Today is November 11th, 2011. All day long I’ve heard, “Hey, it’s 11/11/11, that’s so cool” or “Ooh, 11/11, make a wish”, etc, etc. I think it’s sweet that people follow superstitions, since I find myself believing quite a few, but today is about more than just good luck or happy coincidence to me.

November 11th was my Papa’s birthday. My mother’s father, who lived in India with my Nana until February, 2005; who fought to stay alive to wish her Happy 54th Anniversary and died the day after from his battle with prostate cancer. He was a magnificent husband, father and grandfather. I loved him and was devastated when he left this life behind.

Soon after his death, my mum and I started noticing that just about every time we glanced at a clock, 11 was a part of the time. More often than not we would be on the phone with each other and there it was: 3:11, 8:11, 11:11 and so on. It became so noticeable that E picked up on it too. Now he calls or texts me when it’s 11:11. I like to think it’s as if Papa is forever here with us, watching over us and saying ‘Hello’ whenever he can. It’s a friendly little reminder of the wonderful person we all looked up to.

I have the best memories of him; most during the brief visits to India as a child. We’d walk up the road to the local restaurant to pick up Masala Dosas and Idlis wrapped in banana leaves, strung with twine. He used to take me to the corner shop for sweets too (mostly I think he liked the excuse to buy himself a few more!). I used to ride standing on the floor of his scooter, surrounded by his arms while he drove, often with Nana perched on the back seat headed to the Club to play billiards or cards.

He was also very strict about my behavior and stood no nonsense or whining. I hated it then, but know now it was because he loved me too much to allow me to become a spoiled brat. I see his serious face in Oliver quite often. I look down at my son and instead see my Papa’s face peering back at me. It’s another lovely reminder of him and I hope I remember to tell my boys all about their Great-Papa and how much he would have loved and taught them.

I miss him and want to honor his memory today, his birthday. Papa, I love you and believe you’re looking down upon us having a nice cup of tea and a sweet in celebration.

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