December 27, 2019

The Undefeated: A Life Worth Writing About - Part I

The Undefeated

His walk had the enthusiasm and exuberance, uncharacteristic for an Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U). At least it felt so to the two sets of eyes that looked at him when he entered the room. Strangers walking in and out of a room in a hospital is not unusual, but his gait seemed to have disturbed the monotony that had defined the past 2.5 months for these women.

Therefore, he was received with more irritation than skepticism. Brief introductions ensued and the young man continued towards the bed.

An old and frail man laid there. Unconscious.

They could sense the familiar unease in him, that every visitor had shown, in the months gone by. Reactions of disbelief, shock, trauma and grief had become commonplace.

This could not have happened to “Him”.  “He” was indestructible, and the laws of Nature were not supposed to get to him!

The young man, initially perturbed at finding him in this situation, steadied himself and addressed the ladies.

“I am one of His assistants and was fighting a case on His behalf in the State High Court. He prepared the whole case and trained us for every eventuality. Even though he was not present at the hearings, it seemed he had played it in his mind, all along.”

He paused, looked at Him again, smiled and continued.

“And WE WON!”

The case hearing had been recorded and he had come a long way to play that for Him. He put the headphones on Him and played the recording from his phone.

His face beamed; His fist unclenched; His fingers moved; He may also have smiled a little.

And just like that, He – Advocate Shri Pratap Chandra Mathur – my grandfather – my dear Nana, while in a coma, registered another win in his name.

Till the end, he remained undefeated.

Life 1: Death 0

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My grandfather passed away earlier this year. Today, December 27th, is his birthday. Over the past year, my family and I, have talked in detail about his life and legacy. But the fundamental shortcoming of reminiscing and discussing one's legacy is that it starts from the point of them passing away. We tend to gravitate towards the world that they left behind more than the memories they created on the way!  Thus, the beautiful intricacies of their life often go unnoticed.

So, to honor his life, over the course of next few weeks, I would be posting short anecdotes signifying how I would like him to be remembered.

While these stories are personal and unique, I am sure they would resonate with a larger audience. The emotions, experiences and challenges of the Greatest Indian Generation inspire us all and we grew up listening to them. It is, therefore, my sincere hope that in the life of my grandfather, my readers would find the stories of the great patriarchs and matriarchs of their homes too. 


  1. You have shown very good writing skills. Exceptionally well. It should be really difficult to write the real life emotional stories.

    1. Thank you uncle! I hope I can keep up the quality for the whole series.

  2. Simply brilliant dear Manu.Would have liked to express my reaction but words seem to have failed me. Can only bless you.

  3. Beautiful lines. Some people stay forever


Now, it is time to be honest !