First up in my series of guest posts is Kamini, author of the blog Saffron and Silk...........to most of you, she needs no introduction, and you will instinctively know why I decided to start the series with her!! For those of you not yet acquainted with her, let me try and extol her many virtues, or better yet, let her do the talking so you can see firsthand why. Gentle reader, I give to you Kamini-- one of the most inspiring women I have come across in the blogosphere! Take it away, K!
Gagan of OPAP stardom, has kindly - and bravely - asked me to write a guest post on her blog. I happily accepted, not just because I love her blog and to be a guest blogger on it really makes me happy, but she has also given me a "blank check", a "carte blanche" to write about anything! Anything that I want to put out there, that will give readers more of an insight as to who or what I am, help them understand where I am coming from! In her words "go for it, let it out"!
Now I'm a hothead, on any given day, I usually have a gazillion things that I want to either rant or rave about, but these past few days have been more thought provoking than usual. So this is going to be a "no holds barred" post! As much as we would all love to talk design and color in our blogs, there is so much more to life than that! And if I start to ramble and get preachy, please...I didn't mean to :-)
A lot of things have happened in these few days of 2011 that have given made me reason to pause and reflect! Or maybe I'm just getting more introspective as the big 50 approaches?
So here is a quick synopsis of 2011 so far....before I reveal my feelings...
As many of you know, my son and son-in-law visited from DC. For those who may not know this, my son Gautam and his partner Andy got married last September in DC! Many folks are surprised at this. Whether it is because a same sex marriage is something practically unheard of in India, or whether it is at my acceptance of it as an Indian mother... I don't know....but my answer has always been that he is my son, his happiness is important to me, why would I stand in the way??? Very easy, once you understand that concept. And the fact that Andy is a super nice kid is just icing on the cake!
Anyhow, they spent a week here in Hyderabad including one night at my parents' home in s senior citizen gated community. Even though Andy had met most of my mother's side of the family when he visited 2 years ago, on this trip he got to meet my dad's side - namely my jolly vociferous 70 plus year old uncles and aunts and their spouses.
A week later I joined the 2 boys on a short vacation to Chennai and Pondy. My husband who was supposed to have joined us had to bail out cos his 86 year old dad fell ill and had to be admitted to the hospital. My father-in-law had a stroke in May, he has been steadily declining in health. I mention this because it is relevant to what I have to say later on in this post.
[Update: Kamini's Father in law passed away on the 2nd of February, he had lived a full life and was surrounded with loved ones at the time. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family.This post was written at a much earlier date, and I have decided to let it run as is. If you wish to, please do drop by Kamini's blog to offer your condolences.]
But going back to our vacation - in Chennai we got to meet my teeny tiny 88 year old grandma and my husband's uncles and aunts and cousins, who put out a delectable authentic South Indian meal for the American son-in-law!
In Chennai we spent a night at the Taj at Fisherman's Cove. This place, for those who have not seen it, is heaven on earth! Expensive, but heavenly......big airy colonial style verandahs, upholstered porch swings, lush palm trees with their fronds fanning you as you stroll by, softly gurgling fountains, cobbled pathways leading to the pristine beach, liveried guys serving you exotic welcome drinks, garlanding you with shell necklaces and waiting on you hand and foot. And the food....oh the food...amazing! After one night here, we drove onwards to Pondicherry stopping en route at Mahabalipuram to see 2500 year old temples. Then on to Pondicherry where we spent 2 nights at a more affordable heaven on earth - The Dune at Pondicherry! At Pondy we did the usual typical touristy things...walked along the beach, ate street food and visited Auroville. Then back to Chennai for another day, after which they headed home to DC and me back to Hyderabad.
Back home I found my FIL in worse condition in the hospital than when he was admitted. The docs had inserted all kinds of tubes and needles in him.....for various problems they had unearthed in his 6 day stay there. The next few days was an unending stream of CT scans, tests, Xrays, IV drips etc. The poor man was exhausted and so finally we decided enough is enough and brought him home so he can spend his last few weeks, months whatever in the comfort of his home....which is where he is now.
So....the 2 week time span in which all this happened has made me ask myself this:
How do I show my appreciation and gratitude to all my family and extended family that gave my son-in-law such a warm welcome and made him feel so much at home? Why did I worry about it so unnecessarily? And what is it that causes a traditional South Indian family, and a 88 year old grandmother, living for years in parochial Chennai, to reach out and gracefully embrace such a non-traditional marriage?
How can I not cringe and feel uncomfortable every time I think of how much I spent to stay one night at the Taj at Fisherman's Cove....
when this stone cutter we saw outside Mahabalipuram doesn't make even one tenth of that in a day's work?
The designer in me wants to know how this 1500 year old ratha/chariot temple has withstood the ravages of time so beautifully.....
and the non-believer in me asks from where this child gets the faith he clearly has, by which the mere act of touching his soft cheek to the rough temple stone gives him such joy, almost as if he can hear the Gods?
And while I absolutely loved what The Mother had to say in Auroville....
I asked myself why I was a bit spooked at the whole Auroville commune thing and why it reminded me of the Dharma Initiative in LOST....?
What hand of fate determined that this dog live on the roadside searching for scraps...
while this dog gets to sleep with its head resting on colorful fuchsia pillows....?
And when does one decide that for an 86 year old besieged with age related health problems, being in a hospital room surrounded by doctors who will do anything to keep him alive for another day in the ICU was worse than being at home surrounded by people who loved him dearly and were willing to let him go?
Questions, questions that will bother me for some time, till I get caught up in mundane chores and forget about them, or I somehow miraculously get wise at 50 and get a satisfying answer to them....! Also, let me say that I mean no disrespect to religion, or the Aurovillans!