Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai. Aug ’08
Imagine traveling 3 hours one way in a public bus , traveling from one city to another. Sometimes standing. All the way through. Often times jostling with a crowd, the constituents of which will get on and off. But the aggregate numbers will always remain steady or perhaps get higher.
And then, in about 6-7 hours, return. Traveling the same 3 hours. Jostle with new shoulders and rush home to take care of recalcitrant sons & spread happiness in the family. And then get out of bed, the next day. To repeat the routine. The next day. And the next day. And so on.
And oh, by the way, in between those 6 hours of travel, stand in front of young minds and teach for many hours. About plants. Science. Environment. And so on. For a few years. And then, the government transfer comes finally, as rain to parched lands. And those tired legs get some respite. The soul is still fresh.
Years keep flowing by. Her husband, an able vivacious, intelligent and loving man, with loads of friends has a new companion, who he has been seeing for some years now. The doctor introduces him to her and her sons as a certain Parkinson. This Parkinson is no ordinary push over.
Like a string of native kings falling by the wayside to make way for an invading imperial force, each part of the body is ceded to Parkinson. Except perhaps the mind. That freedom struggle still is on. As before. Very much on. Twenty years is a long time. The soul is a trifle weary. But still is fresh. The lady manages to keep it so. Both hers and her husband’s.
In the in between years, relatives come and go. Come when in need and go on satiation! Friends come and go. Actually many go. And only a few come. Many laugh aloud at the woman & her plight. She endures those sardonic grins with a surfeit of will, happiness and just a plain need to keep going, No matter what.
The years roll on. And then, she retires. From work. The husband strains every sinew to ensure he retires only after completing his full term. And retires too. She ensures his soul is fresh to do so.
Other health problems surface. For her too. The finances look shaky. The house that stands in their name, stands like a majestic evidence of all that it took to put it together. There are options available. ‘Compromise on values’ does not figure on the list.
Problems persist. And then, roll away. Like water on a lotus leaf. New ones, continue to emerge. The soul is still fresh.
Somewhere in-between she gets her sons married. Small savings over years make way for grand weddings. ‘Talk of the town’ types. The daughter-in-laws are inducted well into the family,with a perspicuity that many a corporate would pay a kings ransom for.
She encourages her sons to move on and see the world. The sons move to different cities. Tending to their own lives & holding on to the telephone lines and the odd train journey to stay alive to ‘home’. A grandson arrives. Happiness abounds. The soul is still afresh.
So, she tends to her husband & his now permanent companion, Parkinson, in a distant city. Oh, by the way, upon retirement, she learns how to operate the computer & gets herself familiar with the Internet.
One able son opens a Gmail account for her & gives her lessons over the phone. She picks up the pieces. Autodidacts every piece. Bit by bit. She understands Browses. E-mails. Reads twitter posts. And stays connected with her sons, their families and to the rest of the world. The soul. Oh that’s fresh.
Her life & her husband’s life are an epitome of survival. And a will to carry on, no matter what. A desire to make a difference and to raise sons who perhaps will do the same. A story of beauty & lessons in an endless struggle. A soul that refuses to cave in. A soul that is still fresh.
One of her sons is a torch bearer of sorts, starting with being an entrepreneur while still being wet behind the ears at college ! And shines through, to date, and holds tremendous promise.
The other son, hems and haws. Meanders through the labyrinths of the corporate world. Someday, he believes, he will be worthy of being their son and all what they put into him.
Today, he catches people celebrating Amitabh Bachan‘s birthday, and thinks about his heroes. A few empty stares into a Saturday sky and lurking pigeons later, he proceeds to write. About his heroes.
With moist eyes and a tear that’s just dried, on his left cheek, he begins,
“Imagine traveling 3 hours one way in a public bus , traveling from one city to another. Sometimes standing. All the way through. Often times jostling with a crowd….
18 thoughts on “The soul is fresh !”
now I get to go to bed at 1:30AM on a friday night with tears in my eyes..
Kavi, any kid living away from parents who are ageing will probably get teary eyed after reading your post
only one thing (a lesson from my faher in law actually).
don’t blame yourself for not being part of their life because the world has changed and is changing. if you do for your kids, what your parents did for you, you are doing fine!
not necessarily a tear drying thought, but I just had to say it..
You are indeed a lucky man, to have such wonderful parents, and they are blessed with a son who writes from the heart, so well, that one starts missing ones own parents….
I have often marvelled at the strength and immense faith that folks in that generation had and continue to have.
Please convey my respectful namaskars to them….
It is a poignant story line….both happiness and sadness are very temporary……..
I liked the theme of a movie that I saw this weekend: Do not fear death; Fear the unlived life.
As we may not have a lot of years left to enjoy the company of our parents, we got to make the most of it when it is available.
I know for fact that you do. You can look back to remember the good and bad times. You have a lot to treasure.
never been this emotional, never been this alive sir.
our roots are deeper than ever, the lessons cross time and space.
i agree so much to what you are saying here. people dont know their heroes, they are headless chickens.
i appreciate immensely when you write about your parents. Shows you are a wise individual, and rooted. the journey in this life is never easy, the paths are never one, but always, there are mortal Gods who make it seem all worthwhile. And really teaches the fresh ones like me how to appreciate life.
Tear in the eyes .. after reading the first few lines! After meeting her. as i feel the same..yes cannot express it as beautifully as you have done…
Never got connected with someone so close the way i am with her.. another coincidence i looged on to send her the report of my son to make her feel happy..
May GOD give her the strength to keep her soul fresh as always! She is a real hero!
awesomely written, i’m touched,moved and inspired!
Splendid! Very well written. And yes, inspiring…
Wonderfully written and conveys what needs to be said so beautifully…I have no more words than this…but I do have tears in my eyes as I read it…
Thanks to new age wonders like posts & blogs – one could atleast say things which they might possibly never express !!!
Sometimes our self imposed exile from our loved ones with a universally proclaimed reasoning that life is not fair to all at all times – stretches too far, that we are forced to reinvent our own emotions while reading something as touching as this…
I always read your posts Kavi – but today, for a change the post was reading me – trying very hard to understand what emotions I was going through – in vain…
You write like a poet, Kavi. That was beautiful.
This was beautiful, Kavi. There are not enough children in this world who appreciate their parents. Family is precious and you have touched on that, leaving your readers with tender tears.
Brilliant post, Kavi. Left me speechless, with moist eyes and a lump in the throat.
simply soul stirring…
helped me travel to my parents and back in a jiffy!!!
I have been overwhelmed with all the comments, private messages, phone calls and mails on this post.
I can only say ‘Thank you’ for reading, taking the time to write in a response and say it touched you somewhere !
What started out as a ruse to get a deep felt to express has emerged much bigger than what i started out with ! And to that i am indebted to each one of you.
My sincere thanks to every reader here ! I feel strangely inadequate as to how much of my true feelings ‘Thank You’ can encompass. Saying so, i leave it there…thank you !
Splendid as always! And as always, you don’t tend to shed the habit of making others shed a tear or two, out of your musings.
kavi…. dont know which way to start. to applaud your writing skills or to marvel at the story. if i try to cover both angles… i think you are ready for a walk to the publisher’s house.
observe one other thing about the second son here. corporate habit of sitting high n doing nothing is contagious. among other things, it makes one lazy.
is the new companion in your life?
This was touching. But imagine few years back when She didnt have internet to stay connected to sons and daughters. Waiting for a rare letter or a rarer telephone call. We are lucky to have born in this era… and no worries you are a torch bearer too, no matter where you reach or dont.
what a beautiful post! I am reading this just by chance after going thru some of your older posts! It strikes such a chord with all of us, I am sure!