It was four years ago that I posted my first blog. At the time, a friend warned me that unless I had enough material for 52 weeks, I should not proceed. He said that most people start off enthusiastically, only to fizzle out after a few weeks and suggested that I consider a more realistic target of posting a blog no more than once a month. Well, the experiment has now lasted 210 weeks.
The idea for my blog site came from a book “Letters to My Grandchildren” that I had read a few years ago, . It is a compilation of a series of letters written by David Suzuki (famous Canadian environmental activist and recipient of the Order of Canada, Companion of Canada in addition to many other global awards). “In these inspiring letters to his grandchildren, David Suzuki speaks passionately about their future. He challenges them to speak out and act on their beliefs, explains why sports are important, decries the lack of elders and grandparents in the lives of many people, especially immigrants, and champions the importance of heroes”.
First generation immigrants tend to look back nostalgically at family, culture, language, traditions and all that they leave behind. As they struggle to fit in, occasionally disadvantaged by language or other “soft skills” and bewildered by all that is alien, they derive comfort through the “security blanket” of familiarity with their earlier lifestyles. Through rose-tinted glasses, they recall only the pleasant aspects of “life back home”, repeating their real and imagined success stories ad nauseam, which neither their children nor anyone else finds particularly engaging or interesting. Nevertheless, it is an effort to build bridges that might connect the children to the “glories” of their parents’ past.
David Suzuki’s book gave me the idea of spinning my own ethereal tales in cyberspace; to be plucked out by anyone, if and when interested. Unlike Suzuki, I had no pearls of wisdom to share but the experiment did succeed in getting the attention of my potential audience. A coup de grace was delivered several months ago when my granddaughter, who was then just about seven years old, told me that she had read one of my blogs with the help of her dad and discovered that my father – her great-grandfather – had been a refugee in his own country, India. She wanted to know more and it generated a quiet conversation between the two of us. We had left India when our daughter and son were very young, so these blogs have served to introduce them to their grandparents and some aspects of our family’s way of life, about which they knew very little. These writings have also helped my Caucasian and other friends to get a whiff of Indian history, poetry and music.
Yesterday, I visited a friend who quietly celebrated his 93rd birthday on Valentine’s Day, absent any family. When I wished him, he hoarsely muttered with all his failing strength, “No, no. If I have any more birthdays, I will have no more time”. Reaching out to hold my palm in his frail hands, he said, “Today is important to me. You came across the oceans … from India, to discover me and be my friend; that is what matters. Not tomorrow, or my birthday. We must appreciate NOW. Thank you for being here, now”.
It has now dawned on me that my focus all this time, was misplaced. Rather than trying to create a legacy through the sharing of my life-stories, the real purpose lies in sharing what is left of my life with others. In an earlier blog, I had mused that we are all busy talking, but no one is listening! Each of us is self-absorbed. So, after spewing forth over the past four years I must now fall silent.
At the Ibtidaa (Beginning/starting/origin) on February 13, 2016, I had opened my blog with Urdu shaayar (poet) Majrooh Sultanpuri’s famous sher (verse):
|Main akela hi chalaa thaa jaanib-e-manzil …||I had started alone towards my destination …|
|… magar log saath aate gaye aur kaarwaan bantaa gayaa||… but, people started to join and a caravan continued to evolve|
I now end this series with a sher by another favourite shaayar Sahir Ludhianvi; it is extracted from a beautiful song he wrote for the 1963 movie, Gumrah:
|Chalo ik baar phir se ajnabī ban jaa.eñ ham donoñ …||Come, let us both turn into strangers once more|
|… ta.āruf rog ho jaa.e to us kā bhūlnā behtar||… (if/when) the association starts to get afflicted, best to (forget it, and) move on|
|ta.alluq bojh ban jaa.e to us ko toḌnā achchhā||(if/when) kinship becomes a burden, best to end it|
|vo afsāna jise anjām tak laanā na ho mumkin …||the romance/tale which possibly, cannot be brought to fruition …|
|… usey ik ḳhūb-sūrat moḌ de kar chhoḌnā achchhā …||… best to give it a beautiful twist/turn and abandon it|
|… chalo ik baar phir se ajnabī ban jaa.eñ ham donoñ||… come, let us both turn into strangers once more|
I sincerely thank each of you for your readership and encouragement through these years.
It is certainly not a fare thee well, but possibly au revoir. I may continue to write and post sporadically in response to specific requests by some of you, as in the past; however, I no longer wish to be tied down to a weekly routine, even if it is something that I have thoroughly enjoyed.