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Old Photos

Friday, January 15, 2010

We three sisters were sorting through Photographs---trying to find one that truly reflected our Mother the way she was and a host of memories opened up!!!
Long forgotten events--people---incidents---all came flooding back with a rush.We spent most of the time just reminiscing and recalling and laughing over some truly precious memories----it was sooooo therapeutic!!!
We are not grieving 'coz Mummy suffered a lot towards the end---confining a headstrong woman to her home and buttoning up her mouth----we didn't always succeed!!!
There were loads of old photos where she looked so beautiful---Daddy was totally crazy about her---maybe besotted is a better word!!!One photo specially stands out ---taken in 1959----the two of them dressed in traditional clothes--she in a nine yard Sari with the traditional Pearl nosering and he in a Saafa(Turban)and Sherwani----she is smiling into the camera while he is turned towards her---smiling so very,very indulgently.This photo captures his feelings for her so transparently and very completely----I'll upload this on my photos once it is scanned.
There are photos of Shimla of those days---misty and and thickly wooded as a backdrop for the newly wedded couple.Daddy was teased in our family as 'Devi Das' or Devi's Slave till he died!!!He'd help her out in the kitchen(and create a total mess!!!)plus be such a helpful hindrance that she often lost her cool---she functioned much better alone!!!
There are photos of our Cats and Dog---all thanks to my youngest sister--Ritu!!!Somebody gifted us a Skye terrier with a huge pedigree for her fourth birthday---it seems she loved the mother very much!!!The bitch was named'Cutie' by Ritu and then began total pandemonium for a month or so.I helped look after Cutie---Mummy fed her I walked her---but Cutie's loyalty was firmly fixed on Ritu!!!Then she wanted a Cat.A British family who were returning to Britain had a pure Siamese cat named Polar Bear.They needed a good home for her---Daddy went and brought the cat home.Mummy was puzzled---the cat kept becoming more and more rounded by the day!!! The mytery of the weight gain soon ended---the cat delivered five Kittens and Daddy was dazed to learn that she was no tom!!!Adding insult to injury---Polar Bear delivered her Kittens on Mummy's prized Pashmina Shawl!!!
There are so many where these come from---Ritu was a true pain in the neck---can't say things have changed much---she still looks the same as well---only older!!!Needless to say these old photographs reminded us of the days that were and an era that is gone----lives on only in our hearts!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAASHA17 1/15/2010 11:48AM


ur blogs are so wonderful..I can imagine u all helping around with cutie and then the cat....:).....have a wonderful weekend..


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ZANNACHAN 1/15/2010 10:26AM

    Ow what beautiful memories! I'm glad that you got to to go through the pictures with your sisters and got to share such wonderful memories with them. Pictures really do bring things back, don't they?

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NATTIEGAL82 1/15/2010 5:53AM

    Komal - u always leave me misty eyed...and longing for another time..even if my "another time" was not so far back!

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RITZY60 1/15/2010 4:49AM

  As usual Komal it's so well written. Yes.... the memories we have of mummy and daddy are treasures and will remain forever. emoticon

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ANGEL0507 1/15/2010 2:50AM

    b'ful!! photographs have tht way of reminding us everything around it like a movie.....how a piece of paper can have so much of power...its amazing!!!!

Comment edited on: 1/15/2010 2:56:20 AM

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

My mother passed away yesterday-----she had been suffering from a lung problem coupled with a heart condition.She was on Oxygen for the last one and a half year.It was a merciful release for her.May she rest in peace hereafter.
She was born on 28th.August 1931.Her father Aazoba was over the moon----she was his first surviving child----his earlier two wives had died in childbirth and so had his sons.Aaji was his third wife and Mummy was her first born.This is the reason why she was the apple of his eye---therefore named"Devi" as Goddess Shanta Durga was the family diety---the Kul Devata.As she grew up four more siblings joined her in the following 10 years.My maternal uncle Bal was the youngest---born 31st,May 1941.There were three sisters in between---Manda,Vidya and Vasanti.
She was a beautiful and bright child---with a temper!!!She schooled at Prarthana Samaj and did her graduation from Wilson College just before her marriage.
In 1952 on 12th.May she married Daddy in the huge living room in their home at Charni road.She went to Shimla as a new bride and literally got the shivers----Mumbai was 30 degrees Celcius she went to 10 degrees Celsius---shimla those days was heavily wooded!!! She was thrown into a totally different social environment and she began learning the ways of fitting into an anglocised environment.Daddy had just returned to India and was every inch the brown sahib--she learnt to wear make-up,conduct herself in the Club culture hitherto alien to her.She also learnt to live in tents on the site and how to deal with domestics----the cook and the bearer etc.She also learnt to plan Menus and entertain-----Jane Drew,Maxwell Fry---Le Corbusier and their ilk.She had to shed her diffidence and acquire a sophistication and confidence which she did with grace and dignity.She was a fantastic Cook and a wonderful hostess---her parties were talked about for quite some time in that small community!!!
My parents were madly in love till the day Mummy died---for her the last 36 years were just a break from each other.Each time she had any problem she'd sit in front of Daddy's picture and ask him to sort it out----which surprisingly he did!!!The best thing about their relationship was the unflinching support she gave in everything he did.Honesty was Daddy's fetish----he never wanted anything to do with any kind of corruption.We did not have so many things that our neighbours did----not once did she complain!!!We got all the Cakes,Roasts, Soups and Salads in an Oven fired with Coal. The Ice Box took care all the Jellies and Puddings--Ice Creams were made in a wooden bucket which we took turns churning!!!Both together gave a fabulous childhood--full of innocent pleasures and wholesome values---all three of us were exceedingly lucky!!!!
My only regret is that she survived to see my Cancer and Heart Attack and the death of Kiran,my sister Mikki's husband exactly a year back--9th.January 2008 as well as Ritu's Cancer in June 2009.!!This took a toll on her already deteriorating health.
She passed away peacefully---the way she wanted to go and an Era ended as did the chapter of our childhood---finally!!!
Au Revoir Ma----we'll meet soon!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARUV81 1/11/2010 8:38AM

  Sorry that this has happened.

She seems to be a remarkable woman. May her soul rest in peace.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God give you and your family, the courage to deal with this..

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ANGEL0507 1/10/2010 11:46PM

    May her soul rest in peace! and God give you courage to deal with this great loss!! God bless you dear its seems as if i knw u and ur family the way you discribed it

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NITAINMN 1/10/2010 7:01PM

    Oh Komal, my dear friend! My heart feels heavy for your loss. Thanks for sharing your tribute to your Mom with us. I pray and hope that you are all comforted with your fond memories of your life with your Mom.


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ZANNACHAN 1/10/2010 12:22PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I hope you and your family can find comfort in knowing that she had a good, full life and that she is now at peace.

This post was a beautiful way to remember her life--she seems like a remarkable woman, and won who was much loved and loved much in turn.


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PAM1864 1/10/2010 10:01AM

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mother, may she Rest in Peace.
Thankyou For sharing her life with us. Now I feel I know Her.
I will join you in prayer from here.
Swami Sharanam.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/10/2010 9:56AM

    This was unexpected news for me, but maybe not for you. I am so sorry for you and all who loved your mother. You honor her in the classy way you conduct yourself, your quiet strength and kindness, your giving and forgiving attitude, and in all the happy memories you share of the life she and your father created for you children. My thoughts and prayers are with you today, my friend.

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NATTIEGAL82 1/10/2010 9:52AM

    Hi Komal...god give u the courage to deal with the loss of your mother...all the very best dear! your mother sounds like a wonderful lady and i am sure she will always be with u. mother's seldom let go of their children!

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ATMANI 1/10/2010 7:27AM

    Sorry to hear the sad news. May her soul rest in peace!

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SPIFFYCAT 1/10/2010 6:04AM

    I'm so sorry to hear of your mothers passing over.

Thank you for sharing her life with us, I feel I know another person now...

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My Best Friends-----Books!!!

Friday, January 08, 2010

As a child I was a dreamer---always with my head in the clouds!!My best friends were my Books---I learnt to read and write very early and was totally fascinated by Words--still am.Both my parents loved to read and since any other form of entertainment was not available those days except the Radio and the Gramophone---Books became my constant and faithful companions.They gave me all the support I needed and didn't criticise any action of mine!!!
I began with Enid Blyton's Noddy at age 3 years and rapidly progressed to her Fairy Tales and Mr.Pink Whistle!!!From there on to the Famous Five and all the rest of them----it became a passion to save up my almost non-existent pocket money to buy the entire sets---these were our favourite gifting ideas--to give as well as to recieve!!!Those books are such a pleasure that even today I love reading them---such wholesome pleasure and full of the proper "P&Qs"!!!!
Cartoon characters like The Phantom,Superman and Tarzan were great favourites too.On my fourth birthday Daddy gifted me a T.V. like box with a strip he made of Phantom in it.In a closed box there was a window in the lid with two sticks on each side of it.He had wound a long strip of the Phantom series cut out from the Sunday paper-----stuck the sequences together and wound the entire story round one of the sticks sticking the other end to the second stick on the other side.By winding the other stick I could scroll the entire strip from one to the other strip reading the contents as they appeared!!Even today the thought of the Time it must have taken him to make it brings me close to tears!!!
Side by side I learnt both the Gurmukhi(Punjabi) and the Devanagri scripts--the latter used for writing both Hindi and Marathi---and yet other beautiful vistas opened up before my wondering eyes.The wealth of Literature available was a treasure of Information---the expertise of each author opened up a new perspective,a new outlook and I began progressing-----developing and growing as person.
At the age of 12 I became sick with Jaundice and took three months to recover from it.The list of my friends grew---Jonathan Swift,Daniel Defoe,Rudyard Kipling,Pearl S. Buck,Jean Plaidy,G.A.Henty,Sir Walter Scott,Robert Louis Stevenson on one side and William Shakespeare,Jane Austen,Charles Dickens,Alexander Dumas,Mark Twain,Margeret Mitchell on the other.Indian authors like Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya,Munshi Premchand,Kamala Markandeya,Ruskin Bond------Marathi writers likeG.N. Dandekar, P.L. Deshpande,N.S.Phadkey-----to name just the tip of the iceberg---were literally devoured by me---there was nothing else to do!!!!I could read all 24 hours if I'd been allowed to by my parents.
Daddy then started me on Egyptology and books about the Indus Valley Civilization and World History.It became a game that we played---"Reference to the Context"was the name.He'd pick any line from any book and I had to identify the author and the character referred to!!!This made me read all these books with earnest concentration----I developed into the girl who knew too much and therefore a total BORE!!!
I could speak with authority on the exact method used for the Mummification process in Egypt and the excavations being conducted everywhere.
Mythology too was a pet subject---Indian,Greek,Norse,Roman---I spared none!!! My memory then was truly awesome---a statement of fact---not conceit---I was full of various types of Knowledge imparted to me by my friends.The hours I spent with them were so beautiful and my imagination so vivid that I could picture each scene and situation in my mind.
Today I need my spectacles to read and my eyes pain with the strain sometimes---but my friends are still there---from Enid Blyton to Charles Dickens and Margaret Mitchell---I re-read a lot of them even though I know most of them pretty well---it is comforting and the familiarity brings with it a feeling of satisfaction of unchanged pleasure!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 1/8/2010 10:06PM

    You still have a great memory Komal! I too grew up reading many of these books from a Library paid for by my Mom, the Hindi Pandi at the local Catholic high school. Reading was stressed and yes! there was no other entertainment for us either other than the radio and the gramophone or play hockey and cricket with the neighborhood boys and brothers, that we did not care much for! You however, was a real book worm and a nerd!! Your Dad is really so sweet and thoughtful...Wow! Amazing. We kids did things like that including making a Kaliedoscope, sceince experiments of volcanos, rockets, etc. gardening and grafting with plants.....wasn't our childhood much more fun with hand made stuff versus things bought ready made in the stores today?

We seem to have a lot of stuff in common - I too was ill at age 11 and was in the hospital for a week, followed by home healing for 3 months for a silly abcess in the back that did not allow me to get out of bed!!

Thanks for the memories.... emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/8/2010 10:09:51 PM

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SAASHA17 1/8/2010 3:33PM

    Yay....i love enid blyton.....i love u:) for loving her....loved her books...I remember my mom gave me 500rupees coz i finished "gone with the wind" when i was 10:)...woohooo...lol....i love to read and yeah been thru tat stage when kids hated me coz i read and they didnt ....hehehehe...I also read Nationa geographic..my dad has a collection and cupboard made just for them:).....

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EACHDAYAGIFT 1/8/2010 11:23AM

    What a bright little girl you were! One of my favorite childhood events was the regular visit to the library, housed in a still impressive old castle-like building. Mama would head to the adults section and we were left to find our treasures on our own. I can still see the old wooden chairs and tables where I browsed through the pages to make my final decision. At 12, we lived in a different place, the library was still old, though, as was our house(built in 1802...very old by American standards). I had my own bedroom for the first time and was able to sneakily read past bedtime without discovery. I can still hear the church bell that rang out every 5 minutes and tolled on the hour, and I would tell myself "just one more chapter" as it sounded one, two a.m. There were some sleepy mornings at school!

Your Dad ... oh, what a sweet, loving thing to do! Any man who would think of and carry out something like that is a Prince. Your mother really lucked out! My son was like you...thirsty to absorb knowledge in any field he fixated on. He went through a mythology phase, too, and the teacher asked him to help her teach that unit! There was a year that we tried a vision therapy that required him not to read except in school. He and I both burst into tears at the appt. Everyday after school, I would read to him out loud whatever he wanted. That's when I met Thor, the X-men, Spiderman, & The Punisher in his comic books. I knew he was reading along as he looked at the pictures, but pretended not to notice. We soon quit that therapy...the price he had to pay was not worth the promised outcome. Still today, we have a close relationship that grew out of those hours when I entered his world through reading. He is a lot brighter than I am, so I don't share all his interests, but we continue to watch science fiction shows together and discuss the characters plot lines etc. We also love to discuss nuances in the meanings of words. This all grew out of that horrible experience, and out of reading. God finds a way to create good out of bad.

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ZANNACHAN 1/8/2010 11:01AM

    Yet another beautiful post! I'm thrilled to see so many readers on sparks--most of both my family and my husband's family are readers, and most of my friends are readers too, but I used to be involved with some on-line reading communities and from what I can tell that isn't common at all.

I can't imagine not being surrounded by books. I have them with me where ever I go, and even when I am under the most stressed it's rare that I don't read at least a little before going to bed. We have many of the same favorites too--I loved reading Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, and Stevenson growing up, for example, though I read (and still read) a lot of fantasy, science fiction, suspense/thriller, romance, and chic lit as well. And I read a lot of non-fiction, though these days most of my non-fiction is theory and water/environmental research; I don't read it much for pleasure at the moment.

Enid Blyton wrote the Adventure books, right? As in the Castle of Adventure, etc.? I read her when I was young, though her books were out of print so I only have one (Circus of Adventure.) The rest I borrowed. But they and Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles are the books that finally got my brother reading for pleasure, so I will always have fond memories of them.

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A Story

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Today I'm a bit retrospective about Life----I remembered a story told very often by Le Corbusier---'Grand-Pere' to us.He used to tell us about how there should be dignity in Death---according to him Death was a very private affair.
The story he told was about a legend he'd heard in Africa about the Elephants----it was said that Elephants knew when their time was up.When this happened,the concerned Elephant would leave the rest of the herd and disappear into the thick Jungle.That Elephant would go to a secret place in the thick Jungle and await Death there.It was rumoured that there was lots of Ivory there---a veritable treasure--only the place to find it was unknown.Grand-Pere always said that he'd like to die gracefully while the going was good---he never wanted to wait around till he became senile.He died of a heart attack while swimming in August 1965----I've often wondered about it.
This story has haunted me off and on through the years---the children reminded me of it----but here at least was a life well lived!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NITAINMN 1/7/2010 11:32PM

    Like you I too hope for the same...somehow I thought that was everyone's dream for death;-) which we all must eventually - some sooner and others later! We can only pray for it....both my parents were independant and we children were lucky to see them pass on to their next life very graciously. I pray to the almighty for the same. Thanks for the reminder. emoticon

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SAASHA17 1/7/2010 10:00PM

    I definitely agree with that...i remember my dad telling me this story:)

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ZANNACHAN 1/7/2010 12:08PM

    I agree that i like the idea of dying gracefully while the going is good--Alzheimer's is an especially difficult disease. So many people with it are aware, at least part of the time, that they are losing themselves, and it's terrifying, and it's heart rendering to the family who loves them. I would like to be spared all that. But I would also, so long as I am making requests, like to put in that I only want to go after I've lived a long and productive life! I want to be like my grandmother, 91 and still going strong--beading, living basically independently, active in various community groups, etc.

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BOVEY63 1/7/2010 11:15AM

    Boy do I agree with Grand-Pere about dying gracefully when the going is good. My dad is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's and it's a horrible way to live - not only for him but for my mom and the rest of the family.

There was an outdoor writer from northern Minnesota, Sigurd Olsen, who I met when I was a teenager. He talked (and wrote)about his adventures in hiking, paddling through the Boundary Waters in his canoe and other outdoor activities. You could see that he lived is passion; and when i learned that he died while hiking on a trail near his home, I smiled because I am certain it way the way he wanted to go - in his beloved wilderness.

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The Headlines!!!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Last night I read the Newspaper headlines---children of 10-12 years of age committing Suicide!!!I lay awake the whole night-----too upset to sleep.
Why are the little children so depressed???What is the cause of their misery----the increased Syllabus---the parental and peer pressure--the Educational system???
Every day I see the kids weighed down with their heavy backpacks either on the way from or to the school---parents and teachers are alike to blame.Expectations about greater levels of Success in acheiving the goals---Schools want to figure in the upper grade on Educational prowess---parents want to preen on the mental capablities of their child----in wanting to achieve this goal, together they push the children too far.Competition is fierce---every 0.01 mark is considered important----the poor child is berated for each and every mistake.In pursuit of the levels of excellence desired,children are pushed to their limits to perform way beyond their capacity.Today's children are caught in the vicious circle of School-Tuition-Home Study!!!They have to keep on their toes always to keep themselves at par with their peers.Any deviation from the desired results make their hearts tremble in fear----this is when they are forced to take this extreme step because of their fear of what will happen once they are caught out!!!!
Obviously something somewhere has to give!!!So when they feel they have failed to achieve the desired levels-----they are taking this way out.Is this fair???Can't we wake up atleast now and try to change this gruesome trend----I prayed in the Temple today for all three---the parents,the teachers and the Department of Education---stop this waste while there is still time!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATMANI 1/7/2010 8:26AM

    If only everyone (parents, children, teachers, system) takes the time to think things through...

Thanks for sharing...

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BIRDRIPLEY 1/7/2010 6:03AM

    the future IS our childre. You're right competition is fierce. Most students rise to new challenges and live healthy productive lives and want to be on par with their peers. the worlds is a harsh place. The ones who are crushed by the challenges needed help long before they committed suicide. It is sad, but their are students who enjoy being average too...my daughter is well rounded and makes average grades, has lots of friends, and enjoys her life,but evn she can get down about things. It's important for kids to have someone to talk to besides their peers. To be taught that everything is not all or nothing.
Thanks for sharing.


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GOING2LSEITNOW 1/7/2010 5:41AM

    I agree with you. Children can no longer be just children. And to think the future is our children. emoticon

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