Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pondi notes.

Pondicherry it is.I reach at six o'clock to a guest house owned by a French couple at six in the evening and am reassured to be greeted by a family with a little daughter.
I have a splitting headache so I decide I want to eat a quick bite before I hit the sack.
Little down the street I walk into a tibetain shop and gulp down a plate of badly made momos.
The girl serves me in a traditionally sikkimese way,with that sign of respect which touches a chord.
I do manage a quick walk to the beach after the lady behind the counter assures me that Pondi is safe.I understand why when I run into police cars,police bikes and personals every ten steps.The beach looks ferocious,and beautiful at night but is overcrowded to say the least.I see a few works of different handwork potraits of Rajnikant,MGR,and I don't know who.One of them is even made of paper roses.
I walk briskly back to the hotel and hit  the sack.
Next morning I get up early and walk to the ashram.The streets around the ashram are quiet ,peaceful and clean.People are cordial.I see people from all walks of life walking barefeet ,prostrating before the lady's Samadhi or just sitting quietly,I guess meditating.I walk briefly through the ashram,look around,absorb the scenario,see a few notices for classical music concerts stuck to the board,pass through the hawk-eyed glare of the disciples perhaps wondering why I have come to visit the place at all.
I walk out of the ashram and start walking briefly through the French quarters.The place is clean  and cordial.I stop for a breakfast at a place .
I open my facebook on my phone to see a terrible status of a colleague and his wife passing away in an accident and the child fighting for his life.
That's it.That is life.
I walk to the church of immaculate conception hoping for a little time of peace, quiet and  mourning.The place is overcrowded .I walk on through the tamil quarters with their neat ,short traditional houses.
Unknowingly,I have hit the street and have reached somewhere near the place where I live.
I am walking through the sidewalks.....I suddenly find myself on my knees,my ankles at an acute angle.Three gentlemen rush towards me to help me up.
Extremely grateful and touched I thank them,sit down on the step of a shop when an old lady rushes up to me and enquires,'would you like some water?'I can't help smiling even as I say,I am fine.
What a wonderful species of people ,what a wonderful place,comfortable...very comfortable with having us around.
I hope to make a quick visit to Auroville before I travel back to Vellore.
Perhaps I will be able to meet Upasana after all.
Goodbye Pondicherry,God willing I will come again.

Coming South.

Strange to be back in the south after quite a long gap.My friend asks me ,'are you back from Dehradun?'We were together in Tamil Nadu more than a decade ago.Slightly confused I say ,'back to where?'

I was born in Mangan,educated in Gangtok,graduated in Bengal,post-graduated in Tamil Nadu,worked in Satbarwa,Herbertpur,England,Herbertpur and now am ready for the next bout of adventure .

Even as I reach Chennai I meet Sheba after a little over a year,her parents after a decade.Uncle says I have grown fatter.

I hear Dr Manoj's familiar voice over the phone.....into CMC there is Dolly,Deepak,Beulah ,Alex,Emmanuel,Jayanti,Susheel,Shalom,Ashita,Deepak,Dr Hansdak,Judy,..then there are the Satbarwa folks...Sishir,Suman....and then more Oddanchattram...Abraham.,Meghala....and then even as Abraham dials the phone and hands the set to me I am greeted by intermittant stunned silence and giggle on the other side of the phone....seriously I,think Anand has forgotten who I am.Anand used to be a dentist in Oddanchattram when I was doing my post-graduation and was the kindest tamil teacher I had.The first few months of my post-graduate year,Dr KV was keen that someone teach me Tamil and he had volunteered.He was a wonderful teacher and I was an exceptionally indisciplined learner.

I try to schedule a meet with Upasana ,one of the staff kids from Satbarwa and I desperately fail.I have a day in hand so I decide I want to make a quick trip to Pondicherry.Even as I am in a reverie on the roads ,I wonder where all my other good friends have dissappeared to.I would have liked to meet Nithila,Malini,Bala,Zhimi,Ally...and ofcourse ,Dr KV.

This is the best part about moving around .I realise I have become so much richer by just having them in my life.

Even as I look to moving to a new place I also look forward to sharing my life with a lot more people,little treasures in my little life giving it a lot of substance and memories.

Now why did I come to Pondicherry?

Apart from the fact that It was a last minute plan since my onward journey was from Vellore and an enthusiatic well-wisher whispered ,'go to Pondicherry',I actually came to see the crystal ball once a friend of mine likened me to.....hoping I will be able to capture back a fraction of that quality , whatever that meant..... that I will be able to do some reading ,praying and thinking.... before I catch the next train to Bilaspur.....


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Notes to myself.

It's been a little over two months since I last scribbled a post.
In the comfort of having the parent's around one's mind stops functioning and you give in to the pampering .
However ,over the last few months,I have watched it all through close quarters and the technical eye ,the saga of Tehelka....and now Shashi Tharoor being beaten to the pulp ,two human institutions I had looked up to .........for their transient glimpses of brilliance.I don't denounce them ,I understand them perfectly well, as I do myself and every human being on earth,fragile ,frial, and sinful.
I hold on to what is good and accept the failings.
In the meantime I take great joy in small surprises that the Lord blesses us with.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with a young kid yesterday.
She could not be more than twenty three.
I called her over with a certain sense of responsibility.
The thought crossed my mind but I wasn't sure I would meet her before she left the campus.
I would not have met her otherwise had I not scheduled  a meet but just as I remembered for the second time that I should invite her over, she crossed my path.Invite her I did and thank God for that.
A convert from a hindu background ,born to a schizophrenic father ,separated from her mother,she was a delight to talk to.
She had decided to take up psychology so that she could help out people from a similar background.I was deeply touched to see such wisdom and a quiet resolution in one so young.
I was blessed.
On Monday,I travel to Vellore for  a three day conference on critical care and also look forward to meeting up with my friend Sheba and perhaps Beaulah.Post-Vellore ,I plan to take a detour to the heart of India to Champa and the adjacent hospitals .
I am looking towards relocating soon.
As I take a second plunge into a needy area...I wonder how different it is from the first time I plunged into Palaumu,as a fresh post-graduate ,straight out from the halloed grounds of Oddanchattram.
One thing I remember about my first few years in Palaumu was that I always had my bags packed, ready to run away, if and when I felt like I could not take it anymore.
I still have my bags packed ,albeit the reason differs.