Random things

My blog is a space where I save things that I think I may want to remember and revisit sometime in the future. So today I have a few picks of the past couple of weeks.

One of my friends sent this picture the other day. My mom and brother are both in this class photo of Std 2, Baldwin Boys’ High School. Mom’s friend from teacher’s training college fell terminally ill and mom went to substitute for her. She ended up teaching for most of the academic year.

BBHS, Std 2 (1981-82)

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As we enter the month of May

Thousands of humans are dying in India because we allowed COVID to spread like wild fire, without being prepared to handle so many people falling ill at the same time.

No normal hospital beds. No ICU beds. No ventilator beds. No medicines. No injections. No ambulances.

More than anything else – no oxygen to breathe. No oxygen cylinders. No refills. No oxygen concentrators.

Doctors and nurses are tired. They not only attend to patients, but also decide whom to prioritise for treatment, given the resources in their hands.

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Ahmed, we will miss you very, very much


“You see,” began Christopher with a long sigh. “It’s like sleeping for a long, long time.”

Christopher Robin was surrounded by his friends under his favorite tree. It rested on the top of a hill overlooking the entire Hundred Acre Wood. He was older now, and he knew that he didn’t have much more time left with them.

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I’m ok

There’s strumming in the distance.
The jazz, the rock, the band.
His guitar’s now up on its feet.
Come fast, hold my hand.

Three years of the illness.
The will to fight has gone.
Please look after yourself.
I don’t think I can hold on.

The last month was a struggle.
Good days here and there.
The coughs, the gasps, pain deep inside.
I’m ok, a smile, take care.

How are you Bala Uncle?
I’m ok. Take care.

Memories. Random memories. Continue reading

Irrfan Khan, journey done

“When my wife died, she got a horizontal burial cot…
I tried to buy a burial cot for myself the other day, and what they offered me was a vertical one…
I’ve spent my whole life standing in trains and buses…
now I’ll even have to stand when I’m dead!”   
– Irrfan Khan (Saajan Fernandes) in The Lunchbox

Being not much of a Hindi movie buff, I had missed seeing The Lunchbox when it was released (though I had seen some of his English films). Watched it on a flight during the past year. Irrfan Khan was already ill and fighting the “unwanted guests” in his body at that time, and this line stayed stuck in my mind.

Was deeply saddened to hear of Irrfan Khan’s passing this morning. 53 is no age to die. Considering the Indian life expectancy, it’s 15 years too soon. Well, life’s a journey with just one certainty. We’re just grateful to have experienced the journey. Continue reading

Our grandma Kalyani

Our grandmother Kalyani Kutty Nair moved on, on 26th September 2018, at the ripe old age of 98. Today, as per Malayalee tradition, the final ceremonies were completed and we hope that her soul rests peacefully.

Grandma was one of the most open minded old ladies one would ever meet, standing apart from others of her generation. Mom tells me that way back, in the 1950s-60s when Princess Margaret (sister of Queen Elizabeth II) was forbidden from marrying Group Captain Peter Townstead, grandma was one of the most upset people in Richmond Town. “She couldn’t even marry whom she wanted to”, she would say. As a mother, her sentiments were echoed by her actions. She was accepting of those her children chose to marry, reassuring them that they were always welcome back if the situation arose. Years later, grandma and grandpa had the opportunity to help a relative by conducting his marriage when the parents refused to accept the alliance.

Kalyani Kutty young
Many many years ago

Mrs Nair, as she was known, would qualify as one of the old timers of Richmond Town having resided there in the 1940s-1970s (on Leonard Lane-Serpentine Street, Richmond Road, Langford Road) before moving to Domlur in the 1980s, and then back to Richmond Town (Rose Lane in 2004) and Yelahanka. Till a couple of years ago, she would recall events and stories of the neighbourhood that were recorded in her mind.

On life, she was quite practical. When grandpa passed away at the age of 96, she felt it was a merciful release. “This machine has to stop sometime, she would sometimes say.” Indeed. Her tenacious heart would have beaten about a whopping 412,40,00,000 times before finally giving way. Her soul lives on in this lovely Badminton Ball tree she planted at Puttenahalli Lake on her 90th birthday 8 years ago. (Read about it here.)

   Planting, 19th Sep 2010

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-18 at 1.28.02 PM (3)
Grandma’s Badminton Ball Tree, Sep 2018

She will be dearly missed by the 8 of us cousins – Ajith, Meena, Ajay, Pradeep, Sunitha, Nagesh, Nandan, Arathi, and her 4 children Leela Gautam, Rukmani Manay, Ramani Nair, Bala Nair and 11 great-grand children.

Gma obit

The coincidence of birth and death

It’s a weird feeling. One parent’s birthday is the same as the other’s death day. The odds, quite rare I suppose. With a 1 in 365 chance, it is a coincidence that Nagesh and I would never have imagined as we said “happy birthday mom” every year.

On September 14, two scenes flash before my eyes. Dad entering the house with a bunch of yellow flowers after his morning walk, surprising mom as she got our breakfast ready. Several years later, on a Sunday morning, Dad sitting up against pillows in the hospital bed, his frail hands holding the newspaper. He could barely talk and I wonder if the date on the newspaper registered in his still-alert mind. That same evening, while relatives and friends popped by to visit him and stood around the hospital corridors, some reluctantly greeting mom on her birthday, he was mercifully released.

Twelve years on, “happy birthday mom” comes with less pain. Still, dad, always missed. A treasured memory.

Always missed.
Always missed.

Dad, Mom, Nag and I, 1976

The Death of An Unconventional President

My earliest memory of the death of a “famous person” goes back to 1977. We were in school and suddenly in the middle of the day’s lessons were told that we could go home. The President of India had died of a heart attack and it had been declared a holiday. Dr Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed was the incumbent President, and to date is only one of two Indian Presidents to have died in office. This was when I first got to know that when an important person in the country dies, a holiday is given, especially to school children, as a mark of respect to the person. (These days, it is also to keep the children safe from possible violence.) For students like us, the thrill of an unexpected holiday would cloud the solemnity of the grave event.

Livable planet earth

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