Wednesday, May 30, 2018

my tryst with the Seshans

I often wonder about the chains and links you gather through the course of your life..how you meet and  make friends and then meet their friends and their friends, and sometimes it turns miraculous.  Some write and share…and enriches many a loner’s life. Just try recalling the new faces you met last year…a blank screen in front of you...but if they had touched your heart..they will be here to stay..and rise like ripples on a stream..time and again.
This is such a rendezvous, one which lasted two days, and I

have never met them after..never tried to contact them, never gave them a visit. But they are my most treasured moments. Meeting  Dr T.N Seshan and his beloved wife who passed away a few days back.  Actress Sridevi’s death,  too was a jolt..Boney Kappor and Dr T.N Seshan..both lost their loves.  I am not measuring the depth of their sorrows..but they have to cope with the loss, learn to grope in the emotional darkness, sob into their pillows.
It was around 5 p.m, when Swami Sunil Das called and asked my wherabouts, I said  was just reaching Mysore..”Oh, You are lucky.. then I want you to bring Idlis, sambhar and Chutney by sharp 8 o” clock tomorrow morning for three ..Dr T.N seshan, his wife and myself.”.a bolt from the blue..a closed kitchen, in a house where I am an occasional visitor. They were coming for the house warming ceremony of the Mysore Ashram of Swami Sunil Das. Dr Seshan and his wife were ardent Sai Baba Devotees, and Sai Baba, knowing how lost The Seshans would feel after Baba’s Samadhi, had asked them to see swami Sunil Das, as Baba himself. No time to lose..lo..idli batters had flown off the shelves of the two super markets..thought I would have to resort to buying idlis. But as luck would have it, the small shop next door was not yet closed, and just two, yes..just two packets of idli batter was waiting just for me. These are times when I feel an ethereal force watching over me, and this time put those two packets of batter there in that tiny shop. So next morning was full of trepidation…me..who can never even dream of meeting such an iconic figure, was making idlis for him…made coconut chutney, nicely laced with coriander leaves and bird’s eye chillies, a hint of mint and lime and a nice garnish completed the exercise. Then came the tomato chutney..made sure that the  tomatoes were not over done that the red might turn to maroon.. and then made sesame chutney too..coconut,  ginger and curry leaves and fried red chillies ground together with spoonful of sesame seeds roasted till they splutter and then turn a wee bit brown. Checked the idlis..wow..soft enough..a big sigh of relief..packed them up, and we were off..
We reached there four minutes after eight in the morning. They were staying in the palace guest house, a mansion given to one of the princesses. We drove through the lengthy drive way, a majestic edifice in the heart of Mysore. We were taken aback when we found Dr T.N Seshan waiting for us, on the dining table..ready and waiting. Swami Sunil Das came in and after the preliminary greetings, I served them food.  His wife, an epitome of gentleness, simplicity and beauty ,draped in the typical tamilian maroon  Kanchipuram with a saffron border, the swirls of her saree snug on her delicate shoulders.  nose studs that matched the sparkle in her eyes, and a traditional maroon kumkum which merged effortlessly with her personality.  Both of them were bothered by physical ailments associated with age. I was surprised at the pure and raw Bhakthi, devotion to God, and their total samarpana, or submission to the Almighty. He had a full fledged temper, asking for his medicines, for this, for that, and for nothing, for which he was impatient..ha ha..his impatience , in no way perturbed her,  to  which she complied with utter perseverance and love.  At that moment, I wished  God would not take her away before him..but alas it was not to be. She told me her trysts with God, how miracles keep happening, how she teaches Narayaneeyam for poor children at her home free of cost.. how her Krishna idol weeps, the tears dribbling down from the eyes of the Lord. Yes..it is not surprising, as the kind of love and samarpana is rare..almost nil. I asked her why don’t you compile your experiences into a book? She told me ..”you come and stay with me AND I SHALL TELL YOU ALL..YOU WRITE”.. I wish I did . Swami Sunil Das joked that Dr Seshan can predict your future, he can read your stars, and give you his report..Oh..my ..am I hearing right? Seeing right?..he asked me my star, and time ..and asked me to come afterwards.  And predict he did… obstacles are many.. you have to be patient..wait and you will be rewarded and I shall come and stay with you.” Yes.. time ..who can predict when the time is right?
I know how great a loss, and how deep and vast a void , her passing away must have created..Grace of God is the only healer.and I pray that Sai Baba bestows peace and calm and the courage to cope..the days and nights have to tick away..minute by minute. Let those minutes without her be bearable with the Almighty’s ultimate grace.
  



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Karthiedathy.. and my grand parents

Karthiedathy (in Black) with my mom.


Different phases of your life feature different characters. Some would have developed a sticky bond which though clings to you with brutal severity, loses its clinginess…time wipes away the glue with surprising ease and they don the garb of mere acquaintances or even strangers. Sometimes you would have been so dependent on them and they  would have eased a lot of creases on the tapestry that is life....BUT  you can’t obstruct the sweet gift of forgetfulness that time and circumstances  bestows on you. This is Karthiedathy..edathy is a term used in Kannur, for an elder sister. I met her when my father died. She had come to offer condolences. Had never met her before, she introduced herself to us, and said that fifty eight  years back, she was a daily visitor here..

Friday, October 20, 2017

a stroll in a cute neighbourhood in Paris

 quiet...absolute silence...a dog barks, mews of fluffy kittens, are all the sounds you hear...far from our cacophonic roads..wondered where all the people were..it seemed very lonely.no petty shops, no autos, for that matter I did not see a soul. Prabodh, my cousin had given us a
map, so that we don't lose our way.

flowers in all hues..trimmed hedges ..

to capture it quickly, lest the door open
 and me be charged for intrusion on their privacy

stone steps and stone benches to sit amidst the floral bounty

not a soul in sight...

A small school functions inside...

thiought it was an old couple staring at us..it was apicture..maybe of the couple staying there..wanted to knock..and have a chat with them..again..there I go..nosey me..

 school compound

inside the school...no sound at all..

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road side delights

An elderly couple fixing some thing..again..a hurried click..the wife was below, handing him whatever he needed..maybe he is an Uncle Podger of sorts..on these roads, you can dream..

garden with gnomes and toadstools, jugs and wooden benches

the railway station...you could meditate in perfect solitude .. and miss the train

the bus shelter...we had to walk to the shelter..and the drone of the bus could be heard from far..we were the only passengers..

Monday, October 9, 2017

Paris rendezvous

A year has gone by...and memories have dimmed..but had taken time off to write it down, then and there..

 Paris ......after an hour's delay we were on the flight....two good meals later in a span of eight hours we were in Paris. The customs did not treat us like terror suspects...we had felt humiliated in the States....had to strip our socks too.. ThE weather was cool and a bit cloudy... My younger cousin Prabodh had come to pick us. The car sped through and suddenly we passed through a Concorde...the plane which I had always wanted to see..Prabodh told me that it was the out of service Supersonic Concorde which once flew between Paris and New York in a little over three hours, at 1350 miles per hour..It looked as though it was about to soar..wow....what a sight..well maybe because I was always in awe of the Concorde

child hood memories when the Circus came to Qatar








This should look  like a class composition, where a visit to the Circus must have been written by every student in their English classes. Yesterday, had gone to the inaugural show of Jumbo Circus, which made me take a long look back.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Seventy years down memory lane..reminiscences of my mom

These are my mom’s reminiscences of her glittering childhood..a small slice of her life which she enjoyed..a time when she had no clue of the travails that lay ahead. Now  at seventy five..we hope,the turbulent years are behind her, and she has a little bit of time to herself to call her own..old age, and physical and emotional mishaps  have been her constant accompaniments, and though she walks with a walker, it  has not made her bitter..she sees the silver lining on every cloud, and keeps her mind agile. She is deeply spiritual, and swears by her readings of the scriptures. I remember her as a good seamstress..right from darning to delicate embroidery to tough upholstery. She lost her father who was a Chief Engineer In Madras, and then had come to live in a bustling but loving joint family in Mahe. The following is a lovely memory she treasures, in her own words. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

a tete a tete with the Prabhakarans






An overcast sky…no power at home, hubby and kids not in station..palms hot with whatsapp and checking FB, phone went off. A memory wiggled into my head,…and I Thought ..why don’t I check the family out..so immediately rang up Aashik, who on a casual meeting had told me about this couple, and asked him whether I could pay them a visit. Yes came the answer, so and as luck would have it, had Abhi, this couple’s neighbor at hand to chauffeur me.