Waiting for you Baba

“Megha mala traas hotoy”…you struggled for the next few minutes and then there was silence, forever. This time over you gave up fast. Finally you put yourself out of trying, pain, struggle…your last distressed words with heaviness in your voice, ring in my ears…they will, till my last breath.

I lost you to timelessness..to silence! 
Life will never be the same again. Your quiet existence in the chair from where you would look at the world, play sudoku, make calls for errands, watch TV…
Your limping walk with or without a walking stick was always so eager so confident. You would do all the work with that limp all over the house. Baba even at this age you worked selflessly, because you knew if you wouldn’t nobody would. True karma yogi, we don’t have to look beyond you for you are a book of inspiration and lived a life true to your word and belief. Man of few words but once spoken would have meaning in layers. Your simplicity maketh you. Whether way of living, eating, talking…never have you even once told me or anyone for that matter “what to do”. Gave me the freedom of thought and action. Always backed me in all my decisions. You were my obedient child, you always listened to all that I suggested, did accordingly without questions. 

You stood by me in all your health decisions and supported and cooperated with me. We with stood all challenges and bore all our health issues together. Those were trying times and your will power to overcome them and take them head on made them bearable. You were always a good patient. Never gave up hope and only found ways to get up again and start walking as soon as possible be it your spine operation, hip bone operation or cataract operation. Always giving priority to me getting to office as quickly as possible. In extraordinary times you were extraordinary Baba. Learnt so much from you.

Where did you get so much discipline from?!! By looking at you do a activity we would know what time it is. You kept a diary for everyday expenses, we found it the other day and were amazed at your consistency and planning. Hats off for making ‘managing household’ interesting, or rather managing household by a click of a button. You have simplified things and made them manageable. We split responsibilities between you and me, now they have doubled for me, but believe me you have made things so simple I don’t find any addition in my chores. All who you interacted with have so much respect for you that I find it easy to take over,  my job is simplified. 

We laughed together, worried over mom’s health together, were happy over the building repairs together, we were a good team Baba. I felt your strife to keep things simple for me…it was palpable. You did a lot of things at home, outside as well, so that I don’t have to bear the burden when tired back from work. Baba your ways were quiet and effective. You only thought of how to make life easy for me. You worried a lot for me…I always knew that.
            
I worried for you Baba….always. If you didn’t return from your walk by 7 I would call you. Remember the time when it was raining and you didn’t carry the umbrella, Nilesh and me came to fetch you at the garden? You were so happy to see us. You returning from your walk by rickshaw and me entering the building would coincide and Baba the site of you would hush me of my tiredness…the site of you getting down from the rickshaw is etched in my mind’s eye . You made me feel wanted, loved, cherished, respected…I felt secure next to you. You gave me unconditional love and never even once made me feel alone. You waited for me and kept giving calls to where I had reached while getting back from work…Baba now there is no one to love me the way you did.

I will miss looking at you drinking coffee when I leave for work and you would look up to see me go…
I will miss your call asking “kapde aahet ka” for the laundry…
I will miss your call asking “kuthe pochli” while getting back from work…
I will miss you seated in the chair solving sudoku…
I will miss miss you tying the bag to the door for milk and ofcourse your favourite brun pav…
I will miss seeing you wearing your shoes…the way you would hit it so it fits…
I will miss you standing in the balcony…
I will miss you opening the door for me…
I will miss you at the dining table…
I will miss you cutting an apple…so fine…
I will miss your sound of exercising…
I will miss speaking konkani with you… 

I miss you Baba. Never thought we would be separated. I will always look for you in all things beautiful…the 1st rays of sun, lush green open fields, waterfalls, sun light through trees, moon lit night, birds chirping and ofcourse music…

Will always look for you Baba and wait for the day when you would be back…

I want to be your daughter…this life…and in all lives to come…Love you Baba, now and always!!   
  

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V Care – an answer to a prayer!

Sadhguru says “Always end your day with a few moments of gratitude”​.

​​The relevance of this statement hit me the day I visited a programme for the families of terminally ill cancer patients, organised by V Care Foundation, an emotional support group​ for these families. ​

We tend to take too much for granted, and thank less and complain more. ​What is a traffic jam or a delayed flight  – this I realized when ​I got to spent time with people who have no choices but to make the best of the time they have​ with their loved ones​ – unfortunately, very little time in many cases.  A cancer survivor, Mrs Vandana Gupta, started the Foundation, to provide comprehensive support to cancer patients​, their famiies ​and caregivers to enable them to fight  cancer​ with minimal inconvenience. ​ “I don’t think I would ever be able to volunteer”, I said to Nayana Gupta, ​my ​colleague and daughter in law of Mrs Vandana Gupta. It was such an overwhelming experience to be able to interact with the Volunteers, the caregivers​, ​cancer patients and also cancer survivors. “It is challenging”, said Mrs Gupta​ and her dedicated band of volunteers, ​who were ensur​ing ​ all are comfortable and having a good time. The selfless service was​ all pervading.   I was speechless and was not sure would be able to complete the task I had come for. Faces which were going through pain and helplessness, Mrs Gupta urging them to dance sing laugh clap…to show cancer the door by being strong…”Hum honge kamiyab ek din”…they all sang along with Mrs Gupta…the vibrant energy in the air was infectious and​ almost everyone danced and forgot their malady. Smiling faces, along with tears, they looked up lovingly at Mrs Gupta.

Memories of my conversation with a cancer patient rolled down my cheeks and brought a reality check on my life and a silent prayer escaped my heart – thanking God for all I had to be grateful for and seeking solace for the people I had spent the last couple of hours with.

Every once in a while we come across, or more probably​,​ read about one such person who’s selfless service helps thousands in need, and all this with a smile! ​I had met and experienced such a soul – God Bless her and her band of selfless volunteers.

My Sydney Chapter

Received an invitation mail to Sydney!!!

Am I invited?!! couldn’t believe it…confirmed from Sonal..she said “Yes girl” and “don’t you say a no”

Passport valid hai ke nahi wahan se shuruvat thi…

agar hai bhi to given my motion sickness issue which pops up every 2nd day while travelling back from work to my vertigo issue, can I travel that long without falling sick, and the temperature, minimum 4 degrees!!!!

Hajaar apprehensions…

Anxious…who would understand my dilemma!!

Thaan lee…negatives ke bare sochna nahi…taiyyari shuru karo

…and Sydney here I come ho gaya

..it was an adventure from the time I left home…cab driver did not know the way to the intl airport and insisted on not listening to my instructions and rather follow the gps…pata nahi kaha kaha se hum pohochen western express highway, after 1 1/2 hrs, and reached the airport after 2 hours…had a bumper fare, which was refunded after they heard my story.

Airport se hee our fun started what with all known faces…O hi aap bhi aa rahe hai..aap bhi…arey aap bhi…

With an uneventful (read as no head spinning and vomiting hence joyful) flight we landed in Sydney with a temperature of 9 degrees…hey hold on it didn’t feel like 9 at all…and Sydney had many more such surprises. Everyone followed the traffic rules to the T, humbled is a mild word…vehicles stopped for pedestrians to pass!! Yaay dream world, ideal world!! Appreciation came easy given the plight of Indian traffic and traffic sense, “pedestrians” is an non existing species. Roads were smooth, footpaths were a realty and visible!! This trip is going to be a hit..could feel it in my bones…instructions after instructions were doled out by the Thomas Cook staff. A note here, even they were too good…right from the time we alighted from Sydney airport to back to India, we felt like kids being taken care of. Thomas Cook it would always be for all my trips from now on.

Slight drizzle to chill to sunshine to windy, the weather took turns and we almost experienced the entire gamut of all weathers that Sydney has in those 5 days…bus ride around Sydney there was a drizzle hence collldd…shopping day it was windy (please read windy in the actual sense, khade rehena bhi mushkil ho jaata tha) hence collldd…the day we went to the aquarium/ Madame Tussauds’ museum it was sunny yet cold…at the zoo it was collldd and the last day it was 4 degrees whoooaa…with eyes watering and cold shivers down the spine we walked the promenade…best times! Coldest month it was, August, what a time to be in Sydney!

Hyatt Regency is single most hotel in Sydney with a bridge connect directly from the hotel to Sydney Harbour which is well lined with eateries, small and big, malls, walking, cycling and seating areas. It was easily the most crowded locality in the entire Sydney.

Surrounded by buildings which were only meant for parking, and buildings housed with the who’s who of the financial sector. Post 5 the area, the promenade, would be crowded, though cold. Breeze was a common phenomenon, at any given time of the day.

Caught up with my cousin, we spoke like long lost friends. She leads a tough life what with the “bai” visiting her only once a week. She just about does everything and is a full time, 24*7 on call, intensivist. Wow! And met with my nephew, the handsome, all of 6 feet 6″ tall, Rohan. He impressed me with his Indianised ways and thoughts. Only two years away from being a Doctor.

In Sydney we walked and walked and walked…and soon ours legs gave away, so the aquarium tour was amazing at the same time painful. Very well built, the walk through was such fun, never heard nor seen so many species of amazing and colourful fishes. Sadly couldn’t take pictures as my mob battery was low. High and low, anyways a good experience, made a mental note to tell all my friends with kids to visit this place.

Our bus driver, Jenny was an interesting elderly lady. Australian Government hires and encourages for such jobs, post retirement, which are not too strenuous, upto the age of 65 years, which I thought was brilliant because post 58 years you are still upto working, maybe not as strenuous. So our Jenny, a nurse all her life, took up a driving job, which she loves. There is dignity of labour, hence no jobs are looked down upon. She works for 3 months, takes a month’s break and sees the world, and back to work for 3 more months. Nice I thought, imagine “sitting” home after retirement.

Sky colour is to be seen to be believed, seen such colour only in Natgeo channel. And the water colour in Sydney harbour, green and blue. Surreal surroundings, it is almost a dream come true to be in this part of the world which is considered the best City in the world to live in. A mental note made, I joked of living in Sydney post retirement, even decided on the location, Bondi beach area. Hee hee..

Bondi beach is beautiful, white sinking sand, blue green waters and the never ending skyline. Serene. Windy, it was cold and water colder. Not crowded though, we walked the roads and what impressed me was that the cars slowed or stopped as they got closer, but did not honk. In fact we didn’t hear a single honk nor did we see a single police during our entire stay. Hmm…talks a lot about how high on marks are Sydneysiders when it comes to civic sense.

Sydney skyline is a good mix of old and new buildings, old buildings have a distinct British-ness to them and the new ones have an American-ness to them. Small streets and smaller lanes mark the City Sydney, surrounded by wider roads winding to the Country side. Signals at every 200 meters are followed diligently by drivers and pedestrians equally. Work is all concentrated to one area in Sydney that is in and around the Sydney harbour hence the traffic is congested, though well managed, you do not find anyone in a hurry. Nobody is hassled or in a rush to get anywhere, there is a relaxed pace. Almost felt like everyone was on a vacation.

Parks were a common sight. Despite the weather, or probably because of the weather, walking and even cycling to work was a common sight. The day it was sunny, though afternoon, joggers were out on the street. All in all it seems like a happy place. It lifted your spirits. Just about everyone was smiling and in a happy mood.

Every street corner had a convenience store, lined up with essentials and a pharmacy after every few blocks. City is well planned and has directions down every street, you could never get lost. It is well connected with trams, metros, buses…the British ways of public transport still thrives in this part of the world. Locations which are people intensive like the market place or the Opera or the harbour are well connected and can be easily reached. All walking areas are elderly and challenged-friendly, which makes them mobile and not confined. Aged people walking around was a common site.

Sydneysiders are very proud of the Opera and rightly so. It is a beautiful structure against the back drop of the Pacific ocean, at the Harbour. Get closer and its whiteness and sharp edges surprise you. Its surface is squared and every alternate square has a mirror hence it reflects the sky. Surrounded by water is makes for a very picturesque site. Well connected to the metro, elderly are encouraged to visit the Opera.

The Zoo, Cable ride, visit to Madame Tussauds, the two evenings spent dancing, Convention at Sydney Cricket Grounds where we found Sydneysiders crazier than us about Sachin, are all experiences to cherish.

Shopping was a delight and I realised I could get carried away but did not resist and gave in. It was a short stay but worth the visit…

to Sydney,

You are beautiful and I could be with you for ever!

My very first post…

Its been almost months now that I have been wanting and trying, of course, to find a domain name “not taken”. Finally today I had this “I’m feeling lucky” moment and here I am, with my first blog, and at loss of words…

Now that the naming ceremony is through, I can actually concentrate on penning my thoughts!

Till then…