Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Completely drenched.... totally soaked......

I spent the weekend at Borivali. And came back with a very heavy heart. A lot of things could be at work but most of all, was this feeling of loneliness. The kind of feeling one gets of being lonely even in a crowd. Except Sanjay, who was recuperating from his malaria, we were all there, and yet, my mind wasn’t. Even at Nakshatra, where I was for most of the two days, and was pretty much occupied with the interior work, but something kept tugging at my heart. Even when Sudhirmama or Vardekaka kept constantly referring to 304 as ' Deepa che ghar.'

It is the last week of July. And that by itself always weighs me down. No matter how hard I try, I just cannot block out the events of that week in 2001. Time is supposed to be a great healer, but in this case, it is getting more n more difficult to face this time of the year, with each passing year. I wish I could just do away with this month. It is too traumatic.

And then, there are the rains. Heavy, unrelenting Bombay rains. I stepped out into the heavy downpour yesterday. It feels so good to have the cold rain all over you, drenching you in all its iciness. It really was a very heavy lashing with cold, cold winds and I really enjoyed walking in that shower. I did have people looking at me in amazement. They must have wondered. But I had my thoughts with me. Thoughts about Sunny and my conversation with him yesterday morning. And then, there is Atul. And Neha. All in my thoughts. Parag, who I haven’t met in the whole of last year. And Mustafa, who was here last week and wanted me to meet him over a cup of coffee. And I tried to but couldn’t make it. Preeti, whom I haven’t called in almost a month. And of-course, Sanjay, with whom it’s been quite sometime that I went for a leisurely walk. To his arms I love to snuggle up to and he slips his hand around my waist as we walk.

My racing thoughts and the ever-increasing downpour……

And suddenly, I couldn’t fight the tears anymore. Even as they mixed with the rain pouring down my face, overwhelming me completely. I just kept walking. I don’t know if it was the rain in my eyes or the tears, but my sight got blurred and I knew I had to stop or I might not turn back. I just stood there for sometime taking in the rain and allowed my tears to flow freely. Till I felt drained. Bare.

Then I returned home;
completely drenched by the rains……..
totally soaked in my emotions…….

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

22nd July....

Today is 22nd July….. Papa’s birthday.

…………… and life goes on.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mere Papa ka Ghar

Yes, the reincarnation of Gurukunj is finally complete.

It has been reborn. As Nakshatra. Old makes way for new.
The owners of gurukunj (yes, I call them owners and not tenants) are happy to have got new apartments with an extra room thrown in. A brand new structure that has tried to adhere to most of the new and contemporary norms of architecture. Everything is new. New layout, new patio, new compound, new entrance, new address, everything. Even the residents are going to be new. In addition to the previous owners, this new structure will have an equal number of new guys making it their abode. New, everything is new.

And everyone is so happy. And for obvious reasons. What have they lost? A few precious memories? In any case, it would be grossly unjust to hold that against them. Everybody wants to move on and it is the right thing too.

I understand their euphoria and I am happy for all of them. Yet, something holds me from rejoicing with them. Actually, it’s just that I cannot let go. I cannot let go of my memories. I want to hold on to the memories of the home that my Papa lived in, the walls of the house that bore testimony to my most precious moments spent with him, the floor he walked on. Everything has been replaced and nothing will ever be the same. No matter how hard I try to be practical, I just cannot let go of the memories of the place where I grew up. Where I played, fought, won, lost as a little girl, where I made my very first friends, celebrated every year of growing up, where I learnt some of the most important lessons of my life, where my overall personality was shaped, where I morphed from an awkward teenager into a gracious lady. From this place, I was married off and set forth to set up my own home but Gurukunj, mere Papa ka ghar, was above everything, as is true for any girl. After marriage, whenever I came to Gurukunj, I came home. It was always so welcoming when the uncles and aunties stopped to enquire about my wellbeing.

In the past few years, Gurukunj saw a lot of pain. When, one after the other, we lost our dear ones. Phansekar kaka, Joshi baba, Kakodkar uncle, Pendse kaki, Desai kaki, Lad kaka, and my Papa. At some point, it seemed like the heavens had conspired against us and literally snatched away all these people so suddenly that every time, a painful news came to me, I just couldn’t believe nor accept it. Especially after the sudden and premature demises of my Papa, Kakodkar uncle and Phansekar kaka, who were all great pals and whose friendship dated back to the days when they had just started their careers at the State Bank and had to get married yet, Gurukunj became more precious as all that was left behind were the memories of these guys. The houses that they had painstaking made into warm homes, who had provided so well for their children, who were complete people; Gurukunj had all those memories associated with them.

Gurukunj might have become old, and infested with termites and all that, but it had what nothing in this whole world has. It had memories of my Papa, of room no.17 that was my cocoon, of my childhood, my teenage life and a whole plethora of such events. And now, all that is gone. Destroyed forever. Now, it will only continue to live in our minds.

I don’t mean that nobody there feels the loss, but I guess it’s not the same. I agree, one should welcome change with open arms. I do too, only if half-heartedly.
And every time that I will now go visit there; I wonder if it will ever be the same.

Will I be ever going back to mere Papa ka ghar????????
I don’t think so.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Teddy takes his very first examination......

Today marked yet another milestone in my little one’s life. Teddy, my angel, gave his very first examination of his life today. He wrote his English paper today. He had two prose lessons, 3 pages of spell-well, 3 pages of structures related to his prose, he also had grammar consisting of the use of ‘is, am, are’, naming words i.e.; nouns, and the use of ‘a and an’. He also had about 8 pages of a series called the ‘companion’ book. And then, there was the good, ol’ dictation. 20 words that too, no less.

Undoubtedly, today was indeed a very significant day for him. He definitely didn’t understand the fuss about examinations, but today marked a beginning of a lifetime of such tests. Which equals to pressure to outdo your own self each time, and the stress thereof. Ask my elder gem about this and you will surely get an earful!

But to Teddy, today was just like any other day. He woke up at his usual time, had his leisurely glass of milk and got yelled at as always, went about his daily morning rituals and was generally, not hassled. He, in fact, went and did some marketing all by himself too, today. I sent him to get me some green chilies and he, very confidently pocketed the Rs.2 coin I gave him and readily went and brought the stuff. Then, having done with all the mundane tasks, we sat down to a round of revisions. And for all his abilities, Aks just could not fathom why he was being made to go through all the books today at a single go.
At some point he said to me, “bas ma. Ab main bore ho gaya.” And there was no point in me pushing him as I had lost his attention to a pawn from his chess-board lying in a corner. And obviously, how do you explain to a 5 ½ year old the seriousness of examinations? It was so mesmerizing to see him in his carefree world sitting by the window watching the rains having no thoughts about what he was setting about to. I wished I could let him be in that cocoon of carefree bliss forever. But, that is so obviously not possible.

I readied him for his school and sent him off with a ‘best of luck’ and the usual peck on his cheek. Of-course, also not before I had given him a set of instructions about how to go about in his test. This, I m sure, he followed of very little but heard me out nonetheless.
All through the day, I kept thinking about my little one. My heart and mind was only with him. When the clock struck one, I was like, ok, now he must have entered his class. Now the paper would have been given to him. Will he be able to read, will he know where he is supposed to write his answers, will he be able to handle the questions…. So many thoughts kept racing through my mind. At around 3.30pm I knew it was over or at least supposed to be. Now the wait for him to reach home was driving me up the wall. And when he returned home in the evening, I asked him about his exams n pat came the reply,’ but ma, it was just another worksheet.” That’s it! Plain and simple. And then, he got busy with the chocolate his friend had given him.

I guess Teddy’s first exam was more of a milestone in my life than his own………….

Sunday, July 13, 2008

i am carved out of stone.......

I am carved out of stone
they think….

They say what they please,
I have no heart
they think…..

They keep hurting me,
I don’t cry
they think….

They badger my soul,
I don’t bleed
they think….

They break my dreams,
I don’t yearn
they think….

They keep testing me,
I don’t break
they think….

I am carved out of stone
they think…..

I wrote this ode in one of those moments when yet again I was taken to be a person who is never affected by anything in life. To date I have no clue why it is thought that I can endure and sustain any hurt.

But yes, I get hurt too. And I do cry when that happens.

I have a heart too and in that heart, continues to live a little girl still waiting in the hope that someday she will be understood.

And maybe; till then I have to let them think I am carved out of stone ……...................

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Salt story

I read a nice, little story today. A simple boy saw a beautiful girl at a party. The girl was very attractive and also the cynosure of all eyes. The boy just couldn’t take his eyes off her charming face. He was totally besotted by the girl. So he asked her out for coffee. The girl agreed and they met the following day at a coffee-shop.
They ordered for coffee and then, waited for each one to begin a conversation. The boy didn’t know what to say, he was so nervous. The girl, though not nervous, was waiting for him to say something. Suddenly, the boy asked the waiter to get him some salt with his coffee. He then added the salt to his coffee and started sipping it. The girl found this very strange and asked the boy why he had salt in his coffee. To this, the boy replied that as a little boy, he had grown up by the sea-side. As a result, they had access to a lot of salt. Whenever, he did anything to upset his mom, he would add salt to his coffee. Likewise, when he did something to make his parents proud, he would add salt to his coffee. “So”, he said to her,” in short, I have a lot of memories, good and bad, associated with coffee and I add salt to always relive those.” This broke the ice between them and they got talking. The girl really liked the boy and his simple ways. Soon, they got married and lived happily, till the boy died after celebrating 45 years of wedded bliss.
One day, the girl came across an old journal. It belonged to the boy and in it, she found a letter addressed to her. He had written, ‘My love, in all my life, I have spoken but one lie to you. And that is, I never grew up by the sea-side. But that day, at the coffee shop, I lied to you. And then, to make up for that lie, I had salt in my coffee for the rest of my life. Thank you for coming into my life.’

There can be different interpretations to this story. The article of which this story was a part of, was actually about the age-old debate on whether a harmless lie or a painful truth.

But I read a totally different meaning into the story. To me it was about love. Pure and committed. The boy did an out of the ordinary action to get the girl’s attention and to break the ice between them. He made up a story and lived that false story for the rest of his life so that he could keep his love’s faith intact. How pure he must have been in his heart and how committed to his love! I mean, why was there the need for him to have salt in his coffee when he could have so very easily given up his coffee altogether. That way, he would not have had to have something he never had any taste for. In any case, he had got his love. And surely, the girl too, loved him equally deeply. So had he come clean with his lie, she wouldn’t have held that one against him? But, he chose to turn that lie into a commitment. For his love. For the trust of that love, he chose to live his lie.

This story really touched me. I totally lost the focus of the original article. To me, it became a depiction of love and the trust associated with it.

And to this love, I salute!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Reliving my thoughts as a young girl.....

Sunny, my kid brother, never ceases to amaze me. And then what amazes me some more is the fact that irrespective of our age difference and the different times that we have grown up in, we still think alike. I mean, what he thinks at his age now is exactly what I thought about in those times when I was about that age. Actually, a couple of years younger, but then, like they say, girls mature faster. And I have always had life giving me these huge lessons way too early. Be it a heart break or a jab of backstabs by your most trusted pal or betrayal or witnessing a divorce of a loved one and the painful repercussions thereof. Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about here though it could make an interesting blog by itself. What made me sit up and write today is when I read Sunny’s blog about these books relating to death. It reminded me that I had also expressed similar views way back in 1991 when we had lost dolly’s daddy.

I mean, Sunny is more refined in his thoughts than I am, a lot more focused as a result. And what he has written about is a thought process triggered by certain books he read. And what prompted me to pen down my thoughts was a totally different experience I had had.
Dolly’s dad, my uncle – his death was so sudden and untimely. And I was just a na├»ve, young girl whose mind was yet un-corrupted by the realities of life. Dolly and I being of the same age and practically growing up together, I felt her pain. We had shared almost everything in life together but this was one thing that I couldn’t share with her however much I may try or want. And I hated to see her in such a situation so early in life. So I wrote my hurt out as was and still is my practice.

Having read Sunny’s blogs on this topic, I was reminded of my own thoughts. So I hunted for my old journals and finally found what I was looking for in an old note book.

Here, I am reproducing exactly what I had written as a 21 yr old. I do not relate to most of it anymore. What changes my thoughts have gone through may be the next blog but right now I think reliving my thoughts as a young girl makes for some interesting reading. So here it is….

Dated: - November 1991.

DEATH ……… it is, after all a matter-of-fact. All who have come to life will go one day or the other. It is an accepted fact and yet, when death strikes, it leaves back tears, grief, loneliness and a deep shadow of depression. It creates a vacuum, an hollow which cannot be filled in.
Death, a reality just like birth, though a law of nature is the most difficult to face and come to terms with.
But I ask why? Isn’t it destined at the very time of conception that the life which will see light in 9 months time will ultimately be taken over by death? Isn’t it true that death is inevitable…that everyone has to face it someday?
Then why does it hurt? Why does it bring tears and gloom with it? Why can we not bring ourselves to accept and accept it gracefully, that we have lost a dear one to death? That he is no more and no amount of tears or prayers or frustration is ever going to get him back for us? Why?
I wouldn’t want anyone to cry for me. I have never liked anyone ever crying for me in all these 21 years of my life. I have always hated sympathy and pity. To date, I have never asked nor expected sympathy from anybody or out of any relation.
Whatever will be, will be and there is nothing that tears can do to help. I can understand the grief and the pain, but what will the tears do? They can’t bring back the departed soul.

I HATE TEARS and I always will, especially on death.
I would want all to bid adieu to me gracefully and calmly. That is the way I want everyone to live too. I want everyone to laugh and be cheerful. After all, we pass this way only once and the moment lost is lost forever. Then why cry? No, I definitely wouldn’t want anyone to cry after me. I have never liked crying, as it is, and I wouldn’t want anyone to bring tears to their eyes after I am gone. I want everyone who knows me to remember me as a cheerful, flamboyant person. I want them to remember that I hated tears as they depict weakness and I don’t want anyone I know to be weak.

I understand that parting is painful and that is what hurts and brings tears but you have to face it. The sooner one comes to terms with reality; the better it is for you and for those around you.

That was then…a good 17 years back. But today, I can’t say the same things. Today, I have experienced reality; the overwhelming joyous reality of giving birth and the tragic reality of death too. Today, I still cry for my Papa. I still feel that frustration on not being able to bring him home in his last moments. I still look up on some nights and hope that the brightest star shining is Papa looking at me from up there. I still cry when I think how unfair it was for Sunny and me to have to lose Papa when there was still so much he had to see. I empathized with dolly when she lost her dad but now, I totally understand the tears.