Monday, May 31, 2010

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Perhaps spurred into action by Aunty's choice remarks last week, Beans messaged me at work last Sunday. He knew it was my last shift doing customer service at one of the shopping centres in central G Town. Wanna get some ice cream? went the text.

Being a lovely and totally un G Town like day (i:e bright and sunny and warm), we took our ice creams and headed down to the river for a walk. We settled down on a patch of grass and there in the sunshine, Beans asked me if I'd like to try dating again.

At this point Dear Reader, you need to know some back story. I had thought Beans to be dating someone back in Feb. Turns out, it was A date and that was it. She told me herself, ironically at the next charity event when we met. She hadn't known about me and Beans at all, still doesn't as I kept my mouth shut. Beans and I had been on cordial terms for a long time. Occassionally we would meet up for a movie or dinner or something that sounded like a date, but really wasn't. Yes, there was sex from time to time. Not regular and not often, but sometimes it happened. Please don't judge me, I am merely human.

Bottom line, things were actually quite good between us.

And then he drops this bombshell. I was uncharacteristicly quiet as I considered the question. six months ago, I would have jumped at the chance of a reunion, but now I wasn't so sure. I had finally found myself in a good place; rather a better place than the bog I was struggling in ever since last September. Convinced that the doorway leading to a relationship had been slammed shut forever, I had tried so hard to work on maintaining a semblance of a friendship between us. After all, it wasn't possible to totally cut off ties. We had too many friends in common and our paths were always going to keep crossing socially.

When I gave my answer, it was a guarded one. I did agree to try again, but I also stipulated that if we were going to date, it would have to be something that we both worked on. We would need to try and truly include the other in our lives and yes, the dating would have to be exclusive. Beans agreed to it all.

I met him briefly last Thursday, the evening before I left for my holiday. There dídn't seem to be anything amiss. Then today, I get back from a totally lovely day of sighseeing with my friend, open up my email and find this waiting for me:

As you know, our relationship has been over for quite some time now and has
been purely physical since then. I've really enjoyed the times we've spent alone
together. I'm really sorry, but, on Friday I met someone and I think I've got a
chance to make a go of it. Although I don't want to exclude you from my life, I
don't think its a good idea that we continue the relationship we've been having
until recently. I hope you understand where I'm coming from as I think this is
for the best and the last thing I want to do is hurt you.

Reader, HOW could I have let myself get fooled yet again? And dammit.... couldn't he have waited just a few more days so that I would at least have a decent holiday?

*shakes head sadly*

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In Memoriam

Today marks a month since Papa passed away. My family will be gathering together, both in Canada and in Bombay to pay respects to him. I am away, a wanderer off on my own. There is no family near by to seek out. Instead, I share these thoughts and words with you Dear Reader; you who have become such an important part of my life and most certainly as close as a family.

Below is the eulogy written for Papa. I had written the original outline and my cousin cleaned it up a bit and added in some of her thoughts as well. She read it out on our behalf at the funeral mass. I hope that through our words you too can share in the spirit of this incredible man.

Most of us who are here are here because we knew my grandfather --- whether as Lauriano, or uncle, or Irmao, or Padrin, or Mr Mendonca, or Daddy, or Papa. Some of us will, indeed, remember him most vividly for pinching our cheeks really, really hard. So since we all know him, it hardly seems necessary to talk about him --- but perhaps this will help us relive some memories.

Ever since Thursday, when he left us, I have been thinking that I will never be privileged to meet a more gracious person than him. We all know that, despite not having much education, he took every opportunity for learning in establishing a career, moving up from being an accounting clerk at West End Watch co, to being the General Manager, the first non-white person to hold that position. But many of us will also know that along with this achievement, Papa never forgot his duty and responsibility to share his success with others and help them make their own successes and build their own futures.

He was such a kind man and a generous one. Generous to a fault maybe, always giving without counting the cost. But generous in giving materially as well as in spirit --- he forgave people who wronged him and didn't hold grudges.

Career apart, he was a wonderful family man --- a loving and loyal husband to Grana, a dutiful and caring son to his mother and mother-in-law, a good father, an affectionate grandfather. He may not have been a modern guy -- you would never see him carrying babies or changing diapers -- but he carried us all in his heart and did whatever he could to protect and nurture us.

He lived a full life in other senses as well. Many of us will remember how fond he was of reading, especially his favourite books, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Song of Bernadette. Some of us will also recall that he was quite a movie buff. And many of us would have enjoyed the fulfillment of his dream of having a house in the hills, at picnics and holidays in Khandala, the house he delighted in for more than 2 decades.

He enjoyed discussion and was quite opinionated, so that birthday parties sometimes seemed like meetings of the debating club. Without question, he was very stubborn -- a trait several of his children and grandchildren have inherited. But this stubbornness also helped him stand up for what he believed in and defend anyone he felt was being treated unfairly. He had such a solid sense of ethics.

We will miss his deadpan sense of humor, making unexpected jokes that were always memorable.

Above all, he was steadfast in his faith. He was devoted to Our Lady. At the end, even when he struggled to find the strength to speak, the words of the Hail Mary and the Angelus flowed freely.

Yes, he was gracious. Till the end, when he had become a man of very few words, those words often expressed concern, hospitality, gratitude. "Eat and go," "How is Mummy?" "Tell her not to worry," "Take care," Thank you, " "Kind regards, " and if you said you were going to visit, "Most welcome." These were the things he said most often. Whatever suffering he faced in the last year or so, he bore silently, without a moan or groan or a word of complaint or frustration. Till the end he was saying "Thank you" to his doctors and caregivers.

He was given to us by God for nearly 96 years. Yet it seems as if we got to walk only a few miles together. Still, I know I'm luckier than many who never knew their grandparents, for they had died or lived far away. And even as we know we'll miss him, and miss the second home that Grana and he made for us, we are thankful for that irreplaceable gift of Papa and the memories we have of him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Supper

Beans was over last night to dinner to say hello to Aunty and Uncle. He's known them for a number of years, Aunty especially who had made several trips to G Town when VBF was doing her Masters.

As we sat back after dinner, bellies bursting, Beans began to compliment Aunty on her amazing culinary skills and bemoaned the fact that she didn't visit often enough now, as she had done in the past.

Aunty mentioned that now that VBF was off living with the in-laws, it was harder to come visit as there wasn't any place she (or Uncle) could stay. My being here was just providential. Beans poo pooed her reasons stating that any time they wanted to visit, he had a spare room in his apartment and they were welcome there any time.

Sipping her cup of tea, Aunty smiled at Beans. Thank you my dear, she said. Staying at your house would be lovely. But whatever would I do if you suddenly tire of me and then ask me to leave?

Amid the spatter of badly muffled giggles Beans had the grace to blush. Aunty kept sipping her tea and settled back into the armchair. On the other side of the room Beans shuffled uncomfortably in his seat wondering if the the slight burning in his belly was from the spicy Indian food or from the dab of arsenic that Aunty *may* have dropped into his plate.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

May has been the worst month ever for blogging. Its not that there's nothing happening. In fact, just the contrary.

I've been working constantly and between the three jobs I literally haven't had a day off since the 8th and won't have one until the 25th! This is not a complaint though as I need every single penny that I can possibly earn.

In addition, VBF's parents' visit has been keeping busy. Although I've been at work and haven't really been able to hang out all that much, there's been an awful lot of time taken up with all the overladen dinners almost every night.

Prawn Pulao.
Chicken curry.
Spinach and potato bhaji.
Aloo tikkis.
Baingan bhajiyas.
Gobi bhaji.
Daal. So much daal.
Hot hot chapatis.

The list is endless. The kitchen has been turned into a culinary haven. And I'm too busy stuffing my face most every night to sit down and blog about it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Unadulterated Pleasure

My college pal returned to London last Friday morning and a mere 5 hours after he left, I was already welcoming round 2 of visitors!

VBF's parents are in town and staying at my place over the next two weeks. Although it may sound like chaos having someone else's parents over and having to give up your room (and bed) to them, trust me guys, I'm the one in the winning seat. Already, I'm reaping the benefits of their visit. Awesome home cooked meals wait for me every evening and a bunch of the little handy jobs that I had lined up but had been putting off for weeks, are all magically done!

Uncle D and Aunty P had asked me over and over what I would like from India and over and over I had replied nothing. It wasn't that I was being coy. I had just been to the Motherland a few months ago and had gotten everything that I needed/wanted. Besides, I did know that in true Indian parental style they would be loading up on gifts for VBF and her husband and her in-laws. So very firmly I told them NOT to bring me anything. Anything at all.

Fortunately, in equally true Indian parent style they didn't listen. And they brought me something so very special and so very welcome. Four whole Alphonso mangoes. Ripe and yummy and full of delicious golden loveliness.
If you've never had one, well mere words will just not be able to describe just how delicious and succulent these mangoes are; they're not called the king of all fruit for no reason. I have always imagined that the nectar of the Gods was perhaps made out of the juice of a ripe Alphanso mango.

Four mangoes. Four nights of unadulterated culinary pleasure. And yes, there were soft moans that accompanied each session.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

In Which the Author Realises One of her Life Dreams

It was exactly a week after Papa had died that I found myself back in Edinburgh. One of my college pals  was visiting Scotland and it was time to check out the capital city. Coincidentally, it was also the day I was scheduled to run a 3pm tour. My very first!

We got into Edinburgh early enough and as per my friend's request, we headed right for the castle where we wandered around for a few hours. I was both excited and nervous about the tour; I knew my script and had rehearsed it well. Whether or not I succeeded would depend on so many factors that were totally out of my control. Heck, at around 2:50 pm I was wondering if I would even get to run the tour since no one had showed up to the starting point.

Thankfully, there were a bunch of last minute shows and my first tour ran with a decent 14 tourists who thankfully were a nice and happy lot. My knees were knocking together so loudly during the introduction and I was so sure that everyone around could hear them as well! Still, the knees and my thumping heart both settled down soon enough to allow me to continue on with the tour with (hardly) any incident!

There was a nice round of applause at the end which led me to believe that they had enjoyed being on the tour just as much as I had enjoyed running it. The healthy tips that were thrust into my hands as I bid them farewell cemented the fact that tour #1 had indeed been a roaring success.

Time to check off another of the boxes on my bucket list!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...