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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A World Of Contrasts-Real Life Experiences

Money cant buy you happiness

The mind wanders and various thoughts come and go. Some which register more than the others. In which case, I try to put them down, before they go away. So here’s something which I observed during one of my evening walks.

We have a very large and well reputed Polyclinic in our complex offering a wide range of medical treatments and facilities. People of all age groups ( might I add, mostly from the upper strata) come here to have a range of treatments and follow up activities. As I drew up closer, and moved towards the outer perimeter, I saw an old Omani gentleman in a wheel chair. He was gently being taken down the specially built ramp and into a parked and waiting Lexus ES-350.

My primary observation was that he looked weak and unwell. But overriding that was another one for he also looked happy and content. Even managing a smile back at me as I gave him one while directly passing by. The reason for that happiness was very simple. You see he was surrounded by loving family members, who were there to provide mental, moral as well as physical support. There were three of them, a young man and a woman along with a boy of about 14 years of age.

So here's my take on this- At the end of the day, what are we all really looking for? Just some peace and quiet, and most of all the loving support of our family,particularly if we are weak, old and ill. For money alone can't buy us happiness in this world.


Then here’s a contrasting story. It was one cold December night of our winter vacation in Delhi a few years back had just finished a family dinner at Punjabi by Nature in Priya's Vasant Vihar Complex. and were looking for a 'paan' to conclude the eating fiesta.

As everyone wandered from place to place, looking around, I stood near a bangles and accessories pavement seller, looking at his wares and my eyes just happened to fall on an old lady, sitting on a nearby pavement bench. What particularly caught my attention was her sad eyes and an expression of sheer desolation. She looked absolutely lost and alone. The very next moment, she turned and looked at me. Our eyes met, and an unspoken communication took place. I willed her into some semblance of awareness of her surroundings.....and she managed a timid smile.

And then, something happened and which has stayed with me-till today, and every now and then still returns to haunt me.A younger woman, (possibly her daughter in law? ) walked up to her and asked loudly- in Punjabi- "Bunty Kidhar Hai? Kidhar hai Bunty?"( Where’s Bunty?)

And this one looked up, totally confused for she hadn't even realized that Bunty wasn't there. She started stammering," I don't know, he was just here" desperately looking around, for she really had no clue. All the while the younger woman continued with her ranting.

Suddenly, a boy of about six came running right up to the older woman. Then hugging her he said, "Sorry, I had just gone there... for a moment."

The lady was so relieved that in that moment, tears spilled out of her eyes. And I stood watching, having understood what I had just unwittingly been a mute witness to-total disrespect of an older person. It was obvious that she was now without her partner. And that's why the younger woman had the audacity to treat her this way.

Life took over, and I went on with my family in the next few minutes, but not without turning to look back at her. Still sitting there yet, the child was holding on to her hand.

In some of my quiet moments, I often wonder, what happened to her from that day onwards?

(This piece was originally written for my column 'My Take' in Muscat Daily)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Evening Walk

The Gulf is somewhat different from many parts of the world, in terms of dress, weather, habits etc. But what essentially remains common is the habit of an evening walk. 
A Twilight walk
A Twilight Walk

Here we have a photograph of people taking their evening walk. I clicked this at the Beach Road, also called the New Corniche in Muscat over a year ago. 

What I find particularly interesting is the way the moon is positioned directly above the row of lamps. 

In essence this is simply an evening  walk by the sea.(The Gulf of Oman is on the left and not visible in the snapshot.) 

Just so that you can see what a stunning evening walk this makes for, I've added another photograph clicked from the opposite end, giving a clear perspective of the length, look and feel of this walk.

Does it get any better?

A time to let off the day's steam, catch up with friends, or just simply indulge in quiet solitude as the case may be. 

As far as I'm concerned, for me it's usually one of the three at any given point in time.

What about you folks?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Power of True Friendship

What is it that really makes a strong basis for friendship? This is something that I've dwelt upon every now and then, and I'm sure that all of you have done so too.

Forging lasting bonds
( image sourced from the internet)

Is it that these are formed at a particular moment in time, dictated by circumstances around, college, hobbies, interests? 

Or could it be that friends are just 'people that you were meant to bond with?' 

'Because of' or more to the point, 'despite' all the odds?

I let my mind go back in time and I remember myself in Class 2, at Modern High School in Calcutta. I was taking part in a 100 mtr race and was waiting on edge for my parents to arrive. But there seemed to be some delay, and as I came upto the start of the race I saw my only mother and brother coming in. The disappointment of my father not being able to make it was intense, but I was happy, just looking at my mom and brother.So much so that I didn't focus on what I should have been concentrating on. The race was about to commence and the Sports teacher blew the first whistle..

I was still looking the stands to see if my family had settled down.

A swift, sharp, second whistle and that was it. The race had begun.

But I was left behind, still staring as all the other little girls began their race. 

Goes without saying that I started and finished the race...

And came last. 

Ironically, I was the girl who had consistently stood first in all the heats so far..

The disappointment was intense and I remember crying bitterly. 

I also remember a sweaty, grubby hand suddenly reaching out and giving me a deliciously cool peppermint toffee( my favourite).

And then I looked up, it was Christine, my best friend at that time and also my closest competitor in studies as well as sports. 

Christine had stood first that day and I was last.

But it suddenly didn't matter that day.Or forever after.

For such is the power of friendship