The month is almost at an end. I am wondering whether I would be able to keep my vow to write at least one (readable) blog each month. Is there nothing of interest happening in my life or around it? Perhaps as Sherlock Holmes famously said “Watson, you see but do not observe”.
How did the month start? I went to Coimbatore to see Vedika. Anand and Priya made an impromptu decision to travel to Coimbatore for the same purpose. Vedika had begun her attempts to turn on her stomach. She has started communicating in a language known to her and God. It is fascinating to see her talking animatedly to her parents, brother, Padma etc. with only some sounds coming from her throat but with intonation, change in rhythm and expressing her happy emotions through her eyes. Communication needs no language.
Shivam’s school had their annual sports day for their kinder garden students. It has a huge campus and the arrangements made would create envy even for the most prized school in Mumbai.
The secondary school students assisted in the whole event. The announcer was a primary school student. There is some beauty in the innocent competition between small children who barely know why they should run faster or jump like a duck a bit more swiftly. Shivam was part of the team which came first in relay race. Kannan, Shivam’s father, had come with a gift in the clear belief that Shivam would win some prize or other. I admired the gesture as it goes a long way in fostering a child’s self confidence.
Every airport in India is under renovation. Goa is no exception. But the key word is “under renovation.” So I landed in the old airport, along with my colleagues in the Group to attend an annual conference. I found that the luggage conveyor belt was empty and my checked in brown suitcase was not visible. I rushed to the airline executive who asked me to produce my ticket and baggage tag. I was doing this when I found a couple standing at some distance clutching my brown suitcase in a proprietary manner. It has a red and white thread around the handle to distinguish it. But that did not seem to deter a passenger from mistaking it to be their bag. I snatched it from them and walked out.
This is the second time my brown suitcase was taken by another passenger. Last time around a lady had taken it and travelled some distance in a taxi when the airline executive called her back. After that incident, Padma had put this red and white thread around the handle, but to no avail. Next time, I decided to distinguish it a bit more to prevent such hijacking.
Our Group had made stay arrangements in Taj Exotica- a premium resort hotel with all kinds of facilities. It has cottages of ground plus one storey with four rooms, most of which face an open lawn – some with a lotus pond. Most hotels in Goa have a private beach. Water sports are popular during Season (October 15 to April).
Somehow Goa seems to be promoted especially for overseas tourists and off season conference location for corporate. I have visited Goa only for conferences several times in the last two decades- during off season when the sun is at its’ brightest and the best time to visit the beach is between 5.00 am to 6.30 a.m.
The problem with Goa is that Hotels are built at remote places and unless we have our own vehicle, local travel is expensive. For “pure veg” travelers like me, food is a problem as most hotels are “pure non-veg”. Other than beaches –which look the same after visiting three of them between 11.00 a.m and 3.00 p.m (with Sun God helpfully following you in full strength) – there are a few churches (seen in some movies) and some temples. There is a floating ship (I had gone during one of the earlier conferences when I was with another employer) in which we can gamble and watch scantily clad foreign (east European) women dance to some filmy cabaret type music.
The modesty and humility of two external speakers – Mr. Arun Shourie and Mr. Arvind Datar – along with the passion and knowledge with which they spoke on their subjects stood out. It is hard to explain or express the impression they leave in our minds. I believe that the biggest power a human being has is to influence another individual’s thoughts, beliefs and actions. Both of them could do it with ease, without in any way displaying this ability overtly.
Expectedly, there was party on each of the three nights. I hung around clutching a glass of some juice or other eating some unhealthy food (without any need to do so) and trying to strike up conversation with people whom I am supposed to know. Age catches up with memory refusing to link the faces with correct names. I smile knowingly at them, strike up conversation which will help me in identifying them and then going off to another group. I would love to be the heart of any party, cracking jokes consecutively, be a striking conversationalist, having anecdotes which I have not mentioned in the last three months (if not years) and so on. However, the professional exam I passed did not contain any such course in the curriculum.
In one of my earlier blogs, I had referred to standing in election as an Office Bearer in our Housing Cooperative Society. Unexpectedly, I won and am elected as the Treasurer. The Society has over 400 residential units with around 600 members (some units have two members for some strange reason). The Chairman had made dark hints about “opposition party” during my earlier meetings with him. On assuming charge, I found that indeed there are imitation “Anna Hazare”, “Arvind Kejriwal” type of individuals who pop up with various issues without backing them with proper substance, background or documents. There was a members’ meeting which had enough sound and fury to match a Ram Lila exercise. I made some dramatic statement (by my standards) which seemed well received. The Chinese saying “may you live in interesting times” seems to be apt here.
Our children make us realize our age and passage of time. Grand children make our heart and brain lighter and make us aware of the value of time and age. Shivam asks his class teacher to reserve a seat for his new born sister in his school. The teacher assents. What is important is that we hear this as an anecdote from the teacher rather than from Shivam. Vedika turns on her stomach and tries to crawl. She is unsuccessful. She wails in frustration and anger, but does not give up. We are happy at her spirit which refuses to give up. Her eyes light up when Shivam comes and observes with interest all his antics. He loves showing off and playing with his kid sister of all of four months.
Life is beautiful because of such small pleasures.