Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Real Bond: An Ode to My Grandpa

A few days back, while seeding manjaris (Tulsi/Holy Basil flowers) in one of my flowering pots, my mind suddenly rolled back to that day when it had all begun...

My first grade exams had just concluded, marking the beginning of a much awaited summer-vacation. Activity classes hadn’t gained popularity then, laptops/computers were a luxury and DD was the only channel that existed in the name of television. With schools shut down for a good 2 months or so, my days would be spent either by playing with my friends outdoors, fighting with my brother or idling around in my grandpa’s house which was just a storey below ours.

My grandpa was there in the kitchen, deeply engrossed in activity, digging out something from one of his three pots with the help of a spade. A small airtight wooden box lay besides him in addition to a scissor and a rough cloth. Intriguingly, I went up to him and questioned - Dadaji, what are you searching for? May I help you?

I am seeding a Tulsi plant, dear - he replied adorably, his eyes very much fixed on the pots. Ok, now pass me that cloth and get me a glass of water. That was the beginning... beginning of a fascinating relationship, that of companionship between me, my Dadaji and Tulsi.

Dry autumn air of had taken away the leaves of his earlier plant, I learnt later and he was in the process of seeding new ones. He was sitting down on the floor totally immersed with all the apparatus scattered besides him. After spreading a few dried seeds (manjaris) that he’d collected over the years and carefully implanting them in his earthen pot, he sprinkled a few drops of water and carefully put the pot back in the open again. All this while, he chanted his favorite Krishna hymn and I simply joined.

Manjaris of tulsi plant, collected by me over the years
Assortment of Manjaris (dried Tulsi seeds)

The process of nurturing a green life was a new understanding for me. It was my first meeting with the sacred sphere – nature - in such close proximity. The next few days, I observed the pots very carefully trying to find any hint of green in the midst of the grainy browns and blacks, only to find nothing. Dadaji, why are the plants not coming up? Why are they so slow? I'd ask, to which he'd respond - Talk to Her, request Her and listen silently with lots of love!

Tulsi leaves
Tulsi Leaves

I remember how he once tried explaining to me about the sacredness of the plant, talking on and on about them and then probably realizing it was too much for a 6 yr old to grasp, he stopped short and started to chant. I can still recall that pure delightful joy on his face and the glimmer in his eyes that were hard to miss whenever we spoke on the Tulsi plant.

Through all of this though, my knowledge on the plants developed into a very basic one A Tulsi plant is a sacred plant. Even more importantly, a Tulsi plant is dear to my grandpa and serving her and taking care of her in any way pleases my grandpa no end. That was enough, to get me excited. I felt a sharp need of taking care of her somehow, whose experience I had begun to feel deep inside. I watered her two times a day as advised by my Dadaji, sometimes bothered her with my inane questions and stared at the pot for hours hoping for any positive response. Relentless, I kept at it till I felt exhausted but it was also refreshing in a way... Because she dint seem to mind any of it. The water that I offered her would be usurped in no time leaving me and my immature mind gleaming with pride. This plant indeed has life, I would amaze!

Young sprout of a Tulsi Plant
The little green sprouts, Real magic of nature!

A week or so passed by and... one day... I spotted a tiny winy green popping out through the reddish-brown mud! I was thrilled and ecstatic! I jumped in joy - Dadaji! See!! I can never forget that experience, it was like witnessing a real magic, like stepping into an unknown world! He held the pot in his hand, gazed at the tender sprout for a long time and patted on my back for having done a good job while I just stood transfixed, admiring his sincere devotion and passion towards Her. I don’t know what gave me more happiness, the fact that the small little sacred seedling was finally up, his patting my back or was it his enchanting smile while he gazed at our new member for long lengths of time... I still cannot fathom. But all I can remember now is that, I felt a tremendous exhilaration run down my body and I felt a sense of pride and achievement. Dadaji, She heard me! The sprout soon grew into a plantlet, its tender leaves reaching for the skies and I continued to dedicatedly assist my grandpa in looking after her...

So many seasons have passed since then... his pot lies abandoned today and I am no longer a first grader anymore... The wooden box is nowhere to be seen and with no one around, emptiness is the only sound resounding in the corridors...

Empty Tulsi Pot, Nature sepia
Dadaji's abandoned pot...

Ah, but there... there I am, sitting with my treasured assortment of manjari seeds, a spade, a rough cloth and a glass of water... As I sow those heart shaped seeds in my pot, I realize my initial attraction to growing the plant has still not faded away, neither have my beliefs dwindled with the passage of time... Yes, I still find her interactive and I still irk her with my mindless rants...

My tulsi plant

Because, for me, the plant reflects him and I feel his radiance... his presence in Her joyous realms...

In my Tulsi plant,

An ode to Grandpa-Miss You Babaji

HE remains alive as an inspiration to me… Forever…

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This post is also my entry to the 100% Real Experience Contest by Kissan and IndiBlogger. If you are an IndiBlogger and wish to vote this article up, Please do so by clicking here. Thank you.


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85 comments:

  1. What a wonderfully warm post, a great tribute to your grandfather, thank you for sharing this special story.

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  2. Arti, A beautiful post which a person like you who truly loves nature can write! An ode to your grandpa and tulsi, through prose:)

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  3. visiting ur blog after a long time... was immersed in my works...

    the post reminded me of my grand father... they have great affection and love on their grand children and pass on a great deal of values... think the small kids these days miss all those fun... they r immersed in tv and computer... even outdoor games have become less...

    great post that established the connection between u and ur dadaji and also the tulsi plant...

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  4. Oh, Arti! What a beautiful and moving post for the day! So much love and joy and beauty and such a lovely beginning for my day!! Thank you! What a wonderful man your grandfather was and still is within your heart! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful part of your life! Have a lovely evening!

    Sylvia

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  5. you get to learn a lot from your grandparents... pity I miss them :)

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  6. What a wonderful tribute to your grandfather! And he taught you not just about planting, but about patience, having respect for growing things, and being responsible for taking care of something.

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  7. So precious and sweet Arti! My grandpa and grandma were very dear and special to me too also and i miss them so much since they are gone. Happy sunday to you!

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  8. What a wonderful memory of your grandfather.

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  9. Arti - what a wonderful post. I'll feel so blessed if my grandchildren someday remember me through their interaction with the natural world that I, too, love so much. Your Dadaji would be very proud.

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  10. Beautiful...such a joy to see something born out of nothingness. The relationship with your dad comes out so strong in this. Loved it.

    Glad to have found you at iNdiblogger. You newest follower and a regular visitor now.
    cheers
    Kajal

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  11. Your meditative prose is almost a poem Arti!
    Am sure you were lost in the mysteries of mother nature when you wrote it. Beautiful...

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  12. Hi Arti,

    I enjoyed reading your lovely post and tribute to your Grandfather.
    Lovely lesson with patience, and caring for plants that you learned.
    Sounds very much like my Grandfather, he was always in the garden, and had a beautiful fruit trees and plants.

    Happy new week
    Hugs
    Carolyn

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  13. Some experiences live with us forever!! This is one such experience. This reminded me of my times with my Grand Pa. My childhood times and how much he loved me... :)

    Great post yaar.. Great way for me to start my Monday :)

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  14. Wonderfully written ... really heartfelt .. I never got to spend time with any of mine .. but I am hoping my daughter will do ...

    God bless you ..

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  15. Wonderful post. At that age also they are so hard working.

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  16. A truly wonderful post. It brought back fond memories of my Grandpa. Thankyou for that.
    Your love for nature that your grandfather inculcated is truly inspiring.
    Goodluck with the contest :)

    Following ur work from now on.

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  17. A heart touching post..:-) You are very lucky to have such lovely memories of your granpa.The pics are very nice.

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  18. i love your post, arti. you write from the heart. it is also the reason why i follow your blog.

    have a great week ahead of you. :)

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  19. Lovely , emotional and nostalgiac dffect has.

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  20. Such a lovely post. Been a long time since I was here. I had bookmarked this, but in the process of moving from one browser to another had not imported the sites. Like the new look too. I had a tulasi plant for a long time, but on a vacation it just dried up and I somehow did not want that to happen again and never replanted one. The tulasi reminds me of my mother. She was not overly religious, but everyday in the morning after her bath she would take a container of water, walk around the plant thrice looking at the sun before she watered the plant. The post took me back many years.

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  21. Great post, Arti. A fitting tribute to nature and your Grandfather. Good luck with the contest:)

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  22. I try two times to plant tulsi in my place, but always die and dry :( .

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  23. Wow Di. A really Heart-Touching post :). Even I do gardening with my Grandfather :). I just love him :D :).

    Would you believe it? Tulsi was the which I sowed for the first time. It was in my home :). My teachers had given it to me :D. Read my post for the same contest ;) I have written it there :D :).

    I'm so glad to know, that there is one such person like me who loves talking to plants :D :). I'm so happy Didi :D :).

    BTW, All the best for contest ;). I'm sure you'll win :D

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  24. My dear friend Arti
    Very touching dedication to your beloved grandfather!
    Will age and will remember with the same love to my grandfather!
    With love and friendship!

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  25. Grandparents are special, Reminded me of Daddy as I called my grand-dad. Yes he is there watching ..

    I guess I got my gardening ambition from mine and my dad .. and it is indeed a beautiful HEARTFULL feeling to see that beautiful saplings come up when the seed becomes a plant ..

    Thanks for sharing
    Bikram's

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  26. Grand parents are very vital for kids overall developments . Wonderful post .

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  27. @Arti Truly great to read your post.Thanks a lot.Have a nice week.

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  28. I was impressed by your grandfather's response,"Talk to Her,request Her and listen silently with lots of love!"
    I think nature is something like that. When human is concerned nature, it is our attitude toward nature.
    Wish well to you on the contest.

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  29. Thoroughly enjoyed the post. It read like a requiem for Dadaji.

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  30. That was a wonderful post! Observing the growth of a seedling is in fact one of the best way to study life and its nature. It is much more than the mere addition of a new life form to this earth. It is symbolic of the struggles we face in our life to become successful.

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  31. Hi,Arti.
    This is a very touching post. I have a lovely granddaughter. Iwill be happy if she remembers the time spending with me, someday.Everything is precious moment for me though.
    Tomoko

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  32. Mmmm, sound very good -- both the post and the nostalgia. These are the stuff lifelong passions are made of -- some love, some care and a lot of growth, be it Tulsi or us.

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  33. Beautiful tribute to your grandpa Arti .It touched my heart.That painted pot with Ram written on it reminds me tulsi at my mother's home.

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  34. Such a lovely tribute!

    I do like Tulsi tea. What do you do with the leaves?

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  35. I could so easily identify with your memories... you never write anything larger than life... yet you make them touchy! secret kya hai bhaiya?... lol... cheers...
    i too wrote something for the same cause... give a peep when you're free :-)

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  36. Such a lovely tribute to your grandpa.

    All the best for the contest.

    Have a lovely week ahead :-)

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  37. What a warm and touching post. Tulsi plant has life, Indians surely believe so. A beautifully narrated story...:)

    All the best for the contest!

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  38. A lovely post. Reminiscing comes natural for everyone, but writing them makes it difficult. The words make even the readers nostalgic. Very moving and touching story!

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  39. such a nice post...it made me nostalgic as i remember my good old days when i was young and used to be at my grand parents place during summer vacations...

    thanks and all the best for the contest...

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  40. Fortunate you are to have known and loved your grandpa -- I didn't really know either of mine. Great post, Arti. :)

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  41. Felt nice reading through the post. And some fantastic pics in there.

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  42. Such a sweet story! :) My sister, I also have Tulsi and I feel almost the same. My Granny used to worship Tulsi, so I got that love for Tulsi.

    The magic you told is really....beyond words. Though it's nature, still so unbelievable, new always.

    Very very beautiful pics.

    All the best..Arti!

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  43. Very touchy post... especially the last line..

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  44. Your Tulsi plant looks lovely. Your Grandpa would be proud.

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  45. Very interesting...Love the way you presented it. I too love planting tulsi and always keep 2-3 pots just for that.

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  46. Hi Arti, that was such a heart warming story. I loved reading every line. :)

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  47. A beautiful post with equally beautiful pictures. Best of luck for the contest.

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  48. @radha So glad to hear from you after long.. Even I face a similar problem, during my travels, my plant dries up too. And never mind of that forgotten password in IndiBlogger, you writing your thoughts here... I got more than a vote. Thanks, and please do bookmark my diary in your new browser as well :)

    @Mareta That is very sad to hear, Mareta. Its requirements, though basic are still essential. But never mind, read a bit more on it and then try planting again. If you do have any specific doubts on it, you can ask me, I will try to help.

    @LadiFi A Tulsi plant is considered to be very dear to Lord Krishna -- His purest devotee. Lord Krishna loves it when we offer Her leaves to Him with love. Hence, We love the tulsi plant because He likes.

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  49. @All Thank you everyone for all those kind words and appreciations. I am glad that the post, close to my heart, could touch your heart as well. All your comments truly made my day. Thank You! :)

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  50. Really nice post! you have rekindled my desire to start gardening :D

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  51. WOW! I love the Tulsi plant as well but never tried planting one! Maybe I should try this in my house!! :)

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  52. Arti...I am touched by this tale and I love the way you have narrated it...Wonderful lessons from life:)

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  53. so touching- the pure basil, the reflection of the relations and the post!

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  54. Such a simple yet beautiful post! Pictures are really Awesome! You have got such a great flavour of photography....

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  55. Great blog, Arti! Resonates with your name :)

    Is there way I can reach you? email?

    Cheers!
    http://eatpraylovemovies.blogspot.in/

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  56. very nice and heart warming tribute.

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  57. Very nice post Arti...what a precious link we all have with our grandparents.

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  58. I suddenly miss my grandpa so much...you write beautifully...and your love for nature, I so love too! thank you for visiting my space...

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  59. Very nice tribute to your grandfather and nice description of the tulsi plant.

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  60. So beautiful Arti! It is very touching that you still remember so well the things your grandfather taught you. (As grandparents ourselves, we can only hope that we have influenced our grandchildren half as well as yours did you!) A lovely post.

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  61. Such a touching post Arti. Your bond with your grandpa and the way you saw life come up as a first grader are so beautifully described. I hope your new plant grows tall again! I think I would definitely love to read more of your personal posts apart from your travels.

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  62. very interesting & beautiful post.
    i am the 1st time visitor to your link but i am sure will visit again & again.


    http://shonadesai.blogspot.com
    http://lolalyf.blogspot.com

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  63. So unique. The best way to pay a tribute to grandpa.

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  64. Hi Arti,
    Very nice one , your post also reminded of my childhood.. and my grandmother . . to whom we call Pooja waali daadi .. she was the one who always keep that TULSI plant alive ..and also used to tell its importance ..

    Your post is definitively a warm heart touching ..

    And All the best for the Contest.

    I will login and check for yours..post over Indi.

    It has been a long time since ..I have actually been here on the blogosphere..

    Happy Holi ..enjoy.

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  65. Very nicely scribbled. I am sure each one of us have loads n loads of memories of our grand parents but you have brought your memories alive with this post. Excellent.
    All the best for contest Arti

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  66. Such a lovely post. I love the Tulasi plant as well. Waiting for the new plants to emerge. All of mine are dry now....

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  67. What a lovely post Arti, values what our grandparents taught us will remain forever...I Love tulsi plants too have just put all the seeding in the pot which My mom had given me when I was in India...Happy holi to You and ur family:)

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  68. Such a touchy & memorable post, Arti.
    A tribute to your grandpa. They make our lives more fruitful. Don't they?

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  69. Indeed, Tulsi has life in it! I find the smell of the leaves so divine and enchanting :) And closely watching it grow must be a lovely experience...

    Warm and beautiful post, Arti! Great tribute to your dadaji. Best wishes for the contest :)

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  70. I am really delighted to read you.
    Love your beautiful presentation.
    Could know and add to my knowledge about 'Tulsi Maa".
    Thanks.

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  71. It makes my heart filled with great warmth to read this post. Though you might not have realized as a small girl, you came to know how precious those memories with your dadaji had been and they became a part of you.
    My father-in-low was such kind of man and I am happy for my daughters to be loved and have learned a lot from him.
    Thank you for sharing this, Arti.

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  72. Just came through your blog.. wonderful posts..love you..

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  73. This is my visit to this post now.. Every I started to read, I said to myself, wait, I have to read this in leisure and savor it properly. Today finally after midnight I enjoyed reading your great post thoroughly. Such wonderful memories to cherish forever.

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  74. A very lovely post..... :)

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  75. Nostalgic it is :) :) wonderfully penned down as always!

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  76. He remains alive as an inspiration to you and to everyone who read this post. Inspirational...!

    Someone is Special

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  77. Very nicely written. Warm and sensitive. Memories of our loved ones live on through various ways..

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  78. That was a very very sweet post. Very touching. Isn't it wonderful how people we love really always manage to stay around us.. even when they're no longer with us?

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  79. Touching indeed..Arti.. Great post.!

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  80. Hi Arti ...CONGRATS for winning the contest...

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  81. More than the expressiveness of the words, more than the appropriateness of the pictures, more than the friendliness of the idea... I loved the fact that soooooooo many readers have come and commented on the post! I envy this! :)

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  82. Really nice blog- heart touching!

    Also, kudos for having so many good friends to write in :)

    3 cheers!

    http://ektakhetan.blogspot.com

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  83. Warm & touching tribute to yout Grandfather.

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  84. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this with me Arti. :)

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