Saturday, November 28, 2009

A difficult time

My mother broke her left hip on Wednesday morning. Since she's been on Ecosprin, a blood thinner prescribed by her cardiologist, the doctors have to wait for her blood to reach normal clotting levels before they can operate. She is presently on traction, and is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday.

Monday, November 16, 2009


My sister-in-law has started painting in her sixties. My sister had visited her recently and brought me one of her paintings. I couldn't scan it all in one go, but thought I'd share it with you in two parts. Bhabhi, you make us all proud!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pondering Yama

Yama Bhaisahib bhi mazedaar hain.
Batakar nahin aate hain.
Kabhi toh darvaaze par khatkaaye bina hi ghus jaate hain,
Aur apna kam karke, moochen ponchte huey
Tahal jaate hain.
Aur kabhi toh itla de kar bhi
Itna waqt laga dete hain
Ki intezaar karte karte lagta hai
Ki yon hi dum nikal jaayega.
Kabhi toh aate hain, phir keh dete hain
“Abhi toh mein bahut vyast hoon,
phir aaoonga.”
Aur baithe rah jaate hain unke chahne waale,
joh kahte hain ki kitna aur bhugtaoge, mere dost?
Miyan , tum dost ho ki nahin ho?
Tum hamein samajh min nahin aaye.
Tumhaari samay saarani bhi toh ajeeb hai.
Kabhi ek nanhi si jaan ko le jaate ho
Kabhi bade buzurgon ko tadpate ho
Kabhi ikatthe hi poore ke poore gaon aur shahar
Havai jahaaz ya rail,kuch bhi utha le jaate ho.
Kabhi aspataal mein aankh micholi khelte ho
Kabhi kabhi doctor logon ko thodi der ke liye jeet jaane dete ho
Ajeeb ho tum, Miyan .
Phir bhi tum mere pyaare dost ho-
Ek na ek din tum aaoge zaroor.

Cochin, 11th December 2000

This post by Eve's Lungs reminded me of this old poem, written a few days before my mother-in-law passed away.

Edited to add the Devnaagri version. Thanks, Starry, for reminding me of the Hindi font!

यम भाइसाहिब भी मजेदार हैं,
बता कर नहीं आते हैं।
कभी तो दरवाज़े पर खटकाये बिना ही घुस जाते हैं,
और अपना काम करके, मूछ्चें पोंछते हुए
टहल जाते हैं।
और कभी तो इतला दे कर भी
इतना वक्त लगा देते हैं
कि इंतज़ार करते करते लगता है
कि यों ही दम निकल जाएगा।
कभी तो आते हैं, फिर कह देते हैं
" अभी तो में बहुत व्यस्त हूँ
फिर आऊंगा।"
और बैठे रह जाते हैं उनके चाहने वाले,
जो कहते हैं कि कितना और भुग्ताओगे, मेरे दोस्त?
मियां, तुम दोस्त हो कि नहीं हो?
तुम हमें समझ में नहीं आए।
तुम्हारी समय सारणी भी तो अजीब है।
कभी एक नन्ही सी जान को ले जाते हो
कभी बड़े बुजुर्गों को तड़पाते हो
कभी इकट्ठे ही पूरे के पूरे गाँव और शहर
हवाई जहाज़ या रेल, कुच्छ भी उठा ले जाते हो।
कभी अस्पताल में आँख मिचोली खेलते हो
कभी कभी डॉक्टर लोगों को थोड़ी देर के लिए जीत जाने देते हो
अजीब हो तुम, मियां।
फिर भी तुम मेरे प्यारे दोस्त हो -
एक एक दिन आओगे ज़रूर।

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Precious memories

These old photographs date from the late fifties/early sixties, when we were living in England. I'm the youngest child, and here I'm squeezed next to my Dad.
My brother took this photograph, wherein I seem to be displaying much attitude!
I seem to have just arrived from Russia!

My brother's peeping out of the bay window upstairs. There's an identical photo of my sister on the gatepost too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Twenty five years ago, 31st October 1984

I suppose there had to be something prophetic in George Orwell calling his chilling futuristic novel '1984'. It was the year we had moved back to India and had settled into a new phase of our life, in Lucknow. We had our own little rituals. Going to the bank on pay day was one of them! It was a Wednesday, and I wonder what time the kids finished school that day, because we all went to the bank together, which was a good long 'tempo' ride away.( There were no ATMs in those days, and it seemed more prudent to keep less cash at home so that we'd spend less.) We then went to our favourite fast food joint for a dosa lunch. Those were the years when we had one 'family' dinner out each month, and one lunch out with me!
On our way home in another tempo, we heard rumblings that Indira Gandhi had been shot. We didn't know what to expect or what to believe. The news was confirmed much later in the day. The SRE worked at a location about 26km from home. We didn't even have a phone at home, and had no way of contacting him. Only when he got home, somewhat earlier than usual, did we learn of the harrowing fallout of Mrs. Gandhi's assassination. A senior colleague of his was a Sikh, and they all travelled together, in those days, in a breadbox like blue van.
On the way home they had to stop near a local polytechnic, where a mass of students were making sure that no Sikh was passing by in any vehicle. Since the van was high off the road, they could not immediately make out that there was a Sikh sitting in the back. The driver just raced away as fast as he could. The Sikh gentleman's house had security guards already, as there had been some labour issues at the factory. The blue van was parked in our garage, in virtual hiding! (We had a garage but no car). That evening, though, we did not really know how bad the situation was going to get over the next few days.
Early next morning I prudently bought whatever vegetables and bread I could. Schools and offices were closed, and later on in the day a curfew was imposed. My parents were in Delhi, and their downstairs neighbours were Sikhs. We couldn't contact them, and learned only later that neighourhood vigils had been set up to prevent mob attacks. My bread-wallah wanted to attend Mrs Gandhi's funeral in Delhi, and came back with horrible tales of the violence he had seen.
The horrors of that time cannot be forgotten. The potential for violence against our fellow human beings seems to be growing. How many times will our country have to face these horrors?