Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Mom at Gorleston



It was nice seeing Mom, the kids, Ajay and myself in that short family video we shot the other day. It seemed to be a fitting finale at the end of Mom's stay with us here in Gorleston. She looked happy, expressed her wish to stay longer and may be come again, which was so nice to hear. Ever since mom's illness I do live fully in the present especially when she is around.

It was nice to be around her once more, feel the pulsating tension in the air as she followed day after day a strict regime of waking up at 4.15 to do her breathing exercises (pranayam), going for a walk or doing the school run, sleeping early, eating correctly ( i.e. eating a citrus fruit with an iron containing dry fruit, that too at a decent interval from the time she had had a calcium containing meal), doing her set chores around the house while also making time for playing with the children and watching her favourite programs on television.


Needless to say, that if she followed a routine, and had her watch adjusted to the second of BBC time, she had some expectations from the kids and the rest of us, in terms of how we utilized our time optimally. But she was not that strict and uptight a grand mother, as she had been a mom, I can vouch for that.

It is indeed very surprising that a laid back person like me is not only her genetic daughter but I have also been brought up in this same atmosphere of discipline, love and respect for the clock, for a good 23 years of my life. I often think I must have inherited my need to "do nothing" at various points of time, for the sake of my own sanity, from my Dad.


My Dad would rise early and go to bed early but there were some excellent rules he followed. One of them was - Never wake up a sleeping child. My mom's rule was- Never let a child sleep after sunrise. It is no surprise who was more welcome in our bedrooms in the mornings on holidays but Dad wouldn’t even wake you up if you requested him to, on the day of the exam. Mom once woke me up half an hour past midnight, mistaking her watch to be saying 4.30 am, which was the time I had asked her to wake me up. Thank God I refused to wake up.

I think we got a good balance of encouragement to focus and work hard to pursue goals while enjoying the freedom to appreciate the good things in life because of what each of our parents believed in, and no wonder we have turned out fine, or so I would like to believe.

Mom really enjoyed the flowers in the UK. Armed with her mobile phone and digital camera, she was a resolute sight in all her gear (shoes, jacket, and sometimes the hat) carefully picking her steps while looking at the ground to ensure she didn’t step on anything. She wouldn’t shy from leaning over into people’s gardens to frame and capture the images of the beautiful creations of the ultimate artist. She even shot videos of flowers nodding in the breeze. It makes me think about what Swamiji said in his discourse after havan the other day. He said appreciating God's creations is equivalent to singing the Lord's praises and is usually the essence of all prayers.

We attended the havan on the second Sunday of this month like most months but after a long time we were not accompanied by mom. Vandana’s mom was there which was a very comforting sight. It is nice to see elders out here in pardes. They are a warm presence and make the community which gathers, feel complete with representations from all generations and ages. Mom used to enjoy just as I do, the ritual of lighting the fire amidst Vedic chants, the singing of devotional songs and the socializing over lunch afterwards. It is a gathering even the kids look forward to and wouldn’t dream of missing out on. I felt proud of 7 year old Aditya who participated whole heartedly by pouring ghee quite accurately and without creating a mess, with a long unwieldly spoon into the fire, along with other rituals and chanting of gayatri mantra.

Mom cherished the walk to the seaside. She enjoyed the climb, the uphill road and insisted that the seaside air made her feel good for the rest of the day. It was a pleasant experience walking to the beach with her. I enjoyed it. The wild flowers on the grassy banks, the gently playing waves, the flat shimmering expanse to the horizon, the birds struggling to keep their height and direction in spite of the strong wind, the view of the pier  and the changing colours of the sky. These were beautiful sights, but the presence of little children making sand castles, boys and girls skating, cycling, wind surfing and water boarding, men and women walking hand in hand or calling out to their equally excited canine friends, made the sights more lively and colourful. It is strange but the British people tend to be more cheerful and friendly on a sunny day which would usually be the weather, when we decided to venture out to the beach.

Children must be missing their grand mother. Yesterday Aditya wanted to know if I had enough time to comb his hair with the nit comb. I realized that his nan would have done it everyday, without fail. Thankfully the exercise which was undertaken after nearly a week did not result in anything to get concerned about, which was just as well. He also pointed out to me that we were not eating soaked almonds anymore. I just acknowledged the fact without making any comments. Mom really enjoyed being with the children. At one time the two kids and their nan were behaving like a gang in a crime. They found an obscure place to indulge in their favorite pastime of playing cards. They had a whale of a time watching movies as well.


Like all things this blog and my mom’s stay with us have come to an end. We seem to be busy socializing as the days have become warmer and longer. Life goes on as we plan and execute from one weekend to the next.



garam masala said...

There is a lot to say and yet silence is what I prefer as a medium. Beautiful tribute!

sanjay dwivedi said...

Beautiful mom is a mom no one can substitute her.You are also a very good writer god bless you.

Bangalore Bird said...

Very well written, without being sentimental especially when writing about close ones!