Thursday, June 9, 2011

Three Spoons of Sugar

There is only one one thing that feels right in this moment - writing.

He would take a sip of his tea, look up at me and say "are you sure this has three spoons of sugar?" I tried to trick him so many times. But, Nana Ji knew his sugar better than anyone else. He knew when is tea was "just right." I would ask him if he wanted anything with his tea and he would ask, "are there any sweets in the house." That's my Nana Ji :)

This is one of many memories of him I hold near and dear to my heart. He was sweet just like his tea. One dessert per meal and that too with a big smile.

Every blood test Nana Ji ever had revealed normal sugar level :)

Dr. Harnam Singh Shan, my Nana Ji, just passed away today. I can't even comprehend the fact that this has happened because he is so far away. Many of you knew him and many of you are familiar with literary his work.

He was truly an amazing man who has contributed a great deal to each one of our lives and especially the Sikh community.

I used to call Nana Ji "custom made." When I was studying for my Step 1, he was always awake with me - he was my 87-year-old study buddy who always seemed to have a more productive day!

He would wake up, recite his prayers and just get to work. He would work until 1 a.m. and stop only for the news and his daily walks.

He always had two thermoses on his dresser. One with cold water, one with warm water. Then, he would call one of us to mix the water for him...just right. He was definitely custom made.

Everything he did started and ended with an Ardaas. Everything includes eating, drinking, walking, talking, driving, opening my board scores...I mean EVERYTHING. I'm so happy he did this before driving. Those of you who have been in the car with him know why I am saying this.

"Nana Ji! Red LIGHT!," I said. "Where? What is this?" he said as we ran the red light in a busy intersection of Chandigarh.

Nana Ji never retired. He kept working and before he left America this last spring, he told me he has one publication per year of life. I have never met anyone with his self-discipline and focus.

He diligently worked through the time he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. As his cancer spread, he wrote longer hours and worked harder to complete his work. His devotion to his profession and faith is inspiring.

First spoon of sugar for nana ji - Nani Ji, his wife, who was his partner in everything he did. When he was hear he recited a romantic poem he had written for her. "Leave your dishes and work. I will leave my books and writing. Just come, sit with me," he recited while smiling and remembering her.

Second spoon of sugar - His writings and contribution to the Sikh Panth. I was informed that he was still writing letters from the hospital. Yesterday, someone received a letter from him about his work.

Third spoon of sugar - His humor. Even at 25, Nana Ji would always ask me if I still had my nose. This never got old.

"God bless you, more, much more, still more, and all the more," Dr. Harnam Singh Shan (Sept. 15, 1923 - June 10, 2011).

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