Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tragic Leaps

On my evening walk, I spied a dog suckling her newborn pups. She looked so contented and indulgent, just like any new mother would. The beautiful pups, now playful, now hungry were frisky creatures with absolutely no care in the world. I wanted to pick up each one of them, cuddle them and even take a couple home. But the painful memories from my past stopped me.

  My father, a great lover of dogs and cats, used to pick up strays, put them in his cycle basket and bring them home, much to my mother's consternation. She too loved animals, but did not relish the idea of such unplanned addition to our family.
 Around that time, we had about 5 to 6 pups and equal number of kittens. The senior - most of the tribe was a majestic looking cat aptly named Rani, who had just wandered in, elected to stay, and delivered a litter of kittens.
 Our third floor flat in Lucknow was now overrun by yelping pups and mewing kittens scurrying all over the place. There was complete harmony in the household, however, as pups and kittens shared their meals from common bowls, never was there a fight requiring human intervention.
  Our four- legged friends had cute names: Balu was a rolly- polly fellow, with a very short tail. We all adored him and his antics. The fat one was Cheenu, with his tummy barely clearing the ground. He was always hungry, always eating. During short breaks from his meals he would condescend to play with us . Honey was the quiet type with a strong sense of loyalty. The pup with the Naamam ( the Vishnavite caste mark ) on his forehead was promptly named Namu.
   Behind our building was another block of flats, separated by a few feet. A long corridor running the length of our floor ended at a steel grilled shutter. The building opposite also had a corridor with a grilled shutter. The tenants there were from Kerala and often cooked fish. Rani the cat was in the habit of leaping across from our grilled corridor to theirs to have her fill of choice titbits.
   On a few occasions, we had even seen her clutch one kitten at a time in her mouth and leap across to the other side to introduce her off springs to coastal Malabar cuisine.
 The innocent pups and kittens who had watched this performance of Rani, tried one day to emulate her acrobatics when tragedy struck.
  My mother, after a tiring day, had dozed off one afternoon while reading a magazine. We were at school and my father had gone to the office. My mother woke up with a start to a great commotion from the lane separating the two buildings. She went around the flat, but could not find any of the pups and kittens. With her heart in her mouth, she rushed to the corridor, only to see our favorite Balu take the deadly leap, but instead of landing on the opposite corridor, he missed and plunged down three floors to his death - as had all his companions, minutes earlier.
   Our minds refused to believe this bizarre happening. We hated Rani for setting such a dangerous example for the innocents to follow. We hated ourselves even more for having failed to foresee such a possibility. This picture from 30 years ago of these tiny creatures falling to their death, lying battered and bloody, is vividly etched in my mind. It seems like only yesterday that I was fondling Balu, Honey and Namu
 My father still loves pups and kittens and I was really touched to see him revive a weak pup (separated from its mother) trying to feed milk with an ink filler. One can learn a lot from animals – especially to love unconditionally.
This is Toffee our dog who is almost 5 years old :  a really cute dog, loves to play football

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


One night a man had a dream. He dreamt he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints on the sand -- one belonging to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene had flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints and noticed only one set. He noticed it happened in the lowest and saddest times of his life.

This bothered him and he questioned the Lord. " Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you would walk all the way with me, but during the most troublesome times of my life there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed you most, you deserted me."

The Lord replied, " My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, those were the times when I carried you in my arms."

I came across this story many years ago, when I had a similar question to ask the Lord.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



                                                 Just as a huge cloud formation changes gradually, almost imperceptibly into another formation, that's how gradual the process of human transformation is.  For awhile you may not be able to detect anything different.  The changes are so small that the overall formation looks the same.  But gradually the shift will happen, until suddenly, the cloud is entirely different--- the person is entirely different.

The patterns of the clouds always fascinates me. These are some pictures taken during our recent trip. We did not take the pictures with the clouds in our minds, but they have come all by themselves to adorn  these pictures. I just love them, and I thought they looked quite good with this blog. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Guest story – I find my inspiration in myself

Guest story – I find my inspiration in myself
Please feel free to post your comments at  the above mentioned site itself in their comment box.
Thank you.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sridhar - My Brother

This is about my brother Sridhar whom I have never met.  Yet I don't know why I am so fond of him.  I have only seen his photographs, and heard so much about him from my father and my mother.  No matter how many times I hear about him, it never fails to move me to tears.

 This is the story of my brother, Sridhar.  He was the third child born to my parents.  He was beautiful as a child, dearly loved by my parents and his elder siblings.  One cannot blame my parents for loving  him so much, more than they loved their other children. But nobody complained for he was loved by the whole family.
  He was very happy, till came the time for his separation from his beloved family.  My parents were constantly troubled by the frequent transfers that my father's army job entailed.  So my father decided to leave the children in one place, so that their schooling would not be disrupted constantly.  My matrenal grandmother was living in Madras with her other children.  It was decided that  my elder sister would be left under her care, and was admitted in a good school there.  My father also felt that by sending money for the education and the upkeep of his daughter, he would also in a way lighten the strain on my grandmother's financial position at that time.  He wanted to help her in some way, without making it look obivious. (that granny being his own aunt - my father had married his own cousin)

 Now the two boys , that is my my elder brother Patcha and the younger Sridhar were sent to live with my father's elder sister, who was also struggling to make ends meet, having lost her husband at a young age.  She was also living alone in Madras at that time.  So the boys were entrusted to her care.
 My father now thought he had done a fine job by leaving his kids in responsible hands, and that, at the same time,  the money sent for their upkeep would also indirectly help his needy kin.  My mother, as usual was not happy, and she criticised my father, saying that, he always did things with ulterior motives.  But she could also appreciate and understand the difficulties the children were having to face, with their constant moving.  But a mother's love for her kids cannot be felt in equal measure by the man.  Therefore, for all practical reasons my mother had to give in.

  Things were going well for the first 2 years : the children had settled in their respective homes.  My mother had another baby girl, who was now about a year old.  My parents would visit my sister and my brothers during the summer.  Everytime they came visiting, my brother Sridhar would beg them to take him away with them, promising he would never trouble them in any way. With a heavy heart , they had to leave him behind after every visit.  The little baby girl was so cute with curly hair and beautiful eyes, that my brother was totally in love with that baby doll.  He would play with her, look at her with amazement, and would keep asking my mother how come she looked so beautiful and adorable. Again he would start begging them to take him along with them, now that he had such a lovely fairy like sister to play with.

 However his pleadings and entreaties had to be refused gently yet firmly.  My father was really moved by the compulsions that life had put him through, but also mindful of his childrens' future and welfare, he had to turn his heart to stone.  The time had finally come for my parents to say good bye, but before leaving, my father took both my brothers to a toy shop and asked them to take whatever they wanted. My elder brother said he wanted the whole shop, for he liked everything in it.   Sridhar, on the other hand held my father's hand tightly saying, he did not want any toys, he wanted only his appa, amma and his baby sister, and he wanted to go home with them. "Take me with you, take me with you", he started crying miserably.  After pacifying him with great difficulty, promising to take all of them back with him on his next visit, my father left for Bombay with my mother and my sister.  He could not bear the idea of his children living away from him any longer---- he could not see the pain in his wife's eyes anymore, he would soon make arrangements to take them back with him.

 A month later, my parents got the news that Sridhar was seriously ill, with high fever, and had been admitted in the hospital.  My aunt sent word to my father to come to Madras immediately.  Before they could even board the plane there was another telegram saying that Sridhar was sinking rapidly. By the time they reached Madras, their beloved son had already left this world. Sridhar was diagonised as having meningitis, and since he was so young, just 9 years old, he could not survive the severe attack.

 It is totally unthinkable, the kind of pain the child must have gone through, both physical as well as mental, in not having his mother and father beside him, comforting him, with their tender touch, and showering him with the love he constantly yearned for.  My father had tears in his eyes as he described the softness of his child's hand if he was not dead, but just sleeping soundly....and  any time now he would wake up from his slumber, jumping and cry with joy " appa you have come to take me home with you."  It was the most unforgetable event in my parents life, and the most unforgiveable, an event that must have haunted my mother till her death and is still haunting my father.

 What he did was probably right at that time. Still, one cannot stop thinking and wondering perhaps if Sridhar had not been left in the care of others, maybe, my brother would still be alive this day.  Or even if he were to die he would have died under our care. It must have had such an impact on all of us in some sub-conscious level, I literally shudder thinking about it. Though we all move on in life, somewhere the impact has left a  deep scar in us, and every once in a while it bleeds.

 This story has been told by parents to me so many times, that it almost makes me feel as if I know this brother of mine very closely. I was born three years after his death, and when I was conceived, my mother had great hopes that, Sridhar would be born again, and this time nobody would ever be able to separate him from her. But alas, my parents were disappointed- they were not to have their son reborn, and I came into this world instead.  In this life time they were not destined to see their lost son again.  This time when my father had come home to stay with us, he once again related this story of my brother and as usual, we both had unshed tears in our eyes.

I thought, I must write about my dear sweet brother who may have left this world years ago, but is still living in our hearts.