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 cousin who I am in regular touch with sent me this poem yesterday in WhatsApp.
VOID IN LIFE
The passing-away of
Leaves a great void
in one’s daily life
Pondering over days
to re-live twice
The goodness of life
one had enjoyed
Now appears like a
star in the sky
Can only visualise but
It is fact of Life, one
The passing away of
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?
I got a phone call early this morning from a young man APG, whom I had first met 31 years ago when he would have been around five years old. He and two other young lads in their family were the first children ever to call me Thatha, which is Tamil for Grandfather.
I used to meet him regularly at his home town where I used to visit on business. His father and other elders of his family were/are good friends and business associates. In fact, one of his cousins had adopted me as his godfather and continues to me treat me as such even now.
The purpose of the phone call was to take my blessings on his birthday which is today. I had not known this as, otherwise, I would have greeted him on my own earlier than his call.
This is the first time ever that he had called me for this special purpose and apart from being mightily pleased, I was also puzzled as to why he did so on this birthday.
I then remembered that his father and my friend GP, had died just over a year ago as had his elder uncle shortly after, both due to complications arising out of Covid.
It is the custom in our families for people to seek the blessings of parents/elders on their birthdays and other important days, and since APG did not have his father anymore, he had decided to call me.
What a wonderful thought and tradition.
Mike’s post of the same title inspired this post from me. Please read the comments from me and Mike’s response to it too.
Just a day after that I received this in a WhatsApp message from my sister.
Yesterday afternoon, I received news that my friend, philosopher and guide of many years HI died following a failed chemotherapy session for cancer.
Last week was news of the death of a classmate and dear friend.
On the 10th inst, Nick wrote about biographies and autobiographies. I commented there : “I am not and never was into bio/autobiographies. Somehow, I just could not get interested in that genre. My own kind of biography is perhaps my blog just like yours is yours.” Nick responded with “Yes, blogs are very much a form of biography. Not at all chronological, but revealing all sorts of personal details.”
Little did I know that I was about to read an autobiography, and what a one!
Later yesterday, I received a forward of a video of a Cardiologist talking about life and death and how to manage our lives where he referred to a book called When Breath Becomes Air. I got a Kindle version and started reading it and just could not put it down.
Most of my readers here are senior citizens and quite a few are avid readers. For these, I strongly recommend this book. The most poignant and elegant book that I have ever read about a person’s last days written by himself.
The above image is just the tip of the iceberg in India. According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. With that background, let me tell you my problem/s.
My late mother’s tongue was a mixture of Malayalam and Tamil spoken by a community called Palghat Iyers. My late father’s was pure Tamil. In deference to the latter’s comfort, the former changed to speaking the Tamil spoken by the latter and so I grew up speaking that Tamil.
What is my Mother Tongue?
My late wife’s mother was a Telugu, and her father was a Bengali. They spoke Urdu or English at home and my wife did not know either Telugu or Bengali.
At our home, we spoke mostly English and Hindi now, and our son grew up using both.
What is my son’s Mother Tongue?
My daughter in love’s mother is a Bengali and her late father was a Maharashtrian. She grew up speaking Marathi at her home. She has moved into our home where she too speaks Hindi and English mostly but, Marathi for effect when needed.
Just supposing I get a grandchild what will be her/his Mother Tongue?
How do I solve this conundrum when the census taker comes visiting?
During the lockdown that has now entered its 18th month for us, I have had the honour of mentoring four different young men, all with marital difficulties.
In all the cases, the main culprit is, the breakdown of communications during the lockdown which meant loss of income, or working from home. In both cases, the claustrophobic existence within homes and the very unusual constant physical proximity to each other would appear to have been responsible for the discomforts.
A further reluctance to go for counselling or consultation with professionals led these young men to approach me for advice and finding that essentially, the problem was break down of communications I had recommended the reading of one book which has turned out to be a kind of panacea of sorts.
I had come across the book in the early seventies in my own journey of discovery of communication skills through attending seminars which was part of my training and development in the organisation where I was working. There is no doubt in my mind that the book taught me very valuable lessons which enabled me to be a fairly successful manager of people and other resources.
I am sure that many of readers would have read it at some point of time in the past and hope that they will agree with me that it is a remarkable tool to improve our communication skills. And the book is:
If you are interested in finding out more about the contents of the book you can do so here.