The Notebook.

The NotebookQuite how I got interested in seeing The Notebook is a mystery to me but I did pick up the idea from something I read somewhere and sent for a DVD which strangely enough came on the 13th inst.  I could not see it on V Day however but was able to see it last evening.  Lest my readers start imagining all kinds of things, no, there was no valentine involved.

This is one film that I would have most certainly liked to have seen when it was released in 2004 if someone had pointed out the theme to me then.  Urmeela’s dementia was quite advanced by then and perhaps even she would have liked to have seen the film as there are elements in the film with which both of us would have related.

It is a poignant story well directed and acted by seasoned actors.  The characters are very normal human and not some utopian ideal models.  I particularly enjoyed seeing all the old models of automobiles.  All in all a worthwhile movie to see, if one is willing to spend time on a good old fashioned love story with an element of care-giving thrown in.

What “Lesson From Mom” Do You Still Live By Today?

When I ask myself that question, bar a few lessons learnt during my working days from mentors, my entire value system and attitudes have been shaped by the lessons learnt from my mother. I also inherited two priceless traits from her; her sense of humour and compassion for the underdog.

If I have to choose one lesson, I would choose her advise to me in the year 1998 to become a vegetarian as she felt that it would help in my major spiritual pursuits which were in their nascent stage at that time. I distinctly remember her telling me that my lifestyle would automatically change with many habits dropping off on their own but my preference for non vegetarian food three times a day, would need conscious effort. It did turn out to be so, but from the very next day, I gave up all non vegetarian food and have not missed that part of my life ever.

She had also predicted that a time will come when I would be asked to take care of our father and that I should do so with compassion and an attitude of service. As I write this, her prediction has come true and I am trying my best to live up to that requirement. It has not been easy, but I have grinned and born it the last almost four years.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where thirteen of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Maria the Silver Fox. The twelve other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Anu, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!

Unpaid Carers.

I came across this term for the first time this morning. It intrigued me enough to plod through this rather disturbing article in the Independent.

I can identify completely with the findings among the care givers as I have, at one time or the other experienced, some or all symptoms experienced by them.

The major difference between their experiences and mine is that I know that there is no possibility of any kind of help from the state, whereas, in Britain, it would appear that, there is hope. That enables me to soldier on on a realistic basis, rather than hope for some kind of largesse from the state, the sooner the better. The second difference is that presumably, in all the cases in the UK, there is no other kin available to extend care to the receiver, whereas, in my case, there is an extended family, but one that my care receiver has alienated very effectively. In many other cases, the children take turns to look after their parent/s, whereas my siblings cannot.

May I request my American, Canadian. Australian and New Zealand readers to comment on how the situation is, in their respective countries?

The Rose Bud.

I have recently been going through quite a harrowing time with my care giving duties with a suffering, and therefore difficult 95 year old man, my father. One development after the other has been taking place and as I write this, the end of the tunnel is nowhere in sight.

It is in that frame of mind that I received this email from a well wisher. It has come at the right time and has acted as a balm and given me a fresh dose of energy and enthusiasm to continue with my care giving activities.

Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of
thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.
~ German Proverb

God’s Rosebud

A new minister was walking with an older,
more seasoned minister in the garden one

Feeling a bit insecure about what God had
for him to do, he was asking the older
preacher for some advice.

The older preacher walked up to a
rosebush and handed the young preacher
a rosebud and told him to open it without
tearing off any petals.

The young preacher looked in disbelief at
the older preacher and was trying to figure
out what a rosebud could possibly have to
do with his wanting to know the will of
God for his life and ministry.

But because of his great respect for the
older preacher, he proceeded to try to
unfold the rose, while keeping every petal

It wasn’t long before he realized how
impossible this was to do.

Noticing the younger preacher’s inability
to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the
older preacher began to recite the following

“It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.”

“The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.”

“If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?”

“So I’ll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way.”

“The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.”


Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Padmum and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get nine different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Grannymar.

When I was a Boy Scout, yes, don’t laugh, I was one more than half a century ago, “Be Prepared” was the motto and our Scout Master would suddenly grab hold of any one of us he saw to see if we had all the paraphernalia that the Scouts were expected to carry with them all the time. I am pleased to say that I always passed that test. My one major regret was that I was not able to ever help an old lady cross a road. Despite being prepared to do that, old, lady pedestrians just did not materialise in that woebegone city, where I spent my boyhood.

Then came more adult preoccupations and of course I had to be prepared all the time with things in my wallet, that a pick pocket, if he ever had picked my pocket for it, would have found highly intriguing, and perhaps would have come to take lessons from me. That it did not happen says volumes for my being prepared with proper pockets and other safety mechanisms to deny pick pockets that opportunity.

With more responsible activities, preparing went to other long suffering souls. As part of my managerial duties, I earned the sobriquet of Sanitary Inspector, as the first thing that I would do on branch visits was to visit all the toilets to see how well they were maintained. Prior to my visits, the administrative staff would ensure that every thing was spic and span and would be prepared. This was vital, because I learnt a valuable lesson during my cockroach days when I had to be the first to reach the office and would inevitably find the bottom rung ordinary workers already waiting for the office/warehouse to open. After a few days of observing this, I gathered enough courage to ask one of them why they came in so early to be told that they came to use the toilet facilities as most of them lived in slums with public toilets with massive queues in the mornings. My obsession was easily passed on to the local managements and, that despite the sobriquet, I was respected for that one act of man management was one of the great achievements of my long managerial career.

Life style preparedness included a packed suit case ready to be grabbed for sudden departures, constantly maintained minimum levels in the bar at home and in the car, and inventory levels so adjusted that I never had to go more than a few steps for an ash tray and a packet of cigarettes and lighter.

Then came other mundane responsibilities like care giving for which I had to be prepared 24/7 for emergencies, by maintaining proper stock levels of medicines, food items and other paraphernalia that care takers take for granted. That preparedness continues to this day.

Now, having lived a life that was full and continues to be interestingly so, I am prepared to make my final journey. All my affairs are in order and my son and heir will have no problems with his inheritance.

Sadly, I now live in a country that is located in a dangerous neighbourhood. I belong to that significant proportion of our population that believes in:

Care Giving.

Last Saturday, I had gone to visit two of my cousins who live in Navi Mumbai. In English, that is New Bombay. It is a series of townships on the mainland across the Arabian sea, to Mumbai. From my home, the farther point where one cousin lives is 160 Kms.

One of my cousins, 78 years old has been down with cerebellar ataxia. This matter came to my knowledge because I wrote about euthanasia in my blog in December 2009. You will get an idea about the matter if you read all the comments on that post, particularly from two nephews and my responses to them.

Since then, whenever I can find an excuse, I visit her at her son’s residence and this visit was one such.

I was completely overwhelmed with two conflicting emotions during my visit. The first one was that she was better, but still so dependent on others for the slightest of movements. For someone who played an important role in my childhood as my Hindi teacher and elder sister, to be in such a helpless condition was very disturbing. She was however quite cheerful and glad to see me and even scolded me for not staying for longer. I could not bear to see her in that condition.

The second emotion was one of such high respect and admiration for her 44 year old son and 42 year old daughter in law, who despite the demands of bringing up two young children and having to manage a career and home, give such excellent care to her. I was amazed at the gentle way that my cousin was lifted from her bed and made to sit on a wheel chair to be given her lunch by her daughter in law. The love, affection and patience was simply awesome.

I can do little to help them in anyway other than give moral support and any other support that they ask.

This post is my tribute to those two intrepid souls who sacrifice so much to look after my cousin. I bless them for what they are doing.

Vignesh and Kamini, the two of you are amazing young people. Know that and also that you are admired and appreciated by me and other members of the family who know what you are doing. Do not hesitate to shout for help of any kind that I can give. Know also that there is a lot of love coming your way.