Monday, 20 June 2016

Personal Musings (1)

I've managed with only a cycle all these years. Now for certain unavoidable reasons needed to get a scooter license and drive a scooter. My husband borrowed an old scooter from his friend - hoping that our tryst with scooters will be short lived. Its rather battered.
Our sixteen year old feels embarrassed that she is on a battered vehicle. I told her I feel more embarrassed at being on a petrol run vehicle. She kept quiet. After all she knows of global warming and climate change. And how each of us is part of the problem.
There is always a little bit of arrogance left, when we think we have aged beyond it all. And then fate brings us to our knees.
The fact that I had managed with a cycle all my life and never needed anything more than a public bus, or very rare autos, was my Achilles heel, i think. And when certian health reasons needed me to get a learner's licence at this late stage, and start using a scooter sometimes, with a sense of deep compromise - I came face to face with that sense of superiority, and the breaking down of that.

Once again remembering that we are all of us shades of grey, and no more and no less.

As years have gone by, and one looks back, one has got far far more from the world than one gave. In terms of everything.
The last leg has been the village, and what the village people gave in terms of wisdom, perspective, warmth, companionship, friendship, bearings, and also greens, and corn, and fruits and whatever was there - is something I know can never ever be repayed.

The debt is vast.
I have known my daughter's dance teacher for some years now. He is a extremely rigourous teacher, and makes sure the students learn perfection. I admired him for having made dance, his passion, his profession. There would have been much more money in some other office or IT job than is being a dance teacher.
Today as I was there before any student came, we got to chatting. And I realised there is much so much commonality in all of us. He was concerned about villages getting destroyed without livlihoods. He was saying how he keep going to his village frequently to see what to do. And that he takes his son there so that he has also stay tuned to the village ethos. Then to turned to me and said that I and Nagesh had studied a lot, but stayed simple. I wondered why he said that - maybe my English was fluent, and then he only sees me on a cycle, or Nagesh walking to the bus stop. He said how children were getting trapped into gadgets and the value of simplicity was being forgotten.

I was again reminded that we are all not different at all, and in essence all pains are all shared pains. And we simply need to share truths that we have seen, and work together ...
Friends went to eat out yesterday. I begged off. My friends 13 year old son who seems to be following my FB page in detail told me that I was 'rebelling against glass walled hotels'. I told him my age for rebellion was over. And now I simply followed my heart, and took the path of least resistance. That path led away from these hotels.
My village has no hotels. And so whenever someone comes by they are offered and given food in each home. It is simply the way. Kothapeta nearby has small idli hotels. Where for 20/- I can have a fill of five idlis and a vadai. Eashwaramma and Sasi and I and Annasamy Anna sit together on the benches there and eat well. Sambar and chutney is poured over the plate liberally.
I love going to hotels, but where everyone can go, and everyone can afford it. Not gated clubs where the ambience and bills make it dens for the privileged few. The city is far far more casteist that villages.

CBSE results seem to be out. I remember my own CBSE times. Passing out of 12th with decent marks. Things were fine. Not getting into IIT was a failure. Then not getting into the most desired college in town was a further sense of failure. The ones who made it to IIT and AIIMS were the heros and heroines of those teenage days. Well, some decades later - none of the people I admired then, claim any admiration today.
The people I have valued deeply and consistently, have been valued for essential values of empathy, integrity, courage, honesty. Some happen to have been in once desired colleges, but that is an irrelevent detail in the whole schema.
How I wish I could pass on to the present teens the learnings of what counts, and what is simply glitter. But each soul needs to walk the path to learn the truth.

I have blown candles off on cakes in my childhood. Much later i realized how lamps are lit with devotion because light is a symbol of the sacred. And to blow out light, or candles, is not part of our ways.
But now in a village where light is called Jyothiamma the goddess, candles are blown out in those birthdays of the children in families which can afford a small cake.
The unquestionable allure of modernity brooks no questions. And also gives no answers

Third birthday. I would get balloons for all the children. Bake a cake on the firewood. Light lamps on the cake instead of blowing out - as blowing out light is against village culture where light is worshipped as divine.
Everyone would have good fun. Then one year I stopped. I saw Nadia's face small and glum. And it smote my heart when I realized that it was the fact that she knew that her mother could never bake her a cake or buy balloons.
I regretted all the birthdays I had had, thinking it was for the emjoyment of all the children.

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