Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2

Power of love and togetherness of a bygone era 🙂

Tapestry of Life & Soul

By Bhuvi M

Continuing from Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

One day, while cleaning up old stuff from the cupboards we found a large family picture taken on the occasion of my grandfather’s Tilak ceremony (A ceremony of formal engagement). And gleefully she explained who was who in the 12”X10” black & white photograph, which had approximately fifty odd people from the extended family. The groom sitting in the front row with the kids on the carpet and her grandfathers sitting in most important chairs in the family photograph session, we kids couldn’t stop smiling and asked her, “दादीजी, दादाजी तो बच्चों के साथ बैठे हैं I दूल्हे को तो कुर्सी पर बैठना चाहिए था I” (Grandma, grandfather is sitting with kids. The groom should have been seated on the chair)

She used to happily explain the way my grandfather had collected a box full of gifts…

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My Head Yields

By Bhuvi M

I met her for the first time on a sultry summer afternoon. She was sitting in the couch and trying to read. Her face revealed a different story. In her thoughts she was wandering somewhere distant. Seeing me in the room, she kept the book aside. I sat in the sofa across her.

I asked her, “Will you like to have some tea or coffee?”

She said, “No nothing. I just need your help?”

I asked “What brings you here?”

She tried speaking, “I don’t want to lose my battle of life.”

I could hear a single line though incessant sobs and incoherent voice. Offering a glass of cold water, I asked her to make comfortable in the couch. After taking a sip of water she tried speaking again.

Her eyes over brimmed with tears, she choked again, in her semi audible voice she said, “I’m shattered, I’ve lost so much, I’ve nothing to look forward to in life. I need your help. I don’t want to let it go so easily”

Sure, I said. “I’m here to help you. You need to tell me what issues are you facing?”

She asked, “Can I see one of you today itself? My concerns are complicated. It will be helpful if I meet someone senior.”

I said, “I’ll have to assess you today, discuss your areas of concern with the panel then one of us will get attached to you. We will then help you in baby steps. Someone from office will call you up and fix a session for you next week. The sessions for today are already booked.”

She said, “I don’t know if I’ll survive. I’ve no one around. I can’t share things at home.”

I said, “Let’s talk. You will feel better. We will find out a way.”

She started speaking. She mentioned that she had comes from a very renowned, rich educated family, has been a good student, is single, has worked for more than one and a half decade, has achieved everything with an effort, lost her job twice in two years, has seen her own share of life, has recently lost her father, is not working at the moment, has no one to look up to, has lost in relationships, always wanted to marry but couldn’t till now, with time it is becoming more difficult, there is no sense of achievement from any quarter.

“It’s complex,” she said, “so many of things at the same time. Don’t know where to begin with.”

I asked, “What is the immediate trigger which brings you to us.”

She choked and said, “It’s complicated. I need to resolve it. I can’t take it anymore. My head yields.”

A clear case in need of psychological counseling, I promised her to meet next week. I said, “Hope you are able to sleep. Just hold on for a few more days. We will start the session next week”

She nodded her head, wiped her tears and tried giving me a smile. She was attractive, with very sharp features, more than an average Indian girl. We ended this first meeting with a promise to meet coming week. And here started a long term association with one of the most wonderful people I’d come across in life. May God bless her and keep her peace intact is my wish straight from heart.

Dhruv Tara (Pole Star) & Me – Part 2

By Bhuvi M

Continuing from Dhruv Tara (Pole Star) & Me – Part 1

Then it was tryst with “Lessons from Science”; understanding of solar system, suns, stars, planets, constellations and milky ways. I understood those stars were distant suns that had their own set of planets as our solar system. The context of imaginations changed. I started imagining earth-like life on some of those planets. Then how the inhabitants of those planets would look like; were they tiny people from “Gulliver’s Travels” or varied creatures from “Alice in Wonderland” or giants as big as eighty times as we or yet people with single eye and eight arms. My questions remained unanswered and fascination of staring stars continued.

Later these stars & constellations became a useful tool to identify directions. Being a member of Bharat Scouts & Guides at school, I was trained how to use constellations to identify Pole Star that always shined in north. If one is lost in an unknown territory, in absence of a compass to identify direction, we can use Pole Star in night to find our way. The Great Bear or Ursa Major constellation helped in identifying Pole Star (Polaris). Start from the last star of the tail of Ursa Major towards the body; three stars of the tail and two of the body form an arch like shape when joined together with lines. Rest two stars of the body are left aside. Join these two standalone stars by a separate straight line. Extend this straight line in the direction of the convex side of arch formed by joining other five stars of constellation. Pole star falls on this extended straight line. The distance between the constellation and Pole Star is approximately five time of the distance between two stars from which straight line originated. To re-verify if Pole Star is rightly identified use The Little Bear or Ursa Minor. Pole Star is the last star of the tail of this constellation. Ursa Minor is replica of Ursa Major, a less brighter one and smaller. Identification of the Pole Star for the first time was a learning experience. I understood it was not the brightest star in the sky. 🙂

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The constellations are on move (rather the Earth is on move). There are times in year The Great Bear can’t be located in the sky. This time starts in beginning of November. In such times identify “Cassiopeia” constellation or “W” star to locate Pole Star. A group of five stars of this constellation forms a structure like “W” alphabet of English, hence this name. Both Vs of “W” have varied angles. Bisect the larger angle with a straight line. This straight line when extended directly reaches Pole Star.

Ah!! this was a happy star gazing time for me. I’m still to try it with a telescope, but watching the starry sky with naked eye has its own charm. Since I left my sleepy town for higher studies and a career; this fun, learning, exploring stopped. It is missed. I wish to catch up on it very next time I’m in a countryside, village or camping on a hilly terrain. The simplicity of this activity can’t be felt in the Planetariums….. an activity spruced and spiced up with grandma’s stories, will be missed by new generation.

Happy Stargazing!!!!

Dhruv Tara (Pole Star) & Me – Part 1

By Bhuvi M

Sometimes back I was discussing hobbies and interests with a recent acquaintance and spurt she came up “Gazing Stars”. This one phrase somersaulted me back to my growing up school days in a sleepy town. Putting my emotions at bay, I popped up with a few questions. What was so fascinating about it this activity? Was she able to identify a few stars and constellations? Was this activity just a fun or has some relevance too? She asked me, why was I asking so.

This is an activity best done in a small town, village or countryside where we get an opportunity to explore the sky in quiet darkness of night. Fun, imagination, learning, disaster management are all rolled into one activity. I recalled my childhood days spent in my hometown with frequent power cuts. Inverter yet to come into existence and generators not always available or practical; I got ample occasions to spend on the terrace and courtyard of our huge house.

Staring the starry sky with naked eye is quite a fun. My childhood brain had array of imaginations. At times the dark sky appeared to me as big bowl with stars as pearls scattered in it. Another moment it seemed as if it was God’s house decorated with twinkling lights and there was celebrations going on. He watched and safeguarded us from there. At yet another they were our ancestors who became stars and watched us each day. Still another stars of Saptarishi (The Great Bear or Ursa Major constellation) were seven sages of Hindu mythology transformed to permanency as stars in heaven by God. For me the sky was a synonym of heaven.

“Saptarishi” is formed from two words in Sanskrit; “Sapt” as seven and“Rishi” as sage and hence seven sages. The name of seven sages was told numerous times by my Grandparents. I could never remember all the names then. It was tough for a child’s brain to remember all these names and no exams were conducted on Hindu mythology. They were Attri, Bhardwaj, Gautam, Jamadagni, Kashyap, Vashishth & Vishwamitra. A small star, little less in brightness very close to one of these seven stars was sage Durvasa who was not included initially in the constellation because of his anger. (This is the story as told in my area and can’t be verified through scriptures) He was included as eighth one upon his request to God. Hence it shined less. Another version said, the eighth less shining star was Arundhati, wife of sage Vashishth. She was included in the constellation because of her virtues and was placed close to her husband. Pole Star or Dhruv Tara was Dhruv a little prince son of king Uttanpad. Little Dhruv was thrown out from his father’s lap by his stepmother Suruchi. Dhruv meditated hard to Lord Vishnu. He converted Dhruv to brightest star and gave a permanent lap and thrown in God’s kingdom. I understood that Dhruv tara or Pole star shined brightest in the sky only to realize later my learning was not right.

Continued at Dhruv Tara (Pole Star) & Me – Part 2

Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2

By Bhuvi M

Continuing from Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

One day, while cleaning up old stuff from the cupboards we found a large family picture taken on the occasion of my grandfather’s Tilak ceremony (A ceremony of formal engagement). And gleefully she explained who was who in the 12”X10” black & white photograph, which had approximately fifty odd people from the extended family. The groom sitting in the front row with the kids on the carpet and her grandfathers sitting in most important chairs in the family photograph session, we kids couldn’t stop smiling and asked her, “दादीजी, दादाजी तो बच्चों के साथ बैठे हैं I दूल्हे को तो कुर्सी पर बैठना चाहिए था I” (Grandma, grandfather is sitting with kids. The groom should have been seated on the chair)

She used to happily explain the way my grandfather had collected a box full of gifts for her before their marriage. The box was safely tucked away from the family in some inaccessible corner of store room, till my great grandmother accidentally found the treasure trove and my grandfather had to spill the beans how he got money for the articles. He worked extra apart from his regular job of working in the business with my great grandfather to earn more for gifts. He was never paid a salary from the family business and he did not dare to ask money from his father for buying gifts for his fiancée. She told us the stories of the time of her newly married life and my grandfather used to feel a bit awkward and often requested her to resist. But she was on with revisiting the past, her love with glint in her eyes as newly wed and happiness she derived from being loved unconditionally.

At most of the times my grand parents complemented each other in qualities. She took care of him and he pampered her with gifts and all the things she needed. She was a great cook and cooking was her passion; he ensured that the kitchen supplies were in place. On the other hand, my grandfather was great at his networking skills and popular in the social circles; that reflected in endless list of guests who relished food cooked in my grandmother’s kitchen. They took annual trips with each other till a few years of my parent’s marriage. He stood firmly as a solid rock behind her in all situations and I never ever saw him rebuking or pointing out to her publicly even if she was wrong on certain points. Really don’t know if he did that in private. The respect they gave each other was commendable; always saw them addressing as “अहाँ (Aahan in the local dialect maithili is आप / aap in hindi)” The space both of them gave to each other was building block for this love story that unfolded through more than six decades.

As kids we loved to play colors on Holi, without being aware of the pain my grandfather went through and the annoyance he had on this festival. He had lost his mother on the day of Holika Dhahan (Choti Holi or Sammad as it is called in our region). My great grandmother passed away in an advanced age; like anyone of us parents are parents at whatever age you lose them. I remember him yelling at us for spilling color all over the house each year. As always my grandmother reacted to this, “बच्चें हैं, रंग तो खेलेंगे ही I आप बेकार में गुस्सा होते हैं I माताजी का उम्र हो गया था तो उनको तो जाना ही था I” (Kids will play with colors. You are getting angry uselessly. Mother in law was aging and her leaving was natural), firmly standing against the man who loved her unquestionably. She never had slightest inkling that she too will leave for heavenly abode on the very same day as her mother in law. After her demise my grandfather could not survive even a year. A man so strong, I’d never seen him shedding tears in my life, which he did silently in ten odd months of survival without his childhood friend and love. He passed away just after ten months of the demise of grand mom.

This is a tribute to my grandparent’s love-story, with whom I shared more than two beautiful decades of my life. Quite often I’m being co-related a lot to my grand mom in physique, attitude and attribute. At times my father questioned, if I was his mom. Great resemblance though….but I still don’t have such a love story that she had and with complete confidence I know will have one some day.

For all those who believe in power of love… it really brings all the sugar and spice to life.

Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 1

By Bhuvi M

My Grandparents were married at a young age when my grandfather was just eighteen and grandmother all of twelve years. The age at which they were married had been a topic of discussion for both of them all through their lives. My grandmother’s version was sixteen and ten years respectively. I took my grandfather’s version; he was the one who was more mature to remember the right age and an educated person who had later became a successful businessman so in all faith I had to believe that he recalled right numbers.

Exact date and year of their marriage was never mentioned and debated upon. Celebrating anniversaries had not been a culture at home in those days. Based on calculation of my father’s age and approximate years into the marriage after which my father was born, we could roughly calculate that their marriage lasted for close to six and a half decades, with real terms “till death do us apart”. In those sixty some years, they grew up from childhood to adolescent and then adults; playing, caring for each other and sharing the responsibility of a huge joint family where they were the eldest son & daughter in law and also eldest daughter & son in law.

Both of them had different personalities; can’t be called poles apart but yes they had their own share of differences. Grand pop more reserved, less vocal, conforming to rules, strict, completely no nonsense, non approachable, traditional male of large joint hindu household and grand mom was peppy, talkative, easy going, could indulge in long conversation on some hush-hush topics, tom boyish, liberal in outlook, fond of movies  (I’d watched some worst, Zeenat Amaan movies with her which people would have not thought of watching with their parents) and a strict advocate of education. I still remember her telling us, “बउआ, यह पढ़ाई है जो सिर्फ तुम्हारी है I इसको न चोर चोरी कर सकता है, न भाई बाँट सकता है I कितना भी बांटोगे ज्ञान सिर्फ बढ़ता है I यह पढाई ही इंसान को मज़बूत बनाता है और हौसला देता है I” (Baua (a way of addressing younger in the family) only knowledge is your own. Neither thief can steal it nor it can be divided between brothers. If you distribute knowledge, it increases. It strengthens the individual and gives confidence) I knew that she was different and she was the one to whom any one in the family approached in distress. Even not knowing the situation and the solution for the same she used to say, “Have faith in you and be positive, everything will be OK.” This was re-instilling “Aall izzz well” situation. That is what was expected from the senior of the family to pep up kids when they were low and confused; just required someone to re-instill their belief in themselves. In my brother’s words, she was the most beautiful lady he had seen; yes she was, eloquent, elegant, regal and royal in all ways.

Continued at Love Story of Unparallel Times – Part 2