They say that ,"Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear."
To his siblings, he is Unni (baby in Malayalam) being the youngest among the 6, Unniettan to my Ammayi and all those near to him, Praveen or Praveen bhai to all his friends and and for us, our Unnimama....
It's been 3 months since we lost Unnimama and all of us are still struggling in our own ways to handle the loss. That tells us a lot of his personality. He was always the baby in the family but ironically also the most mature and caring amongst all the siblings. "Unniyodu parayaam" meaning "We will tell Unni" was the common phrase, he was the one stop solution for everything. He would always have a solution for everything. Sheejammayi's every statement, every action would be incomplete without a minimum of 3-4 Unniettan in it.
For me, he was always more than an Uncle. We were also good friends from my childhood because he was one of my companions while growing up in Angadipuram. Some of the other cousins used to be scared of him because he was also strict when it came to certain matters. But to me, he shared his college stories which I used to listen to in awe. He was in his mid 20s during that time. I used to join in with his friends when they teased him about his girl friends while in college. 😀We used to go to the temple especially on Mangalya Puja days just to look at potential candidates 😀. Until he got married, we used to curl up on a mattress in my Mom's room while he entertained us non stop with his stories.. His continuous lament was that to get a bedroom in my grandma's house, one had to marry 😀 and no one was getting him married, because they thought he was Unni 😀.(baby).
Sheejammayi came into our lives soon to add more colour and happiness. Her life always revolved around Unnimama and they were always hailed as the ideal couple everywhere. People say there is nothing perfect... But they are the perfect couple... In Fact we say even the Gods would have been jealous of them. I am sure Vichu and Achu wouldn't agree less that they were lucky to have him as their Pappa.
To me , he was always an inevitable part of my good times and struggles too. I always knew I could confide in him anything and he always was a good confidante and guide.
Unnimama to me was one of the best examples of an Ideal Man. As a brother, son, husband, Uncle, father.. Whatever roles he adorned, he made sure he excelled in it 😀.I have always admired how he made sure he was always there for everyone in the family. He was a man of his word and would go all out to help anyone whether they deserved it or not.
He could never say No to anybody, be it for a small matter or a bigger matter 😀😀 and if we made fun of this , all that he would do is Laugh it away in his classic manner. He had a very contagious and innocent laugh that we would quickly join into ....We used to look forward to our weekends in Fujairah just so that we could join in with his fervour. I miss his voice when he wakes us up in his loving way, " Entha appe eneekande? ( meaning, "Don't you want to wake up, dear? ")
Bob Marley said ,"The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively." And that was exactly Unnimama - he was a great human being and will always be for all of us ... Not a day passes by without remembering you, your words, your laugh, your kindness.... You will always live in our hearts forever.
“When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.”