Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Grandparents

For most part it was a one-sided affair. Contrary to the general rule which has governed my life, out here I was fortunate - supremely fortunate. When you are loved without preconditions, and only loved and hardly chided or disciplined and even saved from the occasional justified wrath of your mother, then you know that you are lucky.

Till about a very long time, I really did not think much about my grandparents. Except for the fact that Dadu would offer all kinds of incentive to have me at his place and Didimoni would mesmerize with her mind-blowing culinary skills. And I, oblivious of what I meant to them, in ignorant cruelty, did not have time. Too engrossed in my own life, too proud of my youth and energy.

They were a strange couple. My Dadu was a typical chauvinistic patriarch. Sensitive but dominating, sensible but conservative and one who abided in almost all cases strictly by the prism of duty, responsibility as laid out by traditions. Didimoni was love. There is no other way to describe her. A beauty in her younger days, she had a smile all through the back breaking work she did all day. Not a complain. Not an indication of irritation. Fully and utterly committed to the one person who was her world. Dadu.

Dadu died when I was in college. Didimoni died today. She was dead the day Dadu ceased to exist. The transition from a bubbly, jovial woman to one who was alive merely physically having lost the will to live was shocking. To me it was painful. Having never seen her, being at the mercy of another, having always seen her as upright and capable, it hurt.

It made me realize that the terms of love and respect might not always rest with equality, that being together in peace needed nothing except faith and unflinching support, that a successful life is not measured in any other terms except the smiles you bring about with whom you are.

In my adolescence, Dadu tried with all his persuasive powers to teach me the strength of poetry. To no avail. Today, if I were to single out one single impact of him in my life, it would have to be the ability or propensity to appreciate creation, to read, read more and learn and assimilate. Maybe he did not have the power to implement it in his own life, maybe he wanted me to be a better man to be able to do what he could not - I would never know.

But together, they both were there, with me, when I had those stupid frequent fever, when I was spiritedly broken by jaundice and when I did well in my tenth, I think I have never seen anyone so happy for me - not even my parents.
Is it just coincidence that of all what I have done so far, that day would unarguably qualify as one of the happiest one in my life.

As Didimoni goes to the pyre today after years of struggling to die and be with Dadu yet stoically living, possibly to meet up with the woman I am going to marry or possibly just because she had to, I have lost something more than the only two persons in this world who called me 'Tipai'. The name is dead from today. And what remains is a man richer by all of those times and poorer to some degree by that elusive and precious thing called love.

Friday, January 01, 2010

An Interesting Year

What started as a year of melancholia finally turned out to be a very interesting one. One of my best friend got married. Consequently, it pulled the curtains on the one and half years we shared a flat. Since our disposition was eerily similar, both being of the laziest sort, we had an amazing time. Staying with friends is such fun.

Then came the months of serious introspection. One of despairing boredom, of steady
restlessnes, of getting sucked in to the finality of a job which allowed my brains to rust in its stupendous glory. In the midst of this, happened the trip to Lahaul, Spiti and Chandrataal. I am thankful that I made the decision to go on that trip within a span of 2 hours. It surely is the best place I have been to so far in my life.

August was a month which was unkind. I realized I spent three decades on this earth without
anything to show for it. And suffered the first bout of a mid-life crisis even before I reached it ! At the onset of September, things started getting brighter. Joined a job, where I met new people, new perspectives and the brain was put to use after a very long time. Felt, I belonged.

And then, surreptitiously, almost imperceptibly came an email, which as I realize now, was the

first corner my life was about to turn. Initially, as is the case with me, skepticism ruled the roost. Some phone calls later, I sometimes felt like asking myself the question which I have been asking for quite some time then - "was this it?" But then, experience in its wisdom, had taught me to brush aside such thoughts. You don't score till you have scored.

November and December were at the very least, interesting, which actually colours the entire
landscape of 2009 and tilts it to such an extent that the earlier memories fade into inconsequence.

It was in November that I met her.

We spent a day discussing dreams and life and feeling comfortable in our own space.
There was a flow, a certain sense of fluidity and then the question kept coming back. By the end of the week, I knew I was getting into serious trouble again.

I had vouched that I would never be in a position where I have committed myself to play the
stroke only to get caught at the last moment. But then, life has other plans. In spite of all my inclinations to hold back, I just could not. Just went with what I wanted to do. Being in different cities just added to the spice. Never before in a single month have I gone through such a plethora of emotions. One of upheaval, at times bitterness, moments of pure joy, moments of total disregard for the repercussions my actions were to cause and yes, of course, of hope. I said things, which I myself could not believe I could. I almost invariably found the right words to express exactly what I felt.

It was in December when winter felt like spring. Warm, sunny, bright and glorious.

I have no idea what lies in store in life. Whether ours will be like Richard and Francesca or Robert and Francesca. But for the first time, I truly feel alive. Wanting
the next day to come with all its anticipation, its unexpectedness, its possibilities. Wanting it to be not just another day where I mark off my attendance but a day where I smiled without a reason, where I heard another - without a reason and understanding fully what John Nash meant when he said "It is in the mysterious equations of love that you find all the reasons of logic"

Goodbye 2009 ! Welcome 2010 !