Good Times…

Extended travel trips, and I am in the midst of one, gives you the opportunity to see life in general, as well as your own life, from multi-faceted sides…it often leaves me reeling whilst trying to absorb…rethink…appreciate…understand…relate…reformat…to all the vistas one is privy to…be they of the visual or personal kind…this is a learning experience and process like no other…the exposure…perspective…consciousness…provided by this view is ‘non pareil’…given one is willing to accept and embrace the fact that “minds, like umbrellas, work best when open”…

A ‘first’ for me on this trip was a long…very long…non-stop flight from Dubai to Dallas…a ‘first’ I was really not happy about…long flights are just not a preferred mode of travel…frequent stops are the norm…and my all time favorite dream of the “Beam me up Scotty” scenario was all I could literally dream about! For someone who has been traveling right from the word go…I was born in Moscow when it was still the USSR…this comes as a surprise, but I think age is a contributory factor, as is the fact that travel, whilst it has gained from the levels of comfort and technology available, has lost the graciousness and charm of yore…

A  sixteen hour flight just sounded too daunting and I was being ostrich-like by neither thinking about it nor discussing it with anyone…luckily this reservation about long flights is well known to my family and friends! It seems to have worked…I willed myself to think that…”this too shall pass”…and it did…the saying that often we have nothing to fear but fear itself has made a valid point…

After a brief stay in Dallas with much loved family members…Vancouver, a city well known for its heightened ‘livability’ factors… was the next destination ! All the preambles to Vancouver and its environs were not only justified but well merited…the city has delightful overtones and undercurrents of British and European influences…is large hearted in its welcome to nationalities of all denominations…is comfortable in accepting international languages resonate in its metropolis …and is truly home to very many, whose passport country originally was not Canada! What it brings home…in homes very far from what often still remains ‘home’ in one’s heart…is a gracious and warm welcome…an unusual commodity these days! 

 The beauty of its surroundings is in turn soothing and breathtaking…quite idyllic…and ideal for walking! It nearly succeeded in turning this non-walker into one who actually enjoyed this activity…nearly! This trip also helped establish a more personal and much appreciated and heartwarming contact with a fellow blogger! Meeting with so many younger members of my family in this far away land from ours…brought home forcefully the extent to which our family alone is helping the TCK family’s burgeoning numbers! Above all…it was spending time with so many loved ones in this beautiful city…celebrating this togetherness with good times of love…laughter…gluttony…shared memories…that helped make it the blessing par excellence that it was…

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An Open Mind…

A fellow blogger very wisely reiterated the reminder that…a mind not open to other’s thoughts and ideas is a great tragedy. This is I think one of life’s major challenges…one that is sadly gaining traction in the inability to give the other the benefit and respect of listening with an open mind to their beliefs…opinions…perspectives…Choices…because we have forgotten that…minds like  parachutes, work best when open…

I do believe that to operate from a paradigm of an open…receptive…unbiased…and compassionate mind is definitive on so many levels and enables one to give life a meaning that is not always possible otherwise. It is important to give significance to our lives by giving importance to and valuing the  lives of others…this is not always easy,  but then, very few things worth doing are! Morals of excellence are created by showing tolerance in personal spaces between ourselves…as also creating spaces in the political and religious discourse…using the power of the heart as well as the power and depth of the mind. To respond intelligently, with humility, tolerance and kindness…is justice, the firmest pillar of society….to wax indignant, harboring justifiable feelings of resentment…prejudice…superiority… is so much easier but lacks developing the incomparable potential that is an inherent part of human nature and  embedded in everyone’s soul like a shared DNA…

The Good Lord works in mysterious ways and this last week just as this was on my mind..I found myself in positions that needed all this and more on the table…I met a friend after a long time…the path and choices of her personal journey of growth has been one that has not always  been easy to understand…accept or wrap my mind around…it is still hard…but it has been her journey and one that now seems to have brought her a sense of inner peace…it gives me a warm sense of comfort for her…I also heard a scholar whose  erudition…knowledge…sagacity…is praiseworthy…just one I find hard to relate to…his impact on others is significant…even whilst I find it difficult to comprehend! What is apparent thereof is that the paths to personal evolvement…growth…understanding…learning… and the curve it takes, are not just varied but also sometimes incomprehensible to our understanding…that does not make them wrong…just different…the difference often being the ability not to jump to make harsh judgement calls for things…opinions…views…lifestyles…choices which are difficult to comprehend and relate to…because it is only together, with everyone contributing in the firm belief that we can make a difference…that we do…

 Voltaire said…I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it…that may sound a  bit dramatic…but what a lot of wisdom that line carries…

Riches of the head and heart…

The mind is quite incredible in it’s capacity to store what we call, a ‘mind boggling’ amount of data…it sometimes feels that there will be an overload breakdown with the barrage of memories…ideas…information…impressions…thoughts…emotions…reactions and all their related responses…but the Lord be praised…there is no memory enhancing requirement, the one we have continues to absorb…store…delete…process with no real problem or outside help…most of the time! As someone wrote to me…memory is truly an amazing gift…

However, with all this data on tap, sometimes it seems that there is nothing to write about…which is an arrogance based notion of wanting the ‘big idea’ to discuss…the ‘clever thought’ to expound upon…the ‘complex emotion’ to deconstruct…whereas all we really need to do is to look around us…take in…remember…feel…and let it all wash over us in the warmth and thankfulness of the little and simple pleasures of life…and our memories…

Oftentimes, all that is really required for me is to let the joy of walking in the  garden bring back it’s own host of treasured memories. The garden has always had a special place in our home whilst growing up, as well as with our own children, and a flood of memories are associated with it…in particular and especially, memories of the regular and traditional evening Tea in the garden with my parents…this was always a special and magical time of the day…a time of unspoken but deeply felt love and family ties…with friends and family often joining us because my parents being in the garden at that time was a given….an almost unacknowledged comfort factor at that time for so many of us…the laden trolley and trays of traditional tea fare and their favorite Earl Grey tea were staples…Mother always seemed to have arranged for an unending stream of goodies to cater to all those joining us…the enthusiastic discussions…the sound of abandon and laughter…Father’s wise ways with words and discourses which always brought young and old around him…the grandchildren lost in their own games and play area till the need for that extra slice of cake or samosa brought them to us…the boisterous cries of the boys busy at their cricket practice, confident that the next world champ was right here in the making, since grandfather and the uncles had all played for their schools and universities….the call to prayer breaking up the group for a short while…the children wanting to linger outside as long as possible thereby delaying the return to a schedule…good times, great memories…I am overwhelmed once again at the abundance and pleasure of memories that makes the whole such an absolutely incredible package…untold riches of the head and heart…

The dots that connect…

My granddaughter read my last post and said with a reluctant air of disappointment…but it is mostly about mum! Children have this precious gift of saying it like it is…not hiding their feelings…no camouflaging…no masking…which is a refreshing…upfront…laying it on the line…an oft much needed breath of fresh air in this world of ours, when we often say one thing…mean another…posture…whilst inwardly flinching…lay it on thickly…well aware of the hypocrisy of it all…

Yes…being in my daughter’s home does beam the focus more on her…my first born…but what I have to get my very dear first born grandchild to understand is…that every relationship has it’s own special place…and the emphasis…focus…accent on any one, does not in the least take away from the other! This does however, more often than not, need the experience of age and years to fully comprehend…letting this understanding and realization wash over you without leaving any residue of an unintentional slight!

Spending time with my grandchildren is a blessing…a gift that I feel strongly about. Physical distances have put us in parts of the world that does not always give me the opportunity or chance to be more of a part of their world and I feel I have lost out on having been part of the process of their growing and formative years…our changed and changing lifestyles…relocations to different climes and lands…just pure and simply more insular and distant homesteads…have led to these changed and evolving relationships…that deprive and divest us all, of the love…care…interaction…time…happiness and dare I say…wisdom…that elders of families have imparted over the years…in more communal type of family environments…

The relationship with grandparents is a very special bond…those of us who have had the privilege and good fortune to have been closely favored by this bond…understand that we have been fortunate and blessed…and so this time that I have together with my grandchildren has to be used optimally…snatching every moment together in the very rushed and incredibly busy work schedule children these days are wont to have…making sure they understand and believe their all-important place in a grandparent’s heart and life…to make them totally secure in the knowledge of their place in the circle of life and love, one I believe is further boosted and supported by the fact that they are truly…the dots that connect one generation to another…

A favorite passage from the Bible for A precious Granddaughter

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

A precious Granddaughter…

From a little girl so very small…how and when did you get so tall?

This line fits my granddaughter, my first born’s first born, to a tee, as she now towers over both of us! It is her 16th birthday today…thoughts of where and how the time flew by come rushing in, as also a host of wonderful…precious…joyous…memorable….memories of this journey…

My first grandchild…a beautiful baby whom I was loath to set down…in spite of endless comments of how I was spoiling her…the joy and wonder of holding her for the first time…the miracle of creation leaving you awestruck at it’s infinite grace and mercy…the smiles that melted your heart…the wonder of hearing her first take your name…the joy of dressing her up…seeing her grow, sometimes all too fast…carrying innumerable pictures of her and being the painfully proverbial proud grandmother…precious memories of playing together…sharing secrets…late night whisperings…pride at her warmth, thoughtfulness and love…delight at her laughter and special charm…blissfully understanding that grandchildren are truly the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation…

The sense of completion…at seeing my daughter fulfilling all her roles with so much…patience…tenderness…wisdom…love and ease…coming full circle in the deep love that is channeled from my child to hers…comes with the prayer to see it continue through ensuing generations…with gratitude for this blessing…because daughters and granddaughters are blessings from above…to cherish and love…and dare I say…compensations from God for growing old! The prayer is that my young granddaughter on the threshold of a different stage in life, will be able to dream all her dreams…make worthy goals of them…and make a difference…nurture strenght of spirit…compassion and a sense of right…take kindly the counsel of experience…and know that this comes with much love and prayers on her special day, to celebrate the gift of “her” to us…above all to always remember that…

                         What we are is God’s gift to us…

                         What we make of ourself is our Gift to God…

When you thought I wasn’t looking…

I returned ‘home’ a couple of days ago…our family home where I now live alone…and as always, the first…unconscious…spontaneous expectation…is to see my parents there…waiting for me…but that was a long time ago now! A flood of memories…happy…blessed…joyous…filled with laughter and comfort come rushing in uninvited…before reality steps in and the journey of life continues!

This poem is so apt for my parents as for so many others…I was blessed to have had their unselfish…unflinching…unconditional love, care and understanding…it is dedicated to them…with the prayer that my children too will discover that this heartfelt poem is a celebration of the beautiful bond we share together…reminiscence about the little things in life…think that this was written for them and me as a reflection of the content of our hearts…

Finding and reading this poem at this particular time seems coincidental…but there are no coincidences…only the Good Lord’s love and grace in our time of need…

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You hung my first painting on the refrigerator

And I wanted to paint another.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You fed a stray cat

And I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You baked a birthday cake just for me

And I knew that little things were special things.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You said a prayer

And I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You kissed me good-night

And I felt loved.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

I saw tears come from your eyes

And I learned that sometimes things hurt—

But that it’s alright to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You smiled

And it made me want to look that pretty too.

When you thought I wasn’t looking

You cared

And I wanted to be everything I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking—

I looked . . .

And wanted to say thanks

For all those things you did

When you thought I wasn’t looking.

Mary Rita Schilke Korzan.

Sisters…

It is said…that of two sisters, one is always the watcher, the other the dancer! I have watched my younger sister dance away…often with reckless abandon…and always loved it…and her! She has also led many of us who love her…with unfaltering tenderness…on merry and fun filled dances…and we have all loved her for it…often, when it was over though!

On this birthday of hers…after many years…due to a travel destination that did not allow this…we have not spoken. I have missed it badly, I know she has too…because sisters know why you are as you are…and accept it…because, sisters know the original text! You may grow up to be different…and people may sometimes say…”You are sisters? Really!” Yes…really! Really, because we are bound by a common past…common ground…common territory…the thread of umpteen shared experiences…shared memories…a shared history…same prejudices that carry echoes of mother’s voice…a mutual knowledge of the intuitive, unspoken kind…all of these forge a strong, interwoven and emotional link, a link that transcends differences and often outlasts just about every other relationship! Marriage, husbands may come and go…death of parents…children often and eventually go away…friends lose touch, move away…the one thing that is never lost, is your sister…she is always around…a confidante…best friend…ally…”losing touch” is generally not an issue…

A sister is a gift to the heart…a friend to the spirit…a golden thread to the meaning of life…sisters are connected throughout their lives by an extraordinarily strong and special bond…truly, a blessing par excellence….

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