A Mother’s Hands…

It is almost 2 years since I have been able to blog. Today when I finally opened my WordPress account, I came across a piece tucked away in the Draft folder, written during my mother’s hospitalization…

I stare at my mother’s swollen hands, half obscured by the bandages wound around her arms to stanch the ooze. These soft and warm hands that had bathed me, fed me, spanked me, steadied me as I took my baby steps. Oh, what I wouldn’t give now to be caressed by them as before!

My mother’s calloused hands were always doing something. If they weren’t busy cooking, they would be washing an endless line of crystal and china after all those countless parties my father had to give. I miss her cooking most of all as she hadn’t been able to enter the kitchen for over 3 years.

You don’t realize how much a mother’s hands have given till they stop scratching your head the way you like or snuggle your aching heart. But these hands now sleep as does their owner. Hopefully when they wake, they will seek me again… Such is a child’s tender hope!

The Hands That Always Gave...

The Hands That Always Gave…

Despite the countless prayers and the sleepless nights holding her hands, she got worse. Finally, she got her wish to go back to her house. She was happy to be where she had wanted to be all along – Home, a place that had always been her world.

Near the end, her hands were only signaling the lack of oxygen flow, dizziness or searing pain. She was stubbornly holding on to Life, not for herself, but because she had to live – for me. Such is a Mother’s Love – Selfless, Enduring and True…

After the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, her pain lessened and she stopped moaning. I whispered to her that night that it was alright to let go. That Jesus would always keep me safe, for her sake.

She died peacefully the next day. It was a miracle as I always had nightmares that she would be gasping for breath in her final moments as her lungs gave out.

My mother’s hands, that once had strengthened me, had a Rosary wound around them, readying her for her final journey on this earth. But at that time, all I could think was –

How will I live now, Mom? Bereft of your hugs. Bereft of your caresses.

The desolation echoes hollowly right to the pit of my soul.

None can love like you did – from the depths of your core…


What is Truth?

I was just reading a post on http://wp.me/2GiOO    about Newspaper Mythmaking (dated 14 November 2012) and how the Truth is the victim in the whole circus of media-fed frenzy about non-stories. It reminded me of something that had occurred 9 – 10 years back. An event that shattered my naivete about the credentials of the electronic media.

In North India, any public sector job is highly coveted, the Indian Railways being the largest employer in this sector. Since the recruitment is done separately for various zones, some candidates sit for as many zonal exams that they can so as to increase their chances of success.

During such a round of exams, the candidates from Bihar in the North had gone to Mumbai in the West and Guwahati in the North East to try their luck in the railways exams. The locals beat and chased them away as they felt they were unfairly taking advantage of the zonal exam system.

Subsequently there were brutal retaliatory attacks in Bihar but these were only against the North East Indians. Maybe it was because of the mongoloid features that most of the inhabitants of the North East have, which is at once their identity and their curse.

Foreigners in our own land

During this time, my Naga friend had come to visit me in Mumbai. When she arrived, the story she told me of what transpired on her train journey made me shudder to the core. Their train had been stopped just a kilometer from a station in Bihar. The looters went through the coaches as if shopping at the mall. There was no state machinery to protect them for hours.

My friend had been traveling in the air conditioned coach. She was protected by 2 old North Indian ladies (God bless their souls) who covered her with blankets and started loudly chanting whenever the looters used to board their compartment.

Once the train started, some Nagas from the sleeper coaches came looking for a Naga woman and found her. They requested her to accompany them to the sleeper coach where 2 Naga girls were injured, one of them was bleeding profusely and was in shock.

It seems the savages (calling them animals would be an insult to animals) had tried to drag the 2 girls out of the train and somehow the passengers could only get 1 of the girls back in. The other girl had her insides torn by broken sticks as they laughed at her screams, violating her again and again and again… I can’t even begin to think about what the poor child must have gone through…

Her travails didn’t end there.  When the train started entering Mumbai, the electronic media was there, circling like vultures looking for a tasty soundbite. My friend gave interviews about what had happened, not letting them prey on the poor girl. But when we put on the TV that day we were stunned that there was not even one channel running the news about what had happened. It reminded me about what another North Eastern friend had told me once – We are invisible till we bite.

And that’s what happened…

Within days, some poor innocent Bihari workers got killed in Guwahati. The media could not report the attack on the workers in isolation. They were forced to report the cause – the attacks on North Easterners on trains going through Bihar, one of which happened on the train in which my friend was traveling.

The sense of alienation that my North East friends had been talking about over the years finally made sense. Not any less for the fact that many people in the media themselves were from Bihar.

Whatever happened to reporting the Truth at all costs?

The Cacophony of Time

I have noticed for quite some time now that I seem to be forever running out of it – Time that is. No matter how efficiently I try to do the dishes, fix breakfast, make sense of the chaos in office and on the road, I never seem to have enough time. I don’t even seem to have enough time for my Maker!

Strange how unhurried my childhood seemed to be though it was spent in the urban jungle. I was used to structuring my schedule by the clock. But back then I had enough time for studies, music, books, play and sunshine with a few tantrums in between.

Time seemed to shift to an even lower gear when we used to visit my grandparents’ homes. The clock face always wore a mournful number as it was paid no attention. Days were replete with games, laughter, rock salt and stolen candies as we forgot the lessons learnt in the classroom and gained new ones through experience.

The night air was suffused with stories of our ancestors, ghosts and genies as we slept under the mosquito nets gazing at the shimmering starlit scene above.  Of course, the mere hint of rain sent us packing – nets, bamboo poles and all.

Visits to the bazaar were a special treat where we tried out different dishes at local food stalls unmindful of the questionable hygiene and more focused on the taste – much to the chagrin of our mothers! We respectfully greeted the grocery owner and the tailor master that had known our family for generations. I still remember the bewildered happy face of the tailor master as he looked at the prayer mat I got for him from my visit to the Middle East.  There was always enough time to chat and to make relationships grow over generations; irrespective of our differences. How many of us do that anymore?

Now it is always a mad rush from one deadline to the next. There is no time to know anyone, much less ourselves. One feels like in a matrix trying to dodge one bullet after another, not knowing which one will finally hit the spot. It feels like one will be remembered only by the deadline that one missed.

Is this how we want to be remembered?

Hello World!

I had been thinking of starting a blog for years, researching on how to select a topic, what to write, how not to write, what fonts to use….  And now when I finally sat down to pen my very first post… Words fail me!

What does one write about when interests are varied and hobbies last as long as the sighting of a rainbow? I guess you can say I get bored easily. I might be chasing down butterflies on the sidewalk one day and not giving them a second glance the next.

But then what is Life but a series of accidents, happenstance or dare I say…. Miracles….

Miracles? Yes, I do believe they happen… Some to help, some to uplift, some to soothe and some to teach…  But miracles are not always as obvious as they show them on the silver screen with thunder, lightning and background score…

No… They are usually subtle… Soft as a baby’s caress or unseen like a mother’s love… It is more in hindsight that we realize what miracles God had wrought in our lives. The first and what should be the most obvious miracle is that we have been born… But how many of us really feel thankful for it and express our gratitude in prayer? Not many I guess…

It is way easier to crib about the loss of a job, a lousy boss, bad health, demanding spouse, errant children… Don’t get me wrong. Even I have been guilty of complaining about my circumstances like everyone else. But then when I reflect on the many things I can be grateful for, I feel a sense of peaceful gratitude that is difficult to describe.

So learn to be grateful from the heart and who knows… You may sight miracles more often than others…


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