Saturday, September 20, 2008
I was born an only child to my parents in the year 1973 on an overcast day in July. It was not exactly the lap of luxury..but I was fortunate to have had a very comfortable upbringing. Maybe its a wee bit early to write about the 'early days'..but then there are certain facts that need to go on record for posterity..and one can never predict when memories start bordering on fantasy. So here goes..
As a child and a young adult my life was highly influenced by my Dad..so much so that, for me nothing existed beyond him. He was the axis around which my world rotated. My thoughts, impressions and the way I look at things even today is definitely rooted to this point of axis. Today as I acknowledge the importance of dad in shaping my thought process. I realise that my mother, by being just herself has inculcated in me whatever discipline I possess.
Having never had any siblings of my own..I was and still am very attached to my cousins..and as birds of the same feather flock together..I was naturally drawn towards one of them in particular, who is also incidentally my single male cousin from dad's side of the family.Needless to say, my teenage years were filled with shared visons of an idealistic world, dreams and flights of innocence. Holding onto him I treaded everywhere from thin ice to the deepest of woods, he gave me the courage of flight and the loudest pure laughter. I acknowledge here the very important influence of Mikidada in my life then and now.
At a very young age I lost my dad..it was an event that maybe I have not yet come to terms with in many ways, apparently things seem ok but if I travel within I know that there are layers that I refuse to look in the eye. At this juncture of insecurity and misplaced trusts..I was immensely fortunate to have Bablididi and Bikramda(famous as BDG to the IT industry)figure prominent in my life. The words that have in a way shaped me..are from Bikramda, "keep yourself so busy and occupied that you have no time to think , an idle mind is truly a devil's workshop" even then it didnt sound like a quote to me..coz I knew that my mind left idle can really be dangerously foolish. Those were very stimulating times especially for a small town girl thrust into the midst of the making and breaking of comapnies, and the founder of those very events as a personal guide and mentor.To have on one side this dynamic personality moulding me and on the other side the practical and inborn wisdom of bablididi..constantly nurturing and keeping my fears at bay..maybe this space is too small to acknowledge their love and continuous support to me..but it was important for me to put atleast something on paper.
At this very point My Uncle(my Dad's elder brother) and my Aunt also played a pivotal role..they have taught me that its ok to fall as long as you know how to get up and get going..also they have given me the faith that no matter what we do..we can never be beyond repair and beyond the love of our family..two very important lessons imbibed thru everyday gestures of love and care..I am so fortunate Kuttijethu amd Mejoma..for being there for me always..
The early days of paradise when threaten to crash down and fall like a heavy stone on the young and shaky shoulders of a girl..its only the family that can rescue the flight...thankyou and God Bless..I love you all
To look back and cherish - a place called home..a place that saw you grow from a precocious child to an adult and enjoyed all the phases in between.. a place full of friends, of laughter and tears, loss as well as victories.. of impulsive moves and secrets shared.. adventures and joyrides, rebuking and encouraging pats - a place we all leave behind..
We travel far and wide in search of our destinies and at times ridicule the peers who stay behind.. we are enamored by wealth, glamour, and the jet set world, and believe me, none of it is wrong.. and yet the best memories are always from back home.. Our minds and egos get satisfied (if ever they know the meaning of the word) as we reap the harvest of our hard work, but the soul's nourishment is from the fields we leave behind.
Does that mean we stand still? Not take a path of our desire and find a place under the sun that is rightfully ours? Definitely not..but the wings of our flight need to have the strength of our roots. Alex Haley, probably introduced us to this meaning of the word "Roots" and by now it has become quite a cliche.. we keep hearing of the European in search of his roots.. but this search is within all of us maybe in differing scales of priority.
As expatriates we all know that the best journey is always the journey home. The heart gets parched like the dessert sand over the year long wait and is only drenched in joy once the flight lands to the place of our origin..for a month we replenish stocks, get busy in buying things, refuelling our wardrobes and larders.. as we go about fulfilling our physical needs.. our inner eye is clicking away familiar landscapes now hurriedly passed by, but to be relived at leisure on the return flight.. Bitter sweet memories of Home is what we essentially carry back to see us through another year of deprivity.
Life goes on and we grow with it and follow paths that have been determined for us in an unknown script.. the strength always drawn from the reservoirs of purity and innocence of our roots. As we all know roots do not grow in a day or a year or even a few years..to live in a place and get to know it and develop a bond that is healthy and fertile takes time..most of us were lucky enough that our parents gave us that time..gave us a place to look back upon and smile..Are we doing that for our kids? are we giving them roots? In our strife towards material gains and prosperity at the shortest possible time are we sparing a thought towards the next generation.. "to look back and cherish..." a blank for them.. or a series of everlasting, nomadic journeys.. lots of mere acquaintances formed.. but no childhood friend..houses of brick and cement..but never a home to build memories on...is this our gift to our children? ..for just a few pennies more...
Its that time of the year again when most of India gears up for celebrating the 10 days of Navratri..Joyous dancing and fasting in Gujarat, where the nights come alive with the rythms of garba and dandiya.At the same time West Bengal welcomes Ma Durga and her children amidst her for six days and the entire state dances to the dhaki’s beat..What does it all mean to our generation? Is it really the rituals that we wait for with anticipation or is it just the fun and frolick..I guess its neither..
Festivals to me and my peers are more about social bonding..about coming together of generations, about revisiting old memories, about dressing up in fineries and pandal hopping..laughter, food gossip and the entire jing bang of festivity infused enthusiasm.I can confidently say for myself that the rituals do not interest me as much as the emotion of those days…I do not believe that God has to be appeased..but definitely the faith needs to be celebrated.
The faith that there is a power beyond understanding and reason..the faith that truth and goodness will ultimately prevail and also, however dark the night..it will eventually pass..is what makes us go through our daily grind. This faith cannot be a void, it needs a form that will endear it to us..what better image than that of a mother..for a country which is primarily nurtured by its farming soil.?
So the Goddess descends upon us for a few glorious days and is welcomed by all..the entire nation culminates into a melting point of culture and creativity. what better offering to the goddess than the best of our efforts. Children and adults alike in a riot of colours fill up the streets with gaiety, the aroma of food mixes with the scent of incense, flowers and sandal filling up our senses. For those few days we forget our sorrows and personal tribulations and join every other being in celebrating the Goddess amidst us.
There is nothing religious or ritualistic about this joy…It is the joyous acknowledgement of a deep rooted faith that tomorrow will be as good or even better than what today is or yesterday has been.