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Reminiscence Matters

By Pushpa Raghuram, Bengaluru, India


PART I

Janaki could not sleep a wink on the night prior to her 45th wedding anniversary. 

After tossing and turning for a while she sat up. Her post-marriage time was running like a movie in front of her eyes – no title song, no mention of the script writer or the director. Was the movie shot without any recci, a DOP (director of photography) or a cinematographer, and without even a clapper boy? Or were they all rolled into one and only one - 'GOD'?

She wanted to get up and pen down the thoughts that were overpowering her, narrate about the events which had taken place in the past four and half decades, find relevant photos to look at and probably share with others. It appeared like a herculean task. But the urge from within to do just that, and the energy flowing into her from above could not be controlled. 

Her travel with Ram began on 18 June, 45 Years ago! With the holy fire, families, and friends as witnesses, she and Ram committed to each other for life. The priest placed a symbolic plough on her head and shoulders, a Piscean, explaining to Ram, the Taurean, that the two were to together bear the responsibility of the family. He made them take the age-old "Seven Steps" together and set them off on their journey as a married couple.  

Their life's journey together was by choice. 

The freedom to choose comes with responsibility, which they were not aware of, to begin with. For two people with different genes, upbringings and perspectives, to walk together hand in hand might have been challenging if it were not for the firm belief that there is unity in diversity. Tacit understanding was to neither curb the strength nor encourage the weakness of each other. While agreeing to disagree on trivial issues, they put their partnership above their egos. They did not allow egos to inflate or deflate or play a vital role on decisions to be made, especially those which really mattered for the family or for the wellness of their parents and children.

It had been a memorable journey. In seventh heaven to start with, followed by travel on terrain - smooth and rough for a few SUMMERS. On placid water – like on a tranquil river sailing smoothly for a few SPRINGS, merging into the sea and battling with the tides' ebbs and swells for a few AUTUMNS, while always being busy in their chosen careers or entrepreneurial ventures started with others or single-handedly, planned well or perfunctorily.

Special mention goes to the WINTERS they spent together in their cosy homes, along with family members and offspring, neighbours and friends, sharing and caring, cutting jokes at the silliest and simplest of things, playing Tambola (Housie), attending kitty parties and picnics, participating in seminars and conferences, going on package tours whenever possible with family and friends - both native and foreign.

They celebrated their parenthood and enjoyed the childhood of two loving daughters, teaching them at first to follow the elders, and then encouraging them to chase their own dreams during their teens and twens. Janaki and Ram watched them pursuing their passions – their sincerity and loyalty in sticking to them, congratulating them on their successes, and basking in their glory.

Cheer left them when the daughters got married and left to carve their respective futures in the manner they wished to. They let them fly, and welcomed them with open arms when they came to their nest for a visit, or seized opportunities to visit them, give and get warmth, pampering them and allowing cheer to come back into the home again. 

Courage left their company many a time without a word, especially when loved ones departed, and friends disappeared into unknown realms and territories. However, they had to bounce back to life in order to deal with the daily routine, working, and attending to domestic duties and social obligations. Courage would then join them again and they would continue their journey despite the absence of loved ones. 

Health too had played hide-n-seek with them at times. Accidents happened, as also hospitalizations. Each time though, their doctor friends dealt deftly with their fears and / or the medical challenge on hand. During all this, the invisible yet powerful hand of god had been upon them.

Time flew - without any academic assessment sheets, grades or remarks like "There is scope for improvement" and without annual confidential reports and feedback sessions. When Janaki measured the time with a measuring glass, and read it as four and half decades, she sat mesmerized.

During their journey, they saw the Garden City turn into a Silicon City, the air conditioned city getting popular as air polluted city. They were mute witnesses to political turmoils, scandals and scams. They also saw, most importantly, their birth as grandparents to two chirpy and handful grandchildren, who became, along with their daughters, their gravitational force.

Janaki's mind went on a reflective mode. Her inner eye opened to recognise all the people who had accompanied them for varied lengths of time during this journey. Some of them were like their signals or signposts at cross roads and junctions, often guiding them to the right path. There were others who stood like strong banyan trees, silently giving them shelter and shade during their summer journey. And then there were those who helped them change the punctured tyres and / or remove the roadblocks. Some others held up umbrellas during the monsoons, while yet others packed their parachutes before their flights, or offered life jackets at the right time.

It struck Janaki that the 18th of June 2017 was also a "Thanks giving day" for the two of them. In her mind, she sent out a big 'thank you' to her beautiful daughters, the families they had gone into, and their friends and relatives for making their journey, eventful and memorable. She also silently recollected the various people who formed a part of their retinue these past 4 ½ decades – people who drove them across the city whenever needed, ran errands, cleaned window panes, and prepared finger-licking delicacies for them and their guests. 

Janaki's Thanks Giving day, was also Guruvandana day. She thought of all her teachers, and the teachers of her children and grandchildren without whose efforts, none of them would have turned out to be what they were on this day. These teachers had passed on gyana (knowledge) and skill to them, while also channelising their thoughts and deeds at various appropriate times.

Janaki fell into a slumber – almost as if she was taking a few minutes break before seeing another movie.

Part II continues here....