The pace and complexity of life in this day and time sometimes make it very difficult to get back to a place in our mind and spirit where we are able to get back to place in our mind and spirit where we are able to access all that we are and need to be. There is no substitute for good and old-fashioned hard work, informed preparation and clearly thought out coping strategies for difficult times.
Not a day without a line- said Pliny the Elder.
Yesterday, in lieu of writing the year-end diary I went through photo-diaries and notes of yesteryears and saw the truth in the words of John Lennon
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
A PLACE TO GO BACK TO AS HOME
NIGHT AT PALAM VIHAR
The second memorable night was when my uncle sat with me, as I spent a night in Palam Vihar after a long time. After the bravado, dinner with old friends was over, I returned to my home. Of all the places I have been to around the world, this is one place I can call home and come back to.
No place to come back to as home.
This feeling is something which can be very defeating.
My uncle went through this night –recalling the time when he was a boy of ten, and had to go to the banks of the Ganga to do the last rites of his father. “In our custom, a person whose parents are still alive cannot accompany you to the banks of the Ganga to do the last rites. So my school friend, who was accompanying me after the principal had called me and told me to go immediately to my home told me at a fork in the road- now I will be going my way, and you go to your house. The principal had not broken the news to the boy. He had just told him that he is urgently required in his house. When the friend parted, the little boy understood and walked that lonely road alone.”
We sat together for a long time, talking about the shape of life, families and generations.
He has lightly rebuked me at times for my wandering ways, and the related dynamics. A mathematician, he was the person who taught me to make notes, and do deep thinking.
In Dr.Phil’s book, there are many lessons given about “Real Life”
Reflecting on the note of Dr.Phil- “There is no substitute for good and old-fashioned hard work, informed preparation and clearly thought out coping strategies for difficult times,” one long term expatriate worker in Tripoli pointed out recurring non resolved themes in life due to the dynamic of staying away from family.
This is a sort of blended family, as dynamics change. There are stresses when one goes back to the life one left behind in one’s own country. People grow in their own ways, while you are developing your own life.
Sometimes there is a cacophony of voices- each trying to pull-push in a particular direction, and each trying to prove his or her point of interest to be right.
What does one do and more importantly, what does one not do in such situations.
“You are not a strong one” one person said on the use of Silence as a tool.
“Sometimes silence, stepping back can be a very useful and powerful thing,” the other person responded.
CONCEPTS OF HOME
Home is not a place to stay, as a physical space, but also a concept. A place where the family memorabilia are kept , shared . In that way, many working people have made their homes in Tripoli region, and collected memorabilia and artefacts from different parts of the world. In a picture album which I keep near my place of reflection, there are photographs of different family members in different phases of life. These are symbols of continuity and links between a past, present and future.
DIARY VERSUS JOURNAL
In “Whole will cry when you die” the writer-speaker Robin Sharma tells about the difference between a diary and journal. A journal he says is one of the best personal development tools one can have. In this private space, one can reflect and refine on what we do, why we do it, and what lessons we have learnt.
Spending “One to One Time” to develop identity and bonding was one theme I developed in the past year.
In the Journal format, answering specific questions
What we do?
Went for walks to museums, archives.
Why we do this?
Spending time in a local archives is different from a museum.
Went with my son to see how the place where we live in has changed over past 100 years. In this historical societies, which look back at the contributions of a place during major events is an eye opener.
- Peel Arts Museum and Archives,PAMA-Brampton,Mississauga
There were specific exhibitions on the contributions of Sikhs in the two world wars.
This exhibition made me relate to the family relics which we have in our own house relating to the long years of service in Indian Army which my father had. I showed my sons the Ashoka Emblem, the different medals in a new light, after having seen that unique exhibition in PAMA
- Ontario Science Centre–
Special exhibitions on Myth Busters, made us look at the science behind some daily things.Earlier we had seen the Science of Rock and Roll, and Brain.
These exhibitions help us reflect on the way science has changed our lives.
The societies with specific interests make us try to refine our experiences, rather than just living in a struggle-survival mode, which becomes the narrative of many immigrants and diaspora.
Looking back at walks in yesteryears-Manori Drawings, Western India coastline-2009 August
What did we learn?
Trying to answer –What did we learn- in the three specific situations namely (1) A talk with my uncle in our family home in Palam Vihar (2) Walks through PAMA-seeing the exhibition on Sikh participation in the World Wars and (3) Consciously trying to be part of societies- with specific interests made us learn
- Night talk in my family home: One to one conversations Develop identity and perspective
Using the stepping back-Silence theme helps one make a sense of the whole.
- An Archive- this is different from a museum, though having similaraties.
Made this relate to some family memorabilia more meaningfully. The visits served as a point of reference. I have been consciously collecting memorabilia to give children a sense of the family.
Gave my son, the song book of my father, written in 1989.
He told me that it must be very dear to me.
I said, Yes, it is. That is why I am giving it to you, his grandson.
We brought back a Giant Panda and Blue Jays from the Toronto zoo and the Toronto Botanical Gardens.
We also went through the special book taken out by St.Edward’s college-Malta commemorating the 75th year (1929-2004)
These serve as memories and links.
Discussed about the way volunteers have added the dynamics of that place.
This were some year end notes 2015
Happy New Year 2016
You can download the file with some photo-diaries of previous years by clicking on the link below.