha. Vellichacha would've definitely loved this.

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  6. hi jaisonchayan and Geethamamma and all at puthoor house,
    Ever since i became aquainted with puthoor house,after Geethammamma was married to J'chayan,Puthoor house was special to me.Coming from lucknow to visit my mother's people meant getting off here-thavochayan with his signature smile would be there.Appachan,unniammachi,remanichechi and puthoor house have a very sentimental attachment for me at least.For me thavochayan will always be somewhere around.Time passes on,a generation passess off,and the next takes up the family mantle and life goes on.God Almighty bless you all......

    love and regards,
    sudhir

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  7. Another mail which has come to me.........

    Thanks for - " A touching tribute to our Great and Unforgettable Friend Dear - Thavo - "

    It is really touching while Me & Memma read through the
    events that are beautifully sequenced and we feel it the best tribute that OUR family
    Can offer to our departed Sole of Thavo Chacko - OUR ever loving " B U D D Y " .

    With Prayers + Regards : John Britto , Memma & all our family & my brothers& family.
    21.11.2011

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  8. A GREAT TRIBUTE SIR..! YOUR TRUE LOVE REFLECTS IN EVERY WORDS..!!

    WITH SINCERE PRAYER...RAVI & FAMILY

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  9. A great way of expression Sir... we can understand the bonding you had with your brother & what a Great human being he was, the best part is reading every para, one feels their presence during all the different events as every moment was so well presented.. I also would like to mention that this is the first time in my life that I have read something like this & someone can think of even writing & updating to their loved one's even after knowing his no more... May his soul rest in peace... Ravi Prakash & Family

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  10. BOSE & GRACY writes..
    Dear Jaison,



    We read your article about thavochettan today. When it was over we felt as if thavochettan stands in front of us- live!. It is very heart touching.



    With regards.



    Bose & Gracy

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  11. Dear Uncle,,

    Well written and great way of expression!

    Best regards,
    Bipin

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  12. Dear Jaison,
    Your message addressed to your dear brother was an emotional chronology of events reverberating in your mind ,which, had he been alive you would have conveyed to him at a later stage. But quite contrary to what we all expected and hoped for God had chosen otherwise ,against which none of us could do anything about.
    After all what is the meaning and purpose of life. We all come into this world totally unaware of what future has in store for us. When things happen to our liking and wish, we consider ourselves lucky and thank God for his providence. But when events which we do not hope for happen ,we blame God for his not being considerate to us or think that it is our fate.
    In the case of Thavo, I always used to wonder why amongst the three of you ,he had more to worry about in life. He was placed at the most distant places like Veravel, Mangalore etc, where between Ramani and Thavo, it was a struggle to make ends meet with the little salary that a central govt employee could expect. But he took the challenges of life in the right earnest , never complaining, but making the best of what life had offered him. Ramani stood by him always and enjoyed all moments of their life. Especially about the floods in Veravel, they still dread the days when they had to spend the days in doors.

    Yours is a wonderful family, with open communication amongst all of you, which makes things much easier. With the younger brother in command and the elder brother listening and obeying without a murmur, it is possible only where there is perfect under standing . I used to wonder as to what is it that transpires on a Friday afternoon over the inter net for such a long time ,that too every Friday. Even the small events in life are a major subject for conversation amongst you. I thought many of them were quite mundane or trivial, but you made a big dialogue out of all of them.
    Even when you are away in Doha every aspect of the property or dealings that you did in Cochin, were very meticulously taken care of by thavo and you never had to back check on any of that. The conversations that you two had, each day evening over a drink or two, contained every subject under the sky. You argued a lot, many a times not agreeing to each other, but at the end of it all you had the same expression on your face as if nothing else matters ,but the bond of brotherhood or friendship which is above everything else.
    To suddenly lose a brother, on whom you relied a lot for advise for support or for companionship ,is an irreparable loss, no doubt. But time will heal all such wounds, but more clearly the scar will remain , as a blot which would be difficult to wipe off.
    Life has its ups and downs, and we have to think above all that to have a peaceful and contented life. It is easy to say that but difficult to practice . As achen said during his speech at home, he felt the pang of such a loss when he lost his own daughter. When such events happen else where we think it will not happen in our life or our family. But no one is above all these un expected events.
    Let God almighty give all of us the courage ,inner strength and peace to over come the sense of loss. After all it is a question of days, months or years for all of us born in this world to depart without any complaint.
    Jaison, knowing fully well the brotherly affection between the two of you, it will takes months or years to get used to the sense of loss. But you will over come all that and be back to normal very soon. Even for the next generation loss of their captain is a irreparable . Some where at home ,the feeling remains ,that he is some where there. Let that feeling remain that he is somewhere there while he remains in our memories as a motivation and inspiration.
    SUNNY.

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  13. Vasu Ramesan :
    I too feel very sad about his last days;Abruptly he missed the company and very late I knew why;cherishing his memories

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  14. Nelson Daniel:-
    He was a great friend as well. Good words.

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  15. Shirly George :-
    Some of our emotions are not that easy to get it down in words....we perfectly understand....the bond you both had..... brothers forever.

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  16. Prajeesh Kumar:-
    Understood both brothers attachment....he blessing u from heaven...

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  17. asidharan R Nair :-
    We can feel your pain....

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  18. Chandran Ka :-
    I will very well no your feelings

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  19. Manjunath Chinya Ramaswamy:-
    Very sad.. RIP

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  20. Varghese Mathew :-
    No one can fill the vacuum,I never met him but I can imagine what he was for you

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  21. Hear felt condolences sir...May his soul R.IP
    Rajeev Ponathil

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  22. Prince Manjalil:-
    Thavo chettan was a pure sole , departed but still living in our minds. He will be in my mind till the last day of my life as a brother. Love you Thovo chettan.

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  23. Rc Nair :-
    sorry to here this. I know the feeling you have. Similarly you may remember that I also lost my brother when we were at Benevlid(Libya) and I still remember how you all flocked around me to console.

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  24. Milly Paul:-
    Jaison chettan..gone through your writing..so touching..yes parting is inevitable. Thavoo chettan lives in our mind for ever.may his soul rest in peace. We can understand the feelings you shared here as we too had gone through similar situation. .we lost our Sweety chechi.

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  25. Attupuram Joseph :-
    Thavo was a very good friend to me and I will cherish many fond memories of him. The jokes and laughter we shared and the free flow of conversations we both enjoyed......I miss him....

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  26. Satheesh Varma
    Departing is soulful. Keep the good memories and smile at the soul at least once in a day! That makes your heart humble

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  27. Sajan George:

    Rest In Peace by almighty GOD....

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  28. Pocudyil Chacko Mathen;
    So similar looks

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  29. Thirumangal Mathai Philip :
    May his Soul Rest In Peace. His memory is always alive.

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  30. Sajeevkumar Thomas Parathanal ·
    Rest in peace

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  31. Ajay Pullikkotil Joseph: Miss you thavo uncle

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  32. Krishna Kumar:
    RIP !! Heartfelt condolences !!

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  33. Kaizar Divasali:-
    May he rest in peace

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  34. Sreevalsan Manakadan :
    Thavo is so humble that any one will love him .His memories will ever remain in our memory. We could understand your feelings. That loss is irrepairable

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  35. Mohan Joseph Modayil:
    No one can replace Thavo. I had known him for decades. We all miss him as he always brought cheer and happiness wherever he was present. Such persons who brighten up every situation can not be be found everywhere or forgotten that easily. We share the grief which will never be erased.

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  36. Valsan Sankar:
    He was a close friend. Miss him dearly. We took this photo while at Mangalapuruam

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  37. Dear Jaison uncle, I read this blog for the first time when you posted it now. It made my mind fill up with memories. You and Thavo uncle used to stand out in our family get-togethers as my mothers cousins. Mostly for the kind of approach you had to life and the positive and futuristic view you had to things which was very refreshing compared to the typical conservative mindset which most malayalees have. I used to marvel at the quiet understanding between the 2 of you and even among the rest of the extended family of Unni ammama.

    But Thavo uncle stood out for me during the stint I had in ernakulam in 2005 when I spent a month in hospital while my father had to undergo surgery for a clot in his brain. That entire process took about a month to complete and I spent the entire time in the hospital with my mother for company. It was perhaps the most lonely period for us as there was nothing to do in the hospital room except to wait for some positive signs or indications from the doctors. We would however look forward to evening when some relatives would come to visit us. Every evening without exception Thavo uncle would come to see us. It was amazing how he managed to do that and just spend those few minutes with Amma and me. It was not as if he was the closest in our family in ernakulam at that time yet he would be there. Never really asking about what was happening to my father but just chatting with us and lifting our spirits after a gruelling day. In hindsight it was a simple and gentle lesson which I learnt in life. It is not what you say or do that matters. Sometime just a reassuring presence and comfort is all that is required to lift the spirits of a fellow human being. That Thavo uncle could do that despite all his other commitments was just amazing. That he would take that effort to come, park his vehicle and visit us daily just boggles my mind even today when I think of it. He was an inspiration, in a quiet, gentle way. He had such an easy manner about him that I would look at him as a friend rather than my mothers cousin. Never once would he be negative or talk about difficulties or troubles. Always about the positives in life. And to do that in a hospital when you are faced mostly with difficult situations was truly amazing. I miss you a lot Thavo uncle and I am sure you are smiling down from wherever you are. I am sure you are brightening up the spirits of people around you in the nether world. Till we meet again, goodbye !

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  38. Kurian Eapen-
    It is very sad dear Jaison, kuriachen

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  39. Babu Thazhathu Koshy;-
    DEAR jaison, AS i LOST MY 7 BROTHERS N FOUR SISTERS i CAN VERY WELL IMAGIN THE MENTAL AGONY AND PAIN OF THE THOUGHTS ONE CAN HAVE WHILE SITTING ALONE ESPE NCIALOW.LY OUR CHILDHOOD THE LOVE N AFFECTION AND CARE WE HAD FROM THE GONE BROTHREN. tHAT THOUGHTS ENLIGHTENS ME TO SILENTLY FOLLOW THEIR FOOTSTEPS. tHE GOLDEN DAYS.>nOW EVEN THE SAND AND THE RIVERSIDE WIND OF MY FMAILY HOME WHERE I STAY IN THE SAME COURTYARD

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  40. Sheela Chandrashekhar :
    May his soul rest in peace

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