Guldasta

A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

worth a watch March 14, 2010

Filed under: family,love,Me,nostalgia — gurdas @ :

my watch, since 1992

An ordinary watch made extraordinary by its survival. 18 years and counting.

I was all of 15 when my father gave me this Titan timepiece. Since then it has stayed on my wrist about 20 hours a day and 365 days a year. And it has not stopped for one single moment except when needing a battery, o-ring, or glass replacement.

I remember it cost a mere Rs. 450 ($10) or thereabouts. It has been my only wrist watch from the day it came into my life and I hope to maintain that till it ticks. The many years of wear has weathered it, just like me. Its steel body has scars and dents and the dial face has yellowed along the edges. I keep it clean by washing it under running tap water using soap and a toothbrush! Wonder how many people do that with their watch. I do.

Over the years, it has lost some of its water resistance and the display fogs when it is subjected to one of my cleaning sessions or rainfall. I am guessing it will last a few more years and will then rest in peace in my wardrobe.

To remind me of my loving father. And to remind me that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the ‘extra’ distance travelled.

 

नौ दस ग्यारह February 21, 2010

Filed under: Children,family,love,Me,poetry — gurdas @ :

जब वोह है आपको चूमता
मेरी धड़कन थम जाती है|
उस छोटी सी जान में
नजाने क्यों मुझे अपनी परछाईं नज़र आती है|

उसके खट्टे मीठे सवाल और उसकी भोली आँखें
आप जैसा व्यवहार और आप जैसी बातें|
दिल के दायरे में समेट लूं ऐसा सोचता हूँ
पर खुद को पराया जान के रुक जाता हूँ

बस कुछ नौ दस साल का
सुबह की सुन्हेरी धूप सा प्यारा|
एक दोस्त है और चाहता
जब आये जन्मदिन ग्यारह|

.

When he lands a kiss on your face
My heart skips a beat
And in his young self
I see a reflection of my soul

His sweet questions and his innocent eyes
Remind me of your mannerisms and talk
I think of surrounding him with my love
But pause because I am yet a stranger

All of just nine or ten years
Precious as the golden morning rays
He desires for one more friend
As his eleventh birthday approaches

 

Yours S-S-S-t-t-utteringly December 11, 2009

Filed under: family,fiction+fact cocktail,life,love,Me — gurdas @ :
Tags: ,

Imagine waking up to find you have lost a limb. Or that you have lost your voice. Or that you can no longer speak a single sentence without someone laughing at you.

It is not easy. It is specially difficult if you are merely 10 years old and eager to reach out to the world around you.

Somewhere around that age I started to stutter. So, because of this stutter thing, I lived a part of my young growing years “fighting” an inconsiderate world. This fight shaped me forever. That I could not care less about societal norms, that I will always fight for what I believe in, that I will be able to forgive anyone, that I will be gifted with empathy, and that I can love unconditionally are all in part born out of and/or nutured by this fight.

You have to go through fire once to know what it means to be burnt. And once you are burnt there are only two things that can happen to you. Either you will shrivel and die or you will come out brighter and purer. For reasons I do not fully understand and surely do not take credit for, I happened to emerge talking nineteen to the dozen from my state of speechlessness. I would open my mouth and incoherence would emanate. People around me would become uncomfortable. They would get embarrased as if I have dropped my pants. Some would hide their emotion and keep a straight face. Some would step away. Some would laugh. Right there. Right in my face. It is to the latter that I partly owe my triumph.

Two incidents remain etched like yesterday in my mind. No matter they happend more than 20 years ago. I was in grade six, and stood up to answer something the teacher asked. I knew the answer. I just did not know how to get it out of my lungs. But I started anyhow. And then Sunita*, a classmate, started laughing. And then another classmate laughed. And then another. It no longer mattered if I knew the answer. It no longer mattered if I did finally get it out. For all you would have heard in that classroom was laughter.

The other memory is of playtime outside my house. Probably a summer evening. My neighbours Madhu* and Nisha* and I were enagaged in small talk. Both a few years elder to me. I had this joke to tell which I thought was very funny. So I said I have a joke to tell. Nisha started laughing and said “well, we will know the end before you have finished”. I do not remember the moment exactly after she said this, but I do remember running home, burying myself in my mother’s lap, and crying my heart out. It seemed the joke was on me. I also remember Nisha running in a few moments later, filled with remorse for her words, and crying.

So, unlike most of you, I did not get my speech without a fight. And fight I did. Tooth and nail. Sweat and blood. I just did not stop talking. My teachers had only this complaint all my school life – “he is talkative”. I was obedient, polite, clean, on time, and sharp. They just did not understand why I would want to talk and sometimes get punished for it. But someone did. This half educated, barely five feet tall, and tough as a nail woman I call mother understood exactly what it was all about. No, she had no idea what was the cause of her son’s infliction. I think she did not give two hoots for the cause. But she did know something no other person knew. She never asked me to shut up. She never laughed at me. She never got embarassed if it took me ages to tell her what I wanted to tell her. She would just wait, like an angel, for me to finish. I am sure she would have waited for an eternity if I had lost my voice completely. Mothers are made entirely of the world’s most precious element. They are made purely of love.

So, riding on her love and some perseverance, I managed to come far enough to talk fluently. I still think faster than I can talk, and I can talk faster than some people can think. But once in a while I would find the disability reappear for an odd second or two and the words would jam up. People still get embarassed when that rare slip happens. And I still get “You are talkative”. But I laugh it off. For I have earned my voice.

—-

* names changed to protect identities.

 

run to you June 19, 2009

Filed under: family,love,Me,nostalgia — gurdas @ :

In a distant land, on a hot, dry day, my thoughts wander to younger years. I would return home from school around 3 pm, preoccupied with thoughts of playing. What would follow is a battle of wits between mother and me. She would like me to stay at home until the afternoon has mellowed and the Sun isn’t scorching hot. I was of the opinion that the Sun is too trivial a reason to stop me from playing. Usually mother had her way.

But sometimes I would cheat. Upon reaching home, I would slip my fingers into the crack between the window shutters, open the window, throw my school bag in, and run. The bag always landed on the bed mother used for sleeping, so she would wake up and shout after me “come back, it is too hot!” That 12 year old Gurdas could not have cared less. In fact, I’d be running as fast as my legs could go and probably be out of earshot by the time mother would wake up.

Today, I can hear her voice playing in my head and notice how much love there is. I wish my mother was around to scold me for that too is laden with love. She is old, her skin has wrinkled, and old age has settled in. But mother, this son of your is a kid who wants to hear your voice, feel your caress, plant a kiss, and get wrapped in a hug. And mother, June is still hot and I still want to run away. Only this time I want to run to you.

 

Butterflies from Dad March 1, 2009

Filed under: family,Inspiration,life,love,Me — gurdas @ :

Dad opened an email account and sent me our first one-to-one electronic communication. I enquired and found out he has been (secretly) attending “Internet classes”.

When I saw that first email, I felt butterflies in my stomach. In that moment, I could feel the love of my father from thousands of miles away. Because only love can make a 70 year old, who has never used a keyboard in his life, to go learn email communication.

I may be more educated than my father, but in matters of Life, he is still my teacher.