It is the beginning of another Tamizh Year..Paarthiba Varusham…against all experience and cynicism, hope springs anew that THIS year, things will improve, politicians everywhere will come to their senses, good governance will begin….
First the agency in charge of the flyover broke up the service road in front of our apartments, and cut down at least a dozen trees two years ago….the project lies abandoned.
Went to a concert by Pandit Jasraj at someone’s house….sat next to two mothers who were with their daughters…they hugged them, talked to them, put their heads on their laps….I mused about the special relationship between mothers and daughters. In our culture, mothers and sons are not encouraged to show physical affection for each other. How sad, that a teenage son cannot sit unselfconsciously with his mother in a gathering like this…our boys are never taught to express physical affection at all….they grow up repressed. But it was still lovely to see the two mothers and daughters…here’s a thought for all of them out there! Missing mine and so I called her up….
A friend of mine has been taking care of a schizophrenic husband, whose condition has progressively worsened. During this time, she has undergone so much trauma…working in a school, she saw him unfit to take up any work; she could not pay the building maintainance dues and was reviled for it; she has brought up two daughters, the elder of whom took up tuitions to make ends meet. She put the elder one through engineering college, and the daughter fulfilled her promise by doing well, working for Mphasis for a while, and then getting admission to SP Jain Management College in Mumbai. Now the husband, after bouts of violence, has been institutionalized during the week. My friend has now got the opportunity to spend a six-month, all-expenses paid stint in the UK, as part of her job. Meanwhile the institution has raised the fees, and she is facing a financial dilemma. Should she go, or not? She has taken the decision to go. I salute the huge courage this friend of mine has, the grit with which she has handled life all along. She finds herself without a shred of wifely feeling for a personality which is no longer that of the husband whom she married all those years ago; but feels that if she leaves him, she might just push him over the edge, and continues to take responsibility for him, much as she would for a sick child. I admire her for her courage, the kind that I feel I might never find in myself.
Entry prompted by one of our dinner guests telling us that we should move out of our present place and go somewhere “befitting our status.” What is status? Seems to be just the fact that we have more money than, say, ten years ago. Otherwise, we seem to be exactly the same people we were. Our friends are, spiritually and,even more important, geographically, all around us, where we need not take long car rides to visit them or vice versa. What will we find in an apartment building or a house which “befits our status”? Will the new neighbours be as warm as these? Can I leave my front door open whenever I wish, totally secure? How long will it take me to set up a lifestyle such as this, where I can walk or cycle to accomplish all my work, and take out that polluting device, the car, only when absolutely necessary?