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Image above - detail from painting by Arpana Caur.

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My Grandfather's Lap

by FELICIA KAUR JODHKA

 

 

My grandfather's lap is a safe haven.

His long, flowing, grey beard blankets his chest and wraps about my head, enveloping my hair - my blanket of security. I prop my elbows on his sturdy arms as they wrap around me like pillars of support. They end with an interlocking of two hands just in front of my stomach - a barrier of steel that even the jaws of death cannot penetrate.

I feel his heart thumping against my back, rhythmically beating to the naad of the shabad that is so beautifully being sung in front of us. Occasionally, his fingers will tap my knee with the rhythm of the tabla.

In time, the raagi's amplified voice becomes but a mere steady drone, and it is my grandfather's whispers of the shabad that gently lull me into a deep sleep.

Unbeknownst to me, in the midst of my calm, carefree snooze, he is mourning the death of his beloved wife of fifty years.

Nine months later, he too is gone, forever. He was sixty five years of age, I the young age of three.

I have yet to find something as comforting as my grandfather's lap.

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years as I and the rest of "the world plays in the laps of the two nurses, day and night." - ਦਿਨਸੁ ਰਾਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਦਾਈ ਦਾਇਆ ਖੇਲੈ ਸਗਲ ਜਗਤੁ ॥

I am tired of thwarting dangers that lurk beside me. I am tired of the worries of life that wreak havoc inside me. My attempts to understand the ways of the world, of what is not right, and what is wrong exhaust me. I lie awake at night in fear of change, of the unknown, of what may become, of what should not become.

And when I sleep, a slew of armed thoughts and emotions attack me in my dreams. Dark circles envelop my eyes. I long for just two minutes of a toddler's buoyant slumber in grandfather's arms.

"I see no other place of shelter; I have grown weary, and collapse at Your door." - ਅਵਰ ਨ ਸੂਝੈ ਦੂਜੀ ਠਾਹਰ ਹਾਰਿ ਪਰਿਓ ਤਉ ਦੁਆਰੀ ॥

My Guru's lap is a refuge of solace.

He dissipates my worries and ameliorates my pain. His cool, soothing words caress my fear-filled, flaming face, freezing my stream of hot tears to a standstill midway down my cheek. He is with me always, forever.

My grandfather knew. And although I hold no recollection of neither him, nor of his words, the sole memory of his warm, comforting embrace speaks volumes to me now:

Your Guru is with you always. Listen!  "The sound-current of His Word fills my ears and my body gently settles into the lap of my Beloved." - ਬਚਨ ਨਾਦ ਮੇਰੇ ਸ੍ਰਵਨਹੁ ਪੂਰੇ ਦੇਹਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਅ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਨੀ ॥


July 20, 2010
 

Conversation about this article

1: Satvir Kaur (Boston, MA, U.S.A.), July 21, 2010, 6:55 AM.

Beautifully written!

2: Thaminder Singh (Diamond Bar, California, U.S.A.), February 19, 2011, 9:25 PM.

Great article. Lool forward to more ...

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