The Grandpa returns !

The Grandpa returns !

There was a lot of turmoil in the house that morning. We were all upset. We searched all the bedrooms of the big two storied house called The Haveli, we stayed at that time at Dehradun, in erstwhile UP, India.
It was winter. By Indian standards, it was very cold, indeed.
Some of the kids were asked to search in the basement room too. However, no success came our way.
My dad decided at last, enough was enough, a complaint had to be filed, with the Police, he said.
We marched to the Police station. My father, my brother, and me.
The Daroga ( Police official ) refused to enter the complaint.
Father told him, “Please enter a missing complaint !”
I said “Our Grandpa is missing !”
“Where is the photo ? “, he demanded. My father handed him a photo.
“But, it is of only an old man’s stick.!”
He laughed. “Where is your Grandpa !” he asked.
My father showed him the wooden carving done on the handle of the stick by the famous artist of that time who was Grandpa’s student. It bore the miniature picture of my grandpa in pugree ( head gear) and holding a cigar in his mouth.
He also showed him magnified picture of the stick, which looked like a proper photograph of the old man.
My dad explained him that after the demise of his father, the stick was treated as Grandpa.
At the time of all the family functions, it was garlanded. It was placed in the Grandnpa’s huge chair at family marriages and birthdays as if Grandpa was himself present.
The Daroga was pretty confused. He did note a complaint of the missing stick, reluctantly, in his book.
We returned to our house in the White Ambassador car, which my dad had.
We were worried because the following day was Grandpa’s birthday.
Early morning, the next day there was a tapping of Daroga’s lathi on our haveli- door. The haveli was being decoratd with flowers at that time.
“Sir , the Grandpa is located ! “ he said. “Safe and sound!”
My dad sent his car with the Daroga. He returned within an hour with the Grandpa lying down in the back seat.
My father had instructed the Daroga to ensure that since Grandpa never allowed anyone to sit on the back seat when he traveled, the stick be laid on his seat as if he lay there himself.
The stick we were told was stolen by a servant who sold it to the antique dealer in the old bazaar near the clock-tower !

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