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Posts tagged ‘Mother’

A Sonnet…

I realize that I have been away from blogging for nearly a month and this has truly been my longest hiatus from the blogosphere since I started this blog more than 2 years ago. But life took a really crazy and unexpected turn since Aug 17th 2014 when I posted my last blog and I am still trying to come to terms with it. My mum was visiting me when she suddenly fell ill on 15th August, slipped into coma on 18th and passed away on 1st September. The suddenness of the whole thing is still sinking in; it somehow seems unacceptable that my mum who did have a congenial heart problem but was not ill in the sense of being really ill, should suddenly one day complain of low-grade fever and then lose consciousness and before a blink of an eye is, no more. I was not ready for any of this, but I realize since last year September, things have happened to me for which I am not ready and maybe that’s a good thing, because if I start to think on how my life has fallen apart over the 12 months, I will have to see a therapist. Nevertheless, it’s still difficult to really believe that she is truly no more and while our relationship was far more smooth and was in fact quite difficult, the fact that she is no more there to fight with, argue with, talk with and be with is heartbreaking!!

Thus in the memory of my Mum, I publish this poem written by Christina Rossetti, a poet whom both she and I loved….

Sonnets are full of love

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome

Has many sonnets: so here now shall be

One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me

To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,

To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;

Whose service is my special dignity,

And she my loadstar while I go and come

And so because you love me, and because I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath

Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honored name:

In you not fourscore years can dim the flame Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws

Of time and change and mortal life and death.

 

Take care Ma….be in peace wherever you are!!Love You!

A philosphical debate on man’s fate & the diadatics on action leading to equal and opposite reaction…aka Phew….saved by the bell!

There are some things that are simply fortuitous and in the very hackneyed way, one can say that whatever happens happens for the best. (Hang on! I will get to the particulars after I spend some time on general rhetoric’s) I am strong adherent of this school of thought, though as God be my witness, I am sorely tempted in abandoning this principle of goodwill and sanguine hope many a times. In fact, there are a couple of incidents in my life about which, I am still waiting to find out what this best is/was???? But then, such things do happen that kind of restore your faith and make you realize (albeit kicking and screaming) that there are greater forces at work between heaven and earth and there is a reason behind almost every action.

Now for the particulars –

I realize that I have been off the blog for some time and it is kind of hilarious, when on my Aug 1 post, I claimed that I was writing more this year. However, irony aside, I do believe now that there are some matters that one should never talk about because that invariably leads to tempting the faith! For instance, last year, my mother was getting her house renovated and while clearing the house for the carpenters and decorators to work on, she came to realize that she had over the years collected a huge amount of crockery and cutlery. I do mean huge and not just you more than general, but something to the effect of 77 serving trays!!!! She called me and said that she had no idea when or how she bought so much of stuff and there was a sneaking pride in her voice, when she said that my aunt (a very weird woman who is actually obsessed with material gains) also could not rival her sets. I know I am resorting to clichés, but sometimes they do have a lot of truth in them – in my mother’s case pride did come before a fall!! After the renovation was done, she went for a small vacation with her sisters and yes….the inevitable did happen! Her house was broken into and among the various items that were stolen were her prized crockeries including 52 of her 77 serving trays! My mother is now adjusting to the life of simple living and high thinking while spending hours practicing how to keep her mouth shut!

You know how they say, that as time passes by, daughter’s become more like their mothers! Well there is a lot of truth in that as well! Having philosophized and lectured my mother about her lack of circumspect  and failure at being humble, I declare to the world, that yes…I am indeed writing more! So the fates decide, that this mother daughter pair are really thick-headed and they SO NEED A LESSON! Therefore one fine evening, I come back from work, make myself a cup of coffee and sit down to write. My guilt conscience was at its paroxysm, because, I had not touched my novel in more than 2 months and I was determined to make up for my slackness. I switched on the laptop and then DISASTER stuck!

My system had crashed. I do not know when and I do not know how, but it had crashed. All my files, notes, music…everything was wiped off from the damm system. After getting hysterical and hyperventilating for nearly 3 hours, during which my flat mate tried all recovery recipes from smelling salts to chocolate ice cream, I called the system repair guy. He gave the laptop back to me last night with a I-have-no-idea-what-you-did-but-there-is-nothing-I-can-do look. Oh! Wail! Oh! Horror! Why has the Lord forsaken me???

So what’s bright side, you ask??? Well, music and photographs I can recover…..thanks to iPods and Picassa. But more importantly the writing….well remember, how I said that I had not written in well over two months, well …..the last cut that I wrote, I had mailed it to a perspective publisher….so ITS ALL SAFE….in my Gmail. All my short stories are uploaded on Goodreads and thank the blog…well you know is a web-based portal……so really….no loss!!!! While I was bemoaning the fact that for 8 weeks, I was neglecting my craft, there seems to be a greater plan at work. Had I written in those weeks, after sending the work so far to the publisher, all would have been lost! For whatever reasons, not writing during that time was definitely fortunate incident!

Hence, enlightenment came to me and I decide –

  1. Keep my trap shut…especially if I am doing good stuff.
  2.  Hang in there…there is a reason behind all that happens, even if it’s not apparent immediately.
  3. Get a backup for your system….do not save everything on your desktop!

The Curious Incident of my Mom at daytime….

My love affair with books is a gift from my parents. I cannot remember a time when my dad did not read out to me and when his fingers moving over the alphabets in those large pop out fairy tale books became absorbed in my mind, for me to read on my own. As far as I can remember, all my birthdays, well done in school presents, dad/mom out on office tour returning presents have always been books. One could easily say that my heritage was books and authors handed down from one generation to another.

My father has always been bit of a scholar and a reader. At the university he was involved in a student politics and from old records and tales, I know he was a popular leader, who read voraciously – fiction, history and politics (especially Marx and friends! To this date, Dad and I debate out the Socialism vs. Democratic debate over family dinners. I know communism is dead….China does not count as a socialist state; but what can I say…like daughter like father …eccentricity run in the family!) Even when he joined the foreign services, he kept up his reading habits and read everything from the newspaper to  The New Yorker to Gorky. Considering all this, his marriage to my mum is kind of surprising.  My dad’s family belongs to an old world family, in fact one of the oldest families of the city, that studied hard and believed in doing work for the greater good of mankind. My Mum was the quintessential uptown girl; my great grandfather, i.e. her grandfather was the man who made it big and the family wealth grew from that. There was not much in terms of culture and though everyone aspired for a summa cum laude degree, it was from enabling a status in the society than pursuit of real intellect motive.  My mom was more or less true to her family leanings and though she was and is an extremely strong woman, who has fought off many adversities in her life, when she gets into her comfort zone, she would revert to her family traits of indulgence and acquisitive extravagance.

Given such a background, it was kind of surprising, that my mom encouraged my love of reading, writing and studies so much. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we did not have mammoth fights where she resolved never to see me again and I told her that I will ensure that this wish of hers is made possible! You know the whole nine yards. She is a strong opinionated woman who unfortunately has raised a strong opinionated daughter! Woe is hers!) She never read out to me nor did she ever recommend a book I should read or buy. But she always gave me money to buy them and when away on office tours or other outings, she would always take a list of books that I would want her to buy. She encouraged me to apply to some of the best universities and when I actually got through one of them, she was over the moon.  Despite all this, reading was not for her and she would rather spend hours on an end in the malls than browsing through books.

My mom retired from work about 6 years ago. I had already moved out of my parent’s place for some 5 years prior to this time.  My mom suddenly found a lot of time on her hands; sure she could cook and she did try cooking a lot of experimental stuff for which she never had time before. She also went out a lot and I do mean a lot with her sisters – mall hoping and shopping and movie watching. But still she found time on her hands. Then one day cleaning my old books, she started reading the back cover of a novel – think it was Jeffrey Archer’s Where the Crow Flies. Not much in terms of literature but a great book to read on a flight. She read the back cover and then she ventured slowly and might I say a bit nervously into the first few chapters. It took her I think 20+ days to finish the novel. She found it interesting, though tedious to plod through the whole 400 pages, but she was eager to find out what happened in the end. She then picked up a Sidney Sheldon and a master storyteller that he was, he kept her glued on until she found out how does Tracy Whitney finally escapes (If Tomorrow Comes). She ventured into a few more such reading trysts. I was not aware of her forays into reading until she came to visit me next year for a couple of weeks. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I do not have crockeries and I do not have furniture; hell! I do not even have a television. What I do have is books, books and more books. I found her tentatively and hesitantly reaching out to some of them and being unsure if she could read them. On delving into the matter I found out that she had started reading but was kind of concerned that she might not comprehend some of my more supra intellectual books (I do not think I read supra intellectual stuff. I think most supra intellectual stuff ends in tragedies and I do not like tragedies!) Anyhow, I was so floored with my mum’s efforts that I sought out some easy reads like Wilkie Collins and Somerset Maugham (Yes! I know different genres, but she was getting started and I wanted to introduce her to a wide range).

That was 5 years ago! Today my mum reads as much as I do and practically all the authors that I read, from Tolstoy to Iggulden to Bulgakov to Pratchett; the list can go on….she is not overly fond of Pratchetts or Rowlings but she loves Iggulden and Kaye and Peter Carey. She is romance freak, quite unlike me and makes me buy her Gorgette Hyer and others such by the dozen.  Her own collection is rivalling my own and she has recently learnt the art of online shopping, so ordering books is now on her fingertips! She battles with me about the relative merits of one author versus another and has even started suggesting stuff that I should definitely read!

What impresses me the most about all of this is the fact that this woman, who so set in her ways and steeped into her family tendencies had the immense courage and strength to take up something she had never done in her life at the age of 60. Hats off Mum! May your reading be as adventurous and wonderful as your daughter’s!

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