Friday, April 29, 2011

To The Most Wonderful Man I Have Known. With Love.

A year ago I lost the man who had been the biggest and best constant in my life. Mere words aren't enough to describe how amazing a person he was. Still, we tried to him justice.

My grandfather's eulogy, written by cousin Scribbler and myself. 

Most of us who are here are here because we knew my grandfather --- whether as L, or uncle, or Irmao, or Padrin, or Mr M, 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 journey 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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Attention Star Deck. Mission De Cloak has been a Success!

She walked briskly up the street and over the hill. There was a stunning vision of architecture all around, but she was blind to it all; her entire focus was on getting to the meeting place. Hurry, hurry! she said to her companion. We musn't be late! He gave her a bemused smile and pointed out that they were well within time, but she waved him away impatiently and skipped along just a little bit quicker.

The thoughts were rushing through her head at lightening speed, always coming back to one nagging thought. What if she doesn't like me?

They got to the pub and she stepped in, tentatively looking around. A slim girl with laughing eyes got up and approached her. Pixy? I'm Wynie!  They hugged, looked at each other, burst out laughing and hugged madly again while their respective companions looked on. Introductions all around - pausing to clarify real names - and more hugging!

And just like that, everything fell into place.

In reality, there was no real need for introductions since they already knew almost everything about each other! It was just one brief evening, but it was filled with fun and laughter in the company of some amazing people.

Later, when said goodnight and turned back for one last hug, she knew it wasn't really that it was going to be goodbye. This was the continuation of a beautiful friendship.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dungeons, Dragons and other major Distractions

If there is anyone out there in blogland who is still tuning in to this space and wondering what rock I am trapped under, then the answer is this; I'm besotted. Smitten. Infatuated even!

My friend Wookie introduced me to a fantasy series about a month ago and I have gotten wholly engrossed in this world of politics and plots, epic battles and the constant struggle for characters to outwit each other and stay alive in the dark and dangerous world of Westeros. George R. R Martin's first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series was first published in 1996 and since then three subsequent books have been released which have all gone on to being roaring successes. The highly anticipated fourth book is due for release this July.

What started out as taking up a friend on a reading suggestion, has now turned into an obsession for me. Always a fan of fantasy and fascinated with the ideas of parallel worlds and the likes, this series has finally met my craving for a story on a large enough scale with characters that are varied and amazingly multidimentional. As fond as I am of Tolkein and the LOTR series, I am want to despair at the firm lines that he has drawn between the "Good" and the "Evil". In the case of non human species such as the Orcs and Uruk-hai, that were created by evil for the purpose of evil, it is fine. But with the human characters, I wish there was more depth and dimensions. The Good remain Good and the Bad remain Bad throughout with no hope for redemption for one or slip ups from the other.

Here though, I find myself questioning the value of characters imbibing the very virtues I had initially admired them for, just a few chapters ago. Other characters, who at first glance show repulsive personalities have later revealed sterner, more morally staunch sides. And most of all, the "Good guys" are not allowed to live simply because they are the good guys. Sometimes, with the turn of a page a beloved character is felled.

Such is the world of Westeros. I have been ensnared in this trap of rabid reading, and the only way out is to devour every word of every line of all the books. Pray that I make it to the other side!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

In Which the Author Gains a Modicum of Legitimacy

And what I'm really trying to say with that very cryptic title is:


The article that I submitted back in February was accepted and the issue is just out. The editor sent over a PDF version of the story to me and they've used some of my photographs to accompany the piece. So, well chuffed with that.

There's just one patch of cloud to gloom up my otherwise sunny day and that is because of some edits they did to my title and bi line - sans permission. My original submission was: Bonnie Scotland - Lifting back the Veil of the Tartan Curtain.

That got changed to: Bonnie Scotland. Scotland is not just about whiskey and bagpiper. There is much more to it, says *my name*

Badly worded, miss spelled and grammatically incorrect. With MY NAME attached to the end of it! The cheek! And the horror! Am so worried that people are going to take one look at that title and bi line and not bother to read any further. Oh dear. 

So right now, I'm trying to focus on the being published part and not bothering about the rest. Each time I feel bad about the cock up, I log in to my online bank account and look fondly at the money in there that's payment for the same. It does help take away the sting a whole lot. 

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