One more year lived, several more years to live and definitely one less year to live.
Which is the right view? Depends on where you view it from.
The older we are, the more we are aware of passage to time. The mind dwells more on memories of the past and wonder where the future will lead us to. In the midst of this, we sometimes forget to live in the present.
Devi, my daughter, frequently cribs about this. She keeps telling me that I do not seem to enjoy the present, always seem to live on the edge of tension, running after money (I see images of God driving a Ducati Motorcycle with bagful of money and I chasing it on a Bajaj scooter with Padma and other family members staring at me from sidelines, worrying about my driving ability). Padma wryly comments on my inability to slow down the pace of my life – according to her I live at the same speed and way I did in 1980s or 1990s, and gently suggests that I should seriously look at a more sedate life.
My son Anand (he is a Chartered Accountant and has some other illustrious qualifications which I am inordinately proud of) asks me about my financial planning for retirement. I grope for answers.
2012 has compelled me think of future. Till now, it was a race to reach some goal or other. Now, the goal seems to focus more on the younger members of the family. I am always curious about Shivam’s School life, his friends, how he deals with a world in which his parents have no role or presence. Vedika’s growth- seen mainly on Skype- is a matter of great curiosity. I am more concerned with Anand and my son-in-law Kannan’s career than mine (of which only few years are left).
My Sabrimala pilgrimage in March made me painfully aware of my obesity. While Anna (my elder brother Ayyappan) could ascent the hill with ease, I had to halt after every two or three minutes due to my being out of breath. My body made me aware that I had neglected to keep myself physically fit. Today Anna came and took me to the nearby Talwalkar Gym and made me join it. I hope I go at least 5 days a week and look like Harrison Ford (Indian version).
I stood for election to be the Treasurer of our Cooperative Housing Society and won it – all due to hard work by others who also won. 2012 saw me getting involved in Society work. For some reason, there is rankling and animosity between some Members of the Managing Committee and their erstwhile friends leading to exchange of letters and hot words at Meetings. It is a large housing complex with around 450 flats (in our Housing Society) and an almost equal number in the adjoining complex who have formed three separate Housing Societies.
Indians, as a rule, believe that it is essential to display our individuality at all times and should not submerge it for collective good, unless compelled. This has resulted in Society work being an exhausting affair, especially as it is a new housing complex with lot of attendant issues. The antics of some of the occupants are comic and sometimes frustrating to the extent that throwing the towel seems to be a good alternative.
Vedika was born in June and went home next month as Shivam’s school had commenced. Padma accompanied Devi and stayed with her till end October. It was a new experience as Padma and I had not stayed apart in the last nearly three decades for such a long time. Our generation, (those born in mid 20th century) or at least some them, have a weakness. We are accustomed to see the women in our lives – in my case my mother and after her rather early departure to another world, Padma, when we return home. Do we take them for granted? May be, we do at times. We are full of our own achievements and failures in our official life and do not pay the attention our spouses deserve. I missed Padma during those months. I got a glimpse of what loneliness meant and appreciated her role and value in my life to a larger extent than earlier.
Vedika is a chubby child with dark and round eyes with stare at you without disclosing what goes on behind it. She has a beautiful smile which she rations out as per her whims. She expresses herself in a language which God seems to have commanded her to use. She has a special smile and words for Shivam. Her eyes follow him and his actions with a pleasurable smile which is reserved for him. It is clear she knows that he is her sibling and as a younger sister she is devoted to him. He reciprocates by speaking to her and playing with her.
Devi and children were with us during Christmas vacation. Children keep us busy, active , annoyed, stressed out and above all very happy with their antics. Shivam is active child- physically and mentally. He needs to be kept employed in some activity at all times failing which he will keep us busy. Vedika is yet to become fully mobile. She has started rolling and is attempting to crawl. When she becomes fully mobile, Devi would have her hands full running after her.
Padma and I stayed in Guruvayoor for three days. It was a great experience. We were in the temple for good part of those three days. For those who are not aware, Guruvayoor is a very popular Srikrishna Temple in Kerala which is crowded throughout the year. It opens at 3 a.m and shuts at 1.30 p.m. It re-opens at 4.30 p.m and shuts at 8.30 p.m for darshan. There are very beautiful ceremonies with four elephants participating in it.
The deity is a small but beautiful one. Devotees can see it for less than a minute. We used to have darshan three or four times during the day as the queue is quite long due to Sabrimala Pilgrims visit to the temple. Rest of the time we were in the temple precincts offering prayers or just imbibing the atmosphere. Both of us have promised we would repeat this annually.
This is the first full year in the new house we moved in during 2011. We still miss the old house due to its’ great location. But this house has more living space. The complex offers several amenities which have value.
Work pressure has increased significantly and retirement seems to be something to look forward to rather than to be dreaded. The desire to fight new battles, conquer new territories have waned, leaving only a desire to survive. I started working in 1975 (Indira Gandhi declared Emergency that year- something taught in History subject today) and have traversed through several organizations. Human nature and behavior continues to puzzle and surprise me.
I clicked more photos in 2012 and some of them are good ( by my standards). I want to learn it formally to understand today’s camera and their functions well.
I re-read my unpublished similar blog for 2011. It ended as below.
What is the expectation for 2012? Visit at least one new location , complete the two volumes of Mahabharata written by Ramesh Menon (very interestingly written), write one good/readable blog each month, reduce waist line by one inch , undertake pilgrimage to Sabrimala by Erumeli route, visit a good dentist,
Did I fulfill these expectations? I visited Munnar in December and enjoyed it. I read only the first volume of Mahabharata and that too have not completed it. I wrote 13 blogs last year. Some of them are really good and readable (by my standards again). Waist size remains stubbornly at around 36”. Pilgrimage to Sabrimala by Erumeli route is now postponed to a future date. I visited another dentist and carried out two root canal treatment.
What do I expect for 2013? I want my children and their family to realize their dreams. I want to reduce my waist by two inches (“stretch targets” as we say in corporate life). I want to take Padma to an exotic location this year. I want to write blogs which are fascinating, interesting and humorous (to readers and not to me alone).
Lastly , I should know what I want out of future or what I want to do in future.
What do you want from 2013?