26 December 2013

 I have experienced my first ever white Christmas and the snowy landscape is beautiful!  I have enjoyed the cold--because we are fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads, with electricity that keeps us warm, and the necessary clothes.  My thoughts and prayers go out to so many people who have to go through this kind of weather without the means of keeping warm enough.
I have enjoyed the experience of snow and the cold, cold weather, though the really deep sub-zero temperatures are a little difficult for us to take.  I have loved looking at the houses decorated for Christmas with the lights shining on the snow. I have watched amazed as sparrows, and pigeons fly around just like in India, in the freezing air.  When returning after a lovely Christmas Eve service (around9.30 pm) I saw a rabbit jumping through the snow and wondered how they all survived.
This has been a good time and our holiday is almost over.  I am so very glad that we did come because I got to spend precious time with my son, which can only happen if we visit him, as his leave is just too short.  It has been a good Christmas.  Now we have less than 3 weeks left for our return and I feel the time has just flown.
Merry Christmas and a happy New year my friends.

26 November 2013

So, we are in the US of A and have experienced our first ever sub-zero temps (Centigrade people) and snow fall. and a pre-Thanksgiving lunch.  We will be experiencing the full works of Thanksgiving too this week.
A Happy thanksgiving to all my US friends.

22 October 2013

Jigsaw Puzzle

My grandson came visiting for a short holiday and opened up a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, which he was doing with cousins. But, as it's been left here and with strict instructions that it not be moved, I moved it onto a fibre board and there it lies on my dining table and I've gotten just a bit addicted.  Every time I pass that way, I try to see if I can find a piece to put in.  I'm not too good at finding the little pieces that make up the background, so many of them looking almost the same shape, with only the subtlest difference in colour and shape, which brings me to the philosophical aspect.........Each background piece, however uninteresting looking, is an important part of the whole picture and, finally, when the whole puzzle is done, blends in so beautifully.  So to each of us, whether boldly or dully coloured, whether a foreground piece or background piece, is important in the whole and must blend in to make the whole picture beautiful.

07 September 2013

My younger son has invited us to spend Christmas with him and his family in the U.S as, he said, his kids have never got to spend Christmas with their grandparents.  So we are going and I'm excited!!
We get there mid November and I am hoping I get to see some Fall colours at least and presumably we get to see snow.
I wonder how commercialised I will find Christmas has become, but all the same, I am excited.--Still a while away though.

11 August 2013

Time moves on, sometimes so slowly, like the grains of sand in an hourglass and sometimes as fast as our rivers in spate after the monsoon.  However it may be, there is no standing still; this moment is already the past moment and tomorrow always comes.
And so six months have gone by since my son passed on.We carry on with life; we laugh again and heartily, we talk about him and recall the fun times, I sing and play the guitar, at our family gatherings, something I thought I would never be able to do again; I can even look at his photographs without tearing up.  Today I went for Mass and visited the family vault, where he was buried, for the first time voluntarily.  That too was a milestone, because I just could not bring myself to go there.
But then, time moves forward, life flows onward.  There is never any going back.  Both good times and bad become memories of yesterday and the edges blur, with the good memories taking on a shine.  And the river of life flows on, taking us willingly or not, to our final destination, whether near or far we don't know.  We just have to go along.

07 July 2013

When my son--he was my eldest--passed away, our family--my husband and I and our 3 children, with their families--were in Goa for a family holiday as my younger son had come for a visit from the US.  So we were all together.  My younger son had not visited India for 3 years.
My eldest fell ill on the last day of our holiday and passed away 4 days later.
The day he passed away, we had to move out of the hospital, where we had been camping and we were all given place to stay in a company guest house, through some kind friends.  The place was very near a quiet beach.  That night, we all of us walked down to the beach--a deserted beach, away from the tourist spots.  It was a dark, moonless night and all the stars were very bright.  There seemed to be just us on the beach.  And then away near the horizon, in a sky full of stars, I saw a shooting star, it's trajectory towards the horizon and I thought, that's him, that's my son.  He streaked across life, our lives and the life of so many others, like that.  The memory of that shooting star is very clear in my mind.
                        We are such stuff
                        As dreams are made of
                        And our little life
                        Is rounded with a sleep
                                                W. Shakespeare

I am happy to share that one of the things he was working on, on the Indian side, came to fruition recently --a treaty for the visually impaired

04 June 2013

The two month summer vacation is over.  It was a fairly busy two months.  My grandson, who is almost 8, came to stay as soon as his summer vacation started.  He was here for almost a month.  He was joined by his little sister--31/2--for about a week.  So April was taken care of that way.  In May, we went over to Chennai for around 10 days.  My husband and I drove there, something I always love to do, taking it easy, with an overnight break both on our journey there and back.  Hence we spent some more time with the grandchildren, daughter and daughter-in-law in Chennai.
When we got back I found my Lab Elsa was pregnant (mate unknown!!).  My daughter and family came back again towards the end of May, during which time Elsa whelped--which was truly momentous, leaving us all exhausted and drained.  But after all her agony and effort, there is only one pup surviving, though she gave birth to 8. (Full story of my being midwife here)
Now that schools have opened, I am back to work.  The monsoons seem to have started in earnest and so it is much, much cooler.  By next week the regular routine will be very much in place, a return to 'normal' life, something which seemed to have disappeared sometime in January.
And life goes on..........

18 May 2013

When my parents passed away, I did not feel like this, because I knew that both of them, my mother particularly, as she talked about it with me often, were ready to go and because I knew they had both lived full lives, and, most importantly, felt themselves that they had lived full lives.
At the moment I behave on the surface as though everything is normal.  But there are days when I feel I just cannot give of myself, that I have nothing to give, I am unable to be the strong one and give a shoulder for someone to lean on;  days when I do not want to see anyone except immediate family.  It is truly true (probably why it's a saying/cliche) 'laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone'.  Many people are uncomfortable with another's sorrow.  I have been guilty of that too at some time.  So one tries hard to be natural and as normal as can be in the interest of the people around you.  But some days it is difficult.  

19 April 2013

My last few posts have been about missing my son.  But I want to add that life goes on.  My grandson was here for a few days and brought a great deal of life into the house.  Then too, even without him having been there, the mundane, the nitty-gritty of life goes on and thoughts of my children and their families are, passing thoughts in my mind, as they were at the beginning of this year, and then, the thought comes that my eldest son is no more and it's unreal.
I am told that around here, most people feel that I have handled/am handling our tragedy well, but that it is my husband who is most upset.  Ah well!  I am too used to being the shoulder that is cried on to be easily able to reverse that role.  I have fixed a rather large plaster over the wound, made out of reading favourite books and listening to Jazz, mostly Latin jazz, music I love, (which has no associations with my son) and I am way too scared to even think about looking under the plaster, because I am so sure the scab will come away with the plaster too.

15 April 2013

I was looking back over my blog posts and I found this post I had posted about my eldest son and now, one year later he is no more. It is so unbelievable.  I had been so happy for him, at where he was in his life, the past year especially, and how happy he was and how mellowed he had become; how proud he was of what he was doing, how he had come to terms with his disability.  When he and his wife drove away from here, his childhood home, on the first of Jan, who thought that it would be the last time ever he would be doing that trip.  He had had so many things planned for this year, all not to be.
I read an online article about death--that there is no real death, that the energy that makes up a person just moves into an alternate universe.  Whatever death is, wherever the soul/the essence of a person goes after dying, for his/her loved ones, the fact is they are no longer where we are.  I can no longer touch his springy hair, give him a hug, see the brilliantly coloured tattoo on his arm, watch his lovely long fingers play the guitar, hear him belting out songs old and new, hear his ''So how are things, what's up at home?'' regularly once a week on the phone, mostly calling to talk to his father.  He was the one all the younger cousins went to, to solve problems, to get answers to stuff, to just talk and laugh with too.  The 'why,why whys' still come up in my mind.  But of course, there are no answers.  We just have to accept and deal with the reality of his physical absence.

01 April 2013

Life moves slowly on.  It's almost two months since my son passed on.  In the day, when I'm reading or pottering about the house, when my eyes are wide open, it's ok; but in the dark sometimes the memories come, like a video and then it's difficult.
Well, my grandson is coming to spend part of his summer holidays (as large a part of it that he can).  We'll go fetch him this week, as his holidays begin on the 5th.  I know he is looking forward to it with great excitement and grandpa is busy recording movies for both of them to watch together, apart from planning possible trips out of town with him :-)
His sister has agreed--for the very first time--to come and spend a few days with us, without her parents, towards the end of the month, mainly because her mum (my daughter) has to go out of town.  She has promised her mother that she will be alright.  Once she also comes, I'm sure I'll be too busy to while away time in front of Facebook etc!

20 March 2013

"I wake up in the morning and I wonder
Why everything's the same as it was 
I can't understand, no, I can't understand
How life goes on the way it does 

Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don't they know it's the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye"

This was the way I was feeling for the last month or so.  But I have managed to put in exercise,
gone back to work teaching, reading books I love--fantasies, westerns, or James Herriot, Gerald Durrell--which keep my mind occupied and away from thinking of my loss.  Now that summer holidays have begun, very soon my grandkids will be coming for their holidays.
But, every time I see pictures of my son, see something he used lying around and most of all, inadvertently hear music that he loved and sang, the sorrow floods me.  Yet, I do see the slow healing of time taking place.  Incidentally, I also found this site very helpful.

21 February 2013

How does one ever deal with the finality of death?  How does one deal with the almost overnight disappearance of a loved one, so suddenly, so unexpectedly?  I know that our family is not the only one to suffer such a loss, but that does not make it any easier, for each person is unique, each circumstance different and each family different too.  I wonder how I and most of all my daughter-in-law, for whom her husband was her absolute best friend, can ever get through life/time, the months stretching ahead.  I can only ask for the good vibes from the universe to help us through.

13 February 2013

My eldest son died last Thursday--my beautiful, charming, intelligent, mischievous, musical, vital, talkative, annoyingly argumentative,, passionate about rights for the disabled, who could make anyone around him feel life is fun,  caring brother, cousin, son.  I am linking to the Facebook page a friend of his started for him.

10 January 2013

As a further part of the discussion on sexual assault and/or sexual abuse, I am linking to an article that appeared in the Indian Express, regarding the issue with regard to people with disabilities--Widen this soul-searching.  This article was written by my son along with a colleague.

04 January 2013

Sunitha Krishnan's TED lecture (2009)

I came across this link to a TED talk by Sunita Krishnan on Facebook, shared by a cousin of mine.  I had seen Sunitha Krishnan giving her opinion post-Nirbhaya/Damini's trauma.  But this is the first time I have heard her speak.   When you hear this lecture, one really wonders about human kind and whether we have moved that far from being animals.  I doubt even animals deliberately hurt others of their own species for their own pleasure.  Certainly many from the male of our species seem to have deep-rooted cruelty in them.  Do take the time to listen to the whole lecture.

01 January 2013

The horror of the story of Nirbhaya

It has been almost 6 months since I have posted on my blog.  But the story of the Delhi girl that was gang-raped, and the ever so many posts about it all over the Net world, this particular post especially, made me feel like posting too.
I had done my graduation in Chennai and went on to do my Post-Grad in Delhi University, North Campus.  That was around 41 years ago.
In Chennai, I was a student in an all girls college.  But, when walking out on the street, even along fairly lonely streets--of course only in broad daylight (naturally as we had to be in the hostel by 6 pm), you never had to suffer things like groping.  But when I came to Delhi, it was such a different experience.  The clothes you wore made no difference and neither the time of day.  The only safe buses to travel on were the University Specials, when the buses were running during the week, or else there were sometimes taxis, which  , when driven by some old Sardar taxi drivers, were safe as told to me by other Delhi girls. Getting on a bus was a nightmare and, if you were forced to stand, it was awful.  During those years in Delhi I learned to keep needles or pins to deal with wandering hands in cinema theatres, have used boots with heels to grind into toes at the back of me in a bus, to keep hands away from my bottom, I learned to use my elbows--always stuck out at right angles to my body-- to keep away hands from my breasts.  But the worst thing in Delhi was how males--not even in a crowded area--just came across and touched a woman--even if she was walking way to a side.  I remember once one of my classmates telling me that she was walking back at 2 in the afternoon, over the Ridge, back to college, with another girl, when a bunch of school boys, in uniform and not more than 12 or 13, came at them, groped them and ran off!  The two girls were in salwar kameez--not provocative clothes.  Once, a bunch of friends and I had been for a carol service at the St. Stephen's college chapel, which was conducted early, so that girl students could attend and get back before dark.  We were dressed in saris, and with thick sweaters or shawls--very decent.  We were walking back through gardens in the University and had almost reached the main road when we saw about 5 or so young men coming towards us.  We decided to try and stay together.  But when we reached the men, they stood in such a way that, to get through, we would have to break up and walk through them.  As we walked through, one of the men just put his hands up and caught me on my breasts and this is through my sweater.  Each of us was trying to take care of ourselves in the melee.  I know that I promptly lifted his arms up with my bent elbows and bit him hard and then one of the girls screamed and someone shouted.  Immediately they told us not to shout and then ran away.  Now, this is not a question of a lone girl walking with a boyfriend, nor is a case of being in any way 'provocatively' dressed.  It's none of these. Just the fact that these men felt that us women were fair game, probably because we were out without male family members.....The impression one got in Delhi, was that men from the North Indian states had absolutely no respect for women.
I have now lived in Kerala for 40 years and brought up girls here, but never has there been the kind of groping that goes on in Delhi.  Here, yes, in a very crowded situation somebody might try to surreptitiously touch your behind, where you can't be sure it was intended, but not a direct attack.
All I can say is attitudes have to change from the roots, where boys have to be taught in school about respecting women, where Indian males have to be taught that being born male gives no extra rights; where fathers and mothers treat a girl child and a boy child equally; where a mother does not treat her son's eve-teasing of a neighbour girl as 'that's the way boys are'; where women--whatever their hierarchy in the joint family--can speak up for other women, within the family circle,  when they feel an injustice is being perpetrated, in fact , where women can voice their opinions, without being thought of as bold for having opinions.