Wednesday, April 12, 2006


There are a few times in your life that you pause and examine your gory past.

One such definite time is when the mortality deals you a kisami Zuki (or front jab) and smiles at you. I recently went past yet another birthday and I realize perhaps I will have less years to live than I have lived thus far - I used this to joke with a young pup: "You folks sleep walk through life having no idea if you are going or coming; alteast, us blokes are sure, we are going" !

The other triggers for introspection is when you are conscious of what you profess now as to what you did when you were much younger; the kind where you elevate yourself from the scene and look at the situation right on the ground - say you as a respected man of standing (hopefully) have to advice the above-mentioned young-pups on taking responsibility; it was much like what I used to wonder - if ever Krishnamachari Srikkanth becomes the coach of the Indian cricket team - he was pretty close to that, coaching the India A team - what would he ever say to, someone like Dhoni or Sehwag ? That they need get behind the line ? Sometimes, to fess up the truth, I feel so surreal to be advising my neice on what the right thing is !! Anyways, I'm digressing (blame it on old-age)...

Third such moment of introspection is your existing relationship and your part in it; as against what it was when you were at a different stage of your life. In this canvas, I looked at my relationship with my growing son; As a father, I know how i feel about him. This combined with my own mortality and perhaps my father's mortality - made me look back at my father's relationship with me...

To understand that better, we need to rewind a bit more. I've an older (really old, if you are reading this :) ) sister... In my dad's family of 4 siblings, she was the first kid in the extended and joint family - hence immediately adopted by all my dad's siblings and my grandparents as the princess. When she was born, it was not only a successful launch of a new product, it was a successful product also. If the legend has it right, the eco-system that revolved around that small house in chennai seemed to revolve around and for her - the hand-rickshaw-wallah, the opposite petty shop, and if i were to believe some stories, even weather in Chennai those days. So you get the picture - she was the darling of all and everyone. Then several years later, I happend. Forget it, I wasn't even Dravid's 180 to Laxman's 281. I was the opener's score in that match - do you recall who he was ? Do you recall what his score was ? My point exactly.

So as we grew, thing changed. For the better for my sister and for the worse for me. She actually studied much better than everyone else and first in the family to get into professional (medical) college. I was actually getting better at what I had embarked on - that is being the worst student of the class and kind of settled down in the last quarter of the class in my middle school. For my dad, who believed (past tense, since I suspect experience has changed him now) that getting to be a meritorius student is the ultimate for any growing kid, it was a pefect foil that my sis was feeding him. I, languishing where I was in the class, had no locus standi to convince him otherwise; for merely it would be an excuse - not that I had anything else in some field to show for. So I kind of settled for the 9th place in the two-person race vying to be the favourite in the family. Forget the game, like they say, I wasn't even in the same ground; forget the ball-park, I wasn't in the same league. I was collecting ducks playing street cricket, whereas my sis was scoring 100s in test matches. It was that contrasting.

With that being the background, some 20 years later, my son came along. I do know how I feel about him; and that made think - could it have been the same for my father ? At such an intersection (some call it cross-roads) of age and my feeling for my son, I paused and looked back. As I introspected, one incident stands out.

I think i was in the 9th or 10th standard and we were living in Bangalore. There was this guest from some other town, who had come home and wanted to go to Whitefield to meet the Godman, Sri Satya Sai Baba. He had asked me to accompany him to the ashram; the plan was to leave our house at 6AM, ride down to whitefield and have Sai Baba's darshan (at 6.45AM). He had also borrowed my dad's scooter to get there. As we started, the guest of ours, not perhaps used to riding a vespa, did not engage the clutch right - the scooter reared up like an horse on hindlegs. In any case, we did reach the whitefield ashram, but had just missed the morning darshan. Our guest decided to stay till the 9AM darshan, see the Baba and return. We did so and returned to our house around 10AM. The guest parked the scooter, gave the key to me and left.

As I went upstairs to my house, my mom told me that seeing how our guest was driving the scooter, my dad was very worried, specifically seeing how our guest had driven the scooter. To add fuel to the fire, since we were to return after the 6.45AM darshan and we had not returned yet, my dad had gone out searching for us. After about 10 min later, my dad comes into the house, sees me. I clearly recall now - the scene is right in front of my eyes - he holds my hand for what seemed a long time and there are tears in his eyes.

I realised then, perhaps transiently; and i realize now, the truth - although, my sister was (or is) his favourite and he may have liked my sister more, he loved us both - equally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brother dear,( I have ignored your dig on my age! Anyways four years
older is not THAT ANCIENT!) I am glad you realised/accepted, something that I always knew - that our dad loves us both equally.
Even now he is unsettled, sleepless til you reach your destination
during your various trips abroad.
Are we fortunate? YES!