Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Here`s toMom & Dad..

I never really write about my family – my folks back home, my inlaws or the cute little devils in the family. It’s a conscious decision not to write about family. Because most of them aren’t happy about being discussed on a public forum. I don’t necessarily see the logic in this statement, as I don’t in most others that they make. But like always(or mostly) I have reconciled to not writing about family.
Today,however, happens to be a special day. So I shall break the unwritten rule for once.

Sometime back, I read this letter written by a six year old.
“Dear God,” she wrote..
I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world at all times. There are only five people in my family and I can never do it.
I was astounded by the truth in this simple statement.
I wish I could say that I`m very happy with where I am, in the relationship with my folks back home. But I cant.
Because I`m not.
But I can say this much.
I`m very happy with where they are, in their relationship with each other.
My Mom and Dad, by chronology, have completed 35 years of togetherness today. By all other standards, it’s an eternity lived over and over again.

For a change, Dad sounded animated on the phone today.
“Happy Anniversary Baba! 35 years huh?!!”
“Thank you, thank you!” he beamed, “ Yes,35 years with Mom!”
“Yeah..Hats Off!! A Standing Ovation to you”
“Yeah yeah, join the kids and make fun of me,” Ma shouted somewhere in the background, amidst a thunderous roar of laughter from Dad,that is still resounding in my ears.
The happiness was palpable through the phone line.
My relationship with them has never been a breezy walk by the lake on a warm summer afternoon. Infact it has been more like an urgent sprint across slushy, sliperry terrains in a raging snowstorm. But it has vastly improved over the years, although I guess I`ll forever have my differences.
Oh they have been around to help me pick up the pieces when my world was falling apart. They taught me time and again,to recognize the slow,calculated circling of an eagle before it swooped down on me with extended talons.
They religiously repeated those lessons through the years and yet I never learnt.
They were disappointed. Disgusted. Even angry.
But They were there all the same. They never gave up on me.
I`ve shouted abuses(yes!Unbelievable as it sounds), thrown sickeningly horrific tantrums and locked myself up in the room. I`ve spent hours planning an escape.
I`ve nursed grudges forever. I`ve blamed them for who I have become.I`ve spent my life finding faults with them. I`ve hated them for the negativity I see in them.
Never an open arm and or a warm hug. Never a word of love or appreciation. And yet, I find comfort in their constant presence. I feel reassured, knowing they are the only people in the world who shall accept me unconditionally. Whether I`m good or very very bad, I shall not be abandoned. I shall always be theirs. To love or to hate. But I shall be theirs. Which is more than what I can say for any other relationship that I share.
I see them after all these years. Time having left unmistakable prints on their physique, while their minds and hearts continue to be startlingly fresh.
And I feel like talking to them. You know, I never really had an adult conversation with them ever.
“You guys could have done better. A lot better,” I`d say.
“ But thank you for trying atleast.
I know you gave up the comforts of your own lives, so we(my sister and me) could live out our dreams. Thank you for all of that.
(But really, did it matter so much if I lost three water-bottles in a row, in school? Or that I got 15 instead of 18 in a Maths test? Could it not have been overlooked?)
Do I wish you were better/stronger/ warmer/friendlier people? I guess.
But I wouldn’t ever want to trade places with anyone else.
I wouldn’t ever give up on you. Really I wouldnt.
Because you never gave up on me.”

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Lesson Learnt - Part 3

Dec 2008

I dragged myself around the corner to the rickshaw stand, wiping away a wet forehead on a sultry december afternoon. There was only one rickshaw waiting at the stand. In exasperated resignation, I hoisted myself onto the battered seat and snapped at the puller to move it and move it fast. I didnt have all day to spend.
I sat impatient and edgy, as the man huffed and puffed(was it my weight, I now wonder?!) uphill towards the pharmacy.
You know how there are some days when you hate everything and everyone around you, feel like snapping their heads off and usually do?
This was one such day. I hated being where I was. I longed for the comfort of My Iona Home.
And suddenly, my train of thought was interrupted by a fresh dribble of sweat across my face. The rickshaw was not moving.
"What the..", I said to the man,only to see a big van blocking the way. The rickshaw wala backed off a little, allowing the van to pass.
And we came and stood in front of an old building that had seen it all. Battered by the years gone by. Its bricks crushed by the weight of abandoned dreams. A forlorn dilapidated skeleton, yet standing tall.
And just as I was turning away, I saw a small door at the street level that opened onto a dimly lit room beyond. In my frame of view,I could see a wooden charpoy frame strung with long ropes and balanced on broken red bricks. A couple of steel vessels lying one on top of the other on a black floor. And an old woman sitting there facing the door, with a little boy of 3, singing songs to him and teaching him to clap.
"Probably care-takers," I thought and instantly dismissed them off, until I noticed the rickshaw puller peer inside. And just then the little boy jumped up and came running out.
"Baba (Father!)!" he waved excitedly.
"Aikhon noy (Not now)," said the embarrassed rickshaw puller and hurriedly moved ahead for fear of another jab. But I could hear the smile in his voice.
He kept waving one hand over his head, until we completely turned around the corner.
I sat stunned, all the irritation suddenly evaporating. A muscle contracting in shame.
Did I really forget how to smile?

Part 2

Part 1

Friday, January 9, 2009

No Words contd...

Somehow, my interaction with the deaf couple the other day seems to have left an impact. I havent been able to get them out of my mind ever since.
Did you know that Sign Language is not Universal? I wonder why I thought it would be..
Just like all other languages of the world, Sign Languages vary from one region to another.
Ever since I was a child, I remember being hooked to the t.v set every Sunday afternoon. Just before the regional films at 2pm, there would be a weekly news telecast for the deaf. Anybody remember that? I remember looking on,fascinated. I would wonder how people communicate without words.
I still do.
Its different from sharing a moment of quiet, is it not?
I for one, continue to remain vocal. Very vocal. Although that`s not to say that I havent had my moments of quiet, when just a look or a smile or a lingering touch has spoken a thousand words.
But I wonder if that kind of silence is any different from the one this couple shares? What about you? How intense is your need to be vocal?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

No Words

Today as The G and I sat opposite each other quietly working, a Chinese couple walked into the coffee shop and came and sat behind us. They dragged the sofa chairs around, so they could face each other and then settled down quietly. I waited for them to begin talking.
And then I waited some more.
I shifted in my seat,stuck my neck out,trying to catch a few bits of conversation. No Joy!
Fifteen minutes later - still no words.
"Aha!" I thought and motioned to The G.He raised his eyebrows questioningly, irritated by the interruption.
"They`re not talking," I whispered and grinned meaningfully.
The G isnt too big on the talking scene. He would happily spend time with me, reading a book, listening to a favourite track, planning things out or even cooking together.But he would not talk. Not to spend time, no. And somehow I`ve always held that against him.
"Ofcourse they`re not", he said and got down to work again.
I waited some more.Five minutes later and still no words. I turned back in curiosity.
There they were, the two of them. Mustve been around 50 years of age. Conversing like I have never seen two people converse before. Two pairs of eyes locked into each other. One excited,gleaming,bubbling over. The other quietly smiling. Their fingers moving in synchrony. Graceful. Fluid. Faces alive with unspoken words. Eyes brimming over with unuttered love. Thoughts tumbling down through fingertips like snowflakes from Heaven. Soft. Untouched. Electrifying.
I looked across the table at The G. He looked up and smiled.
There are times when words can be done without. This was one of them.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Joy to The World..

I`ve been sitting with the laptop religiously everyday for hours without the faintest notion of what I should post. Today however, a realization dawned on me.There seems to me, an unwritten rule in a lot of blogs that in order to create a post, one must either backpack Europe, give birth, join the order of holy matrimony or embark on a holidayish adventure. I now find myself in an aforementioned category, and thus another post!
This being the first post in yet another brand new year, I guess it should be all bright and hopeful. So I`ll try, even though I remember putting a comment on OJ`s blog about how much more scarier the future(read: new year) seems. And that, it is the only tangible difference I can recognize from last year! And guess what`s scarier? That its all true!!
Last year, I remember feeling happy. I had managed to quit The Indian Army and was home with The G! I remember thinking that this is all I want. And I was happy.This year I am home with The G. And yet, there`s this niggling itch somewhere deep within. Maybe that with each passing year, our definitions for happiness change. Or that small things in life cease to be of meaning anymore. Or that the more we get, the more we want.
I was home in time for Christmas. The G and I spent a warm December evening decorating our Tree, putting up red stockings and glass fairies with much love and laughter, amidst bites of juicy oranges(!!) and freshly baked garlic bread! And then drove 250 miles in a snow storm the next morning, to spend a warm white Christmas together in a log cabin by the North Shore. Just the two of us. The days have simply flown past since then, in a flurry of activities. Frantic raids of showrooms to find The Perfect recliner for our family room, until we did. Endless hours at our favourite coffee shop, discussing Life`s plans. Home cooked dinners and Netflix movies over Strawberry IceCream. What more can a girl want?
Apparantly more!
I spent the first day of the new year sulking. I wouldn’t have allowed that to bother me. Because that was what my new year resolution was all about! Nope, not that I shall not sulk. But that I shall not let the sulking bother me anymore.The wise soul in me has long made peace with the fact that sulking is an inherent part of my being. I sulk, therefore I am.
So anyway, coming back to the original point I was trying to make, that having had an extraordinary adventure of sorts this Christmas(And more for lack of better ideas!), I feel I should do a post. Let me not ruin it by words. Let me just post some pics for you to enjoy!(This one`s for you OJ)..p.s - The pics are in the post below.

The log cabin and view from the inside..