An unusual Family Tale.

I have known KS and his younger brother DS since my school days.

KS is a year older than I am. He worked in many jobs after schooling and brought up two sons to the best of his ability. The elder son Surya, did extremely well in his studies got scholarships and graduated from one of India’s top IITs with a B.Tech degree and like many of his contemporaries emigrated to the USA where he has flourished. The younger son Chander was able to graduate in humanities and got into the Civil Service with a Chennai posting where he has provided a home and care for his father since the death of his mother ten years ago.

DS on the other hand, failed to get through his matriculations examinations despite three attempts and became a seaman in the Merchant Marine and disappeared from India after a big showdown with his father who had scolded him for not studying enough. His parents and KS gave up all hopes of ever seeing him again some fifty years ago.

I received a phone call from KS yesterday to relate to me the following story.

DS landed up in Chennai some days ago and after much searching using all possible resources was able to locate KS and called on him two days ago. It was a grand reunion with much emotional scenes and reminiscences which went on for a few hours. It turned out that DS had settled down in Europe after getting married to a European and is now a citizen there. He has apparently established himself well with his in-laws and now manages their family business.

Chander hurried home from his office after a phone call from his father about the visit of DS and met his uncle for the first time. It was soon time enough for DS to depart and before he did, he told KS “You are very lucky. I wish that my son was like yours.”

Chander overheard this and became very emotional and at the door as DS was leaving hugged DS and was in tears. DS consoled him and asked him why he was crying. On Chander telling him that he was crying because he was overwhelmed by the praise he received from DS about wanting his son to be like him, DS without thinking said, “I was talking about Surya who has done so well in the USA” and left.

Naturally, Chander was inconsolable with the snub. It took many hours of comforting from KS and Chander’s wife before he could be pacified.

KS wanted to share his own angst and called me to vent on.

I too was and continue to be amazed at the thoughtless comment made by DS. Had I been in his shoes, even if I had originally meant the comment about Surya, I would have used the opportunity to praise Chander for looking after his father in the latter’s old age etc. I suppose that such thoughtfulness does not come easily to people who have been away from the family for decades.

What would have been your response had you been in DS’s shoes?

Memory Trigger – Caravelle.

Very often just a word can trigger off some long forgotten memory and bring back vivid images to one’s mind. At least this happens to me often and that is exactly what happened this morning when a friend recalled something from his past.

Before proceeding, my friend is a retired Indian Air Force Officer and is around my age.

He was relating a story to me about security arrangements in the IAF stations when he recalled a civilian aircraft landing in the IAF station where he was posted then. He mentioned that it was a Caravelle of the Indian Airlines and that immediately triggered off a vivid memory. I waited for him to finish of his narrative and explained to him my recollection and he too was amazed that a single word brought so much back to me.

It was July 1971, yes, fifty years ago, when my fifteen day old son flew an Indian Airlines Caravelle flight from Hyderabad to Bombay as it was then called. He was coming to his parental home from his mother’s maternal one and was being carried by his mother in her arms.

Airports then did not have all the rigmaroles that we have now.  My parents and I were waiting for his arrival at the arrival lounge from where we could see the tarmac where the flight offloaded passengers.

The tension was palpable as passengers started disembarking from the front door.  The last one got off and the ground crew started to go up the steps to clean etc and still no sign of my wife and my son.  The three of us started to worry.  There were no mobile phones those days to get in touch instantly with the person presumed to have missed the flight.  We then saw a sight that is still etched deeply into my consciousness.

My wife was the last to disembark and the memory that I cannot forget is her coming down the steps from the rear of the aircraft, taking a bundle from an air hostess who was escorting her, and walking slowly with the precious little bundle in her arms all the way from the aircraft to the arrival lounge.   The precious bundle swiftly changed hands. I was present at his arrival in Hyderabad so, he was no novelty to me but, to my parents, their first grandchild was, and I can still recollect the happy noises and cooing from them there in the airport lounge.

The most unforgettable aspect of that entire episode was the disembarking from the rear as is shown in the image below, alas not of the Indian Airlines Caravelle. I had flown Caravelles before and had never used the rear exit and did not even know that there was one.   Seeing this was a surprise to me.  You will see from the image above that there was only one door for the Indian Airlines aircraft.  My wife then explained that since she was carrying an infant in her hands, the Captain had arranged for this as a special case.

Other than Military aircrafts, I don’t think that this access is in existence anymore in Civilian Aircrafts. I had never used one ever despite having flown countless number of times all over the world. Have you?

Broccoli.

The image above could well be that of me and my younger brother when we were teenagers going to school in Chennai. We did not have a dining table at home those days and sat on the floor  to eat like most Indians even now do.

Just above our heads would have been a window facing our garden below. We were on the first floor as tenants and the ground floor was occupied by another family.

When anything that we did not like was served to us, both of us would simply chuck it over our shoulders through the window when our mother was not watching.

That is, till one day, the ground floor neighbour found the time to catch hold of my father to complain about food being thrown in his garden.

You can imagine the rest.

This memory came rushing back to me when I read this cartoon yesterday.

Customer Service 2.

In my blog post yesterday on Topli Na Paneer, I had said that I will be reviewing the product and the customer service today. Here I go with both.

CUSTOMER SERVICE.
I was promised that the paneer will be delivered to me by around 8 AM this morning. Just before 8, I received a phone call from the vendor advising me that there will be a slight delay but, the delivery will take place soon. Since it was no big deal, I agreed to wait and the delivery was made by 9.15. The young lad in fact rang me up to seek directions to my place and was prompt thereafter in delivering the parcels.

PRODUCT.
Ranjan and I had these for lunch and enjoyed every bite of it. We intend ordering for it regularly henceforth.

Dream Come True.

Way back in the early seventies of the last century, someone very dear to me came to stay with us for a few months till he could find his own digs in a strange city.

Having just acquired a degree in Chemical Engineering, he had got himself a job through campus recruitment and was quite thrilled to be independent after many years of being a dependent.

During those times of talking about his future, he would repeatedly tell us that he will one day buy himself a Maserati. Those were the days when India produced three brands of cars none of which would compare anywhere near a Maserati and in any case, unless one bought a second hand Indian one at a higher price than a brand new one, due to long waiting periods for delivery after booking, such dreaming was rather unrealistic.

Unrealistic that is for others but, not for that young man.

Fast forward to forty years later to 2011 and that not so young man, bought himself a BMW. I had not known about his purchase and had gone to visit him when he suggested that we go for a drive and took me down to the garage where the BMW was waiting for him.

I have known that man from his childhood and had never seen a bigger grin on his face than what I saw that day. He said, “No, not a Maserati but, I have settled for a BMW.”
I got this image this morning from another friend in WhatsApp. I promptly forwarded the image to that man with the comment: “You did not. ❤️ “

A Strange Day.

A cousin who I am in regular touch with sent me this poem yesterday in WhatsApp.
VOID IN LIFE

The passing-away of
one’s better-half
Leaves a great void
in one’s daily life
Pondering over days
spent together
Appears impossible
to re-live twice
The goodness of life
one had enjoyed
Now appears like a
star in the sky
Can only visualise but
can-not realise
It is fact of Life, one
can summarise
The passing away of
one’s better-half
Leaves a great void
in one’s daily life.

He explained later that it was from a dear friend of his who had recently lost his wife.

Having experienced the loss of my wife I could relate and was mulling over the experience when my door bell rang, unusually by someone ringing it three times.

It spoiled my reverie and I went to open the door fully determined to let whoever it was who had done that a piece of my mind only to find that it was my elderly neighbour. On seeing her, my mood immediately changed and I opened the door to find out what prompted her to come over as, she rarely leaves her home as both she and her husband are not in the pink of health. I had not seen either of them since the outbreak of covid early last year.

She wanted to come inside to meet “Memsahib”. I thought that she wanted to meet my daughter in love and said that she was off at work and will return only late in the evening. She then interrupted me to ask to meet my wife.

I was totally zapped and told her that my wife had died twelve years ago. On hearing this, she broke down and I had to bring her in and make her sit down to recover. I then understood that her illness also included some element of dementia as, she kept talking about things that were ancient.

I had to calm her down, pacify her, talk about other things about our neighbourhood for about fifteen minutes and then escort her back to her home just across a landing from ours.

This was an unusual coincidence and I am still wondering if some kind of message is being sent to me!

What do you, my dear reader, think?