Our trees still grow in Palam

This month, my sons visited the house in Palam where they stayed as toddlers.

I was thinking of writing this post for some time, but today, I thought I should make an attempt to connect the dots of this important trip, with many facets and layers.

Ten years ago, when I used to come to visit the children from Tripoli, they would be studying in Pinnacle High school-Malad, and we would go for trips to Manori, Marve, Mindspace, Aksa and attend programs by Bombay Natural History society at Sanjay Gandhi National park.

Another decade before that, when I used to study in KEM –Parel, we had a view of the world, before starting a family, the priorities were different.

Now, after having stayed two years in Malta, and five years in Canada, the children returned to visit their grandparents in Nirlon colony-Malad and we had a revised new version of the Family photographs.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANI

 

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2-Jan-2018-A POEM BY THE SEA-AKSA BEACH…Arabian sea…Happy Birthday Nani

 

Of the many photographs of the pujas, get-togethers, reunions, this one on the shores of Aksa stands out as a symbol of the many currents which flow across generations.

In taking this Canadian immigration journey, we gain something we lose something.

As my friends from Juma Saaga-days of Tripoli used to say- Juma Saaga- where we formed many concepts and revisited many issues- Everything has a plus and a minus.e

This picture is a small poem by the Arabian sea…a monument of love of grandchildren to their dear Nani-ji. When they first came to Malta in 2010, their grandmother had told me in  a sad voice-

“Give them so much love that they do not miss me.”

It was a tall order, which no one can fulfill, but even if one falls short, it is a good goal to try and measure oneself to.

The love of grandparents is so much different from the love of a parent. But there are some things, which have to be done, the way they are.

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PRAYERS AT NIRLON…MALAD

 

So the children moved from Pinnacle Malad to St.Edward’s Cottonera and every family has their secrets, ups and downs but they saw a different vision of the world, civilization and society.

A DIARY BY THE SEA

 

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2018-January- NANA-JI -with Grandsons..Many lovely hours spent walking by the Arabian sea

 

4.4 playing in sand in Aksa.Bombay may 2006

2006-AKSA-MUMBAI

 

JASOLA

 

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BROTHERS…Mayank-Sagar-Sahil…January 2018…see blog https://prashantbhatt.com/2010/06/29/children-growing/ for earlier perspective

 

Earlier perspectives…Walks in Lodhi

2012

Dusk at Lodhi

LODHI-July 2012-Shailu-ji, Mamta-Divya walking towards Bada Gumbad. Four generations of our family have walked in Lodhi Gardens. Mayank-met Snuggy dog here, one morning- when i showed them the gate on which is inscribed- 9 th April 1936..the day Lodhi gardens was established…Do you know on which Gate of Lodhi this inscription is? 

 

MAUSIJI…MY MOTHER’S SISTER

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VASANT KUNJ- The many notes and things about life which I learned from my Dear Mausa-ji, from Lullanagar Golibar Maidan Pune to the Walks in Lodhi Gardens and Palam of Delhi region came alive in many interesting ways in this great reunion.

My mother’s sister Abha Mausi-ji also celebrated her birthday around the same time. This reunion had many layers of emotions, as a sister remembered the days when she would visit Palam from the University campus in Sagar.

“I sometimes stand on the road facing Mahipalpur and think how it would have been if she had been there with us physically,” she says, being the person who probably misses her the most

MY FATHER’S SISTER

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DADI-JI……….Saraswati Bua-ji…the many evenings we used to spend in B Block park as toddlers

This picture with Saraswati Bua-ji, reminds us of the days when the boys were toddlers and would play in the B Block park of Palam in the evenings. The park is still there. I went and sat there for a while with my aunty, and felt the spirits of persons gone by.

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DEVRAJ-BHAI…The family grows..This year-his eldest son Mudit got married. And he wrote to us – You have been a part of us..do come.. Many memories came alive from Kankarkhera Meerut to Waterworks Agra to Palam Gurgaon

ON THEIR FIRST BIRTHDAYS

The two rooms in the first floor of Palam Vihar house has got pictures of five generations of our family. Framed and looking down upon us, are our ancestors, the many nuances of life in Garhwal in British India, to Shimla in the 1930s/40s and the way the family evolved through Benares and Delhi.

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The boys saw their pictures of their first birthdays, and the many connections we used to have in that period of stay in Palam. We stayed for six years in Palam, and that was the foundation of our many journeys.

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ON FIRST BIRTHDAYS- Sagar and Sahil with a picture of their father-Prashant-with his grandfathers-Ganesh Prasad Uniyal and Bhawani Shankar Bhatt-Nov 1968

AS TODDLERS…Many smiles at Palam

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2003- Sagar- when he used to study in L’avenir -Gnostic Centre

4 phone to guddi aunty

2003-SAHIL…Making phone to Guddi-aunty…the Bisht family who stay in front of us, Mr R S Bisht-his mother originally from our ancestral village of Uphalda-Srinagar -Garhwal-Uttarakhand. ..Sahil would run to their house, knock on the door and ask for Goodies

Our trees still grow there.

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OUR TREES STILL GROW IN PALAM..Seeing my sons with the trees planted by my parents gave rise to many mixed feelings. Remembered Richard Holloway’s words-in Leaving Alexandria-…I know now that roads choose us and what they unfold before us is not the person we want to be, but the person we already are, the person time slowly discloses to us.

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Here’s to our High School Days-Year End Diary-2017

The diary-keeper is an interventionist, the transmuter of what would be normally perishable into what must last. Without a diary, almost everything we do or say or think or feel slips very quickly into oblivion. The born or natural diarist-he is a special being and not like the rest of us- cannot bear that this should be so. It cannot be egotism which makes him write, “Saw Price the grocer uncrating oranges, “ or “Rain shakes the line of poplars”, but a kind of spiritual craving for holding such actions in his personal vision forever, or until the final entry.

Ronald Blythe-Penguin book of Diaries

* * * *

This year, my son Sagar, passed out of High school (Glenforest-Mississauga). My niece Divya-joined Medical school to become a third generation aspirant into the field of medicine.

Where-ever one goes, one finds some aspects of the local community which are interesting and worth learning from and imbibing.

 

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Central High School-Brant Street-Burlington

 

After acquiring some limited licenses to work in North America, work carries me to a place around 40 km away from my house in Mississauga, and there, I found this written on a wall of Central High School-Brant Street Burlington.  There is a quiet park- on Baldwin street- next to this school. During lunchtime, I sit in the Tim Horton’s at the junction of Victoria-Baldwin street and Brant street and browse through my yearly journals and letters of 2017.

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Wellington Park-Baldwin Steet-Burlington

 

 

JOINT FORCES-THIRD MIND

“I would have passed this exam in one week’s preparation”

A remark of an aunt who has never passed any academic exam after High School-to an international medical graduate (IMG) trying to carve his place in the system here.

* * *

 

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TIM HORTON DISCUSSIONS..From Victoria Park Avenue-North York, to Falstaff Road, to Eglinton-Kennedy-Mississauga to Brant street-Burlington..                                                                                 many nuances discussed over cups of coffee and soups

 

When two or more people come together in harmony- a third invisible intangible force comes into being. Many wisdom writers have written about this. I had long conversations with a young man in his late twenties, trying to carve a space for himself in the Canadian system. I learnt many things from this young man, who sometimes in his frustration and aspiration, wonders how I know these things. I then remind him that I too was some time –long time ago- his age.

As I reviewed the many notes –kept in a private journal- about the dialogues and dynamics of his family, his interactions with the different interviewers (some of them are very sweet- but they never get back with the job offer…to which I told him to be on guard with persons who are “very sweet” and make you off guard and get out the information) to the times when he has been going early in the morning to draw samples from nursing homes where Elderly people resist his attempts in different ways.

Sitting in different Tim Horton cafes from Falstaff road (Where I told him the story of Falstaff- the great character of Shakespeare’s history plays- King Henry V- and the tavern life which he represented, and was rebuffed when Prince Hal became the king)…to Victoria Park Avenue- where we would gather after the preparatory classes (where the instructor would explain around 10 MCQs in 3 hours, repeating the points again and again..and we realized how – sitting in a class which is uneven, with people of different levels of reading- one has to be very patient) ..to the Tim near 1 Eva Road-where we gave our different licensing exams.

What was she thinking?

“I would have passed this exam in one week’s preparation”

What was she thinking? …He gave me windows into worlds which I would never have come to know, different facets of Toronto life..what was his aunt thinking about this exam. As I told this young man to be patient, he told how people who do not know the spelling of Paediatrics try to teach him the immunization schedules.

A LETTER FROM YESTERDAY

As we did our rounds of Ryerson University and the introductory sessions tried to give us a window into the  University life of Toronto –Canada, my mind’s eye went back to the conversations I would have with my father, when he described his pre-medical study days –in Gol Market-Delhi and then the times when he became a medical student  (AIIMS-1958 joining batch).  That time, the family used to stay in Sarojini Nagar. Then I thought of my own times when I first entered university (MAMC-1985 batch) and the nuances and differences between the Delhi and Mumbai universities (Radiology-KEM-1993 batch).

JA

Mayank and Divya-Making Notes

JOINT DIARIES-2011- OCTOBER- Making notes together-Writing Joint diaries, reflecting on visits to Jim Corbett National park, the visit to Mussoorie-reading Ruskin Bond’s “Panther’s moon” and remembering the Aarti at Ramjhula Rishikesh where the environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna was also present the day the children attended

 

Being a medic, I do not know much about the intricacies of the Introduction to Engineering course which my son-Sagar is doing from Ryerson. All I can help him with is, sometimes picking him up when he returns late. However, it is different with my niece Divya- who  this year, joined Medical college and is trying to get to know the terms  of different subjects of medicine.

My father was a great mentor to me, and I wonder what he would have said , how he would have guided his grand-daughter. One of the meditations – I once got from a writing instructor was- Speak or Write in the voice of your favourite writer.

            Following this theme, I tried to tell Divya about what lesser mortals like us- who do not have “Photographic memory” (as some claim ) – do to pass Medicine and then get into specialist training.

The issue of repeated revision, mnemonics, and having a study-buddy- cannot be stressed more.

HIGH SCHOOL..AND BEYOND

 

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LODHI GARDENS-Sheesh Gumbad-many discussions over the years

 

As I pass by the Central school of Burlington, and think about this writing on the wall- To our High School days- I remember the many schools my children studied, in the year, when my elder son passed out of school. Starting from the play school of L’avenir- Gnostic centre, it has been a journey which made me look at systems, talk to different educators about their concept of education. Some teachers just go through the rounds, but some teachers do something extra, which sticks to the mind. I still remember my teachers Mr.Augustine Lobo of St.Vincent’s high school-Pune (1970s) and the English teacher Mrs.Majumdar of Army Public School-Delhi-1980s..who taught us students to look beyond the routine curriculum, appreciate the finer details which make life.

As I remember my talks with my sons-nephews-nieces- I felt happy remembering that my niece Divya was the only student in her high school class who could answer about the paintings to Thomas Daniels and Tilly Kettle of the Company period , and when her teacher of Birla Vidya Niketan asked how she knew, she told about her uncle who takes her for walks to the Purana Quila- Old Indraprastha fort and National Gallery where these are discussed and displayed.

HOME JOURNALS-LIBRARIES

As the year 2017 draws to a close, I browsed through some of the home and work journals. Some IMGs asked in an exasperated tone- “What does this system want from us?” To which there can be answers which can fill libraries. One instructor –Mr.Luciano –tells to be patient- not to rush and always remember- There is something inside me- that is stronger than the resistance outside me.

That could be a nice one-line answer to what this system wants..testing the strengths inside.

For those stuck in the mechanistic underemployment which many professionals find themselves in Canada, the one-word answer is –Worksheet.

The system here has tick-boxes on a worksheet. If you fit into the Tick-box of the Worksheet, you are through. If not, then you are out.

OTHER PERSPECTIVES OF THE YEAR-2017

For Notes on Thinking Places- See blog-

 

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ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDENS-BURLINGTON ONTARIO

 

 

Retelling the Stories of our Community-Museums as Thinking places

https://wp.me/piL5Q-1hM

 

2017 8 Huntsville-Trans Canadian trail

READINGS-HUNTSVILLE-ONTARIO

 

For Notes from Reading Journal-See Blog

Outside the Frame

https://wp.me/piL5Q-1i4

Readings in Riverwood

https://wp.me/p5YX3a-lA

EARLIER PERSPECTIVES-YEAR END DIARY NOTES

2011- In the year-end Diary of 2011 we pondered over the following statement

While many thinkers have  mused over how to start a revolution,

 not many think of how to end it.

…now in 2017-December-still thinking about the complexities.

https://prashantbhatt.com/2011/12/23/year-end-diary/

 

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TRIPOLI-LIBYA…Walls-2011….While many thinkers have  mused over how                                    to start a revolution,
 not many think of how to end it.

 

2014-Association with persons like Rumi encourage one to keep a spiritual diary.

https://prashantbhatt.com/2014/12/28/year-end-diary-2014-remembering-walks-and-readings/

 

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HAGIA SOPHIA..SULTANAHMET-ISTANBUL…The historical Constantinople

 

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Outside the Frame-Notes from my Reading journal-2017

“It’s – just – light a little candle”

Nurse-Una Brownly- a nurse from Livingstonia Mission, Malawi

In Paul Theroux’s –Dark Star Safari-

Overland from Cairo to Cape Town-page 311

“Many an object is not seen, though it falls within the range of our visual ray, because it does not come within the range of our intellectual ray.”

Henry David Thoreau

“This is how I want to get old,”said Lena, “with spirit like Miss Carrie’s. Connected, engaged. With people of every age,. Even the ones who are dead”

The Character Lena- in Frances Itani’s book- Requiem which was featured in Mississauga Library system- as part of One Book-One Mississauga, discussed in Central Library-on Sep 25,2017 as part of Canada 150 celebrations.

***

A reading journal is a great place to go back to, and refine expand shape our thoughts.

In the previous blog-we looked at some museums and galleries which we intentionally  developed as “thinking places”, ranging from Bradley Museum of Port Credit Mississauga, to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, to the galleries and many fine special exhibitions of Royal Ontario Museum

See blog https://wp.me/piL5Q-1hM

Retelling the Stories of our Community-Museums as Thinking places

On reviewing my Reading Journal of 2017, in which I have kept reflective notes on the courses seen together with my sons, the thinking places and museums we visited to shape –refine our thinking and the reading places- like Naturalization zone near our house, Riverwood- Port Credit-Edwards Botanical gardens where we went and read and discussed, I remembered similar discussions we used to have in Tripoli under the auspices of Tripoli reading group.

A Reading Journal is a fine way to develop Big Picture thinking.

In his book –Thinking for a change- John Maxwell writes that Big picture thinkers realize there is a world out there besides their own, and they make an effort to get outside of themselves and see other people’s worlds through their eyes. It’s hard to see the picture while inside the frame. To see how others see, you must first find out how they think. Becoming a good listener certainly helps with that.  So does getting over personal agenda and trying to take the other person’s perspective.

 

Reading a Novel- Novels have great lessons to teach about life. The reading of a novel is like the knowing of a person, place, situation, and helps develop long-term strategic and big-picture thinking.

If one intentionally keeps a Reading journal- to see what life lessons specific to one’s context are there in a piece of writing, the returns of reading are compounded exponentially.  As I attended the Book Club meetings of Mississauga Library system, I found that some veterans who had been attending such meetings for over a decade, saw me keep notes, and lamented the fact that there were no such notes of their many meetings over the past ten years. The Book Club members are very well read, and I found that they could add very interesting insights and expand one’s way of looking at seeing a literary work

NURSE UNA BROWNLY

The March discussion was on Paul Theroux’s – Great Railway Bazaar. Many people consider it a classic in the genre of travel writing. The first part of the route, to India, followed what was then known as the hippie trail. It sold 1.5 million copies upon release.

In 2006, Theroux retraced the journey, finding that people and places had changed, and that while he was famous for his earlier work he was not recognised in person. His account of this second journey was published as Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. (Wikipedia)

I expanded my own participation in the Book Club, by going through another work by the same author. For this I picked up –Dark Star Safari-Overland from Cairo to Cape Town.

In the book club discussion on Great Railway Bazaar, we had asked each other if we had been to any of the railway stations described in the book. I remembered my own trips to Istanbul from Tripoli. In my childhood, I have been on the narrow gauge train from Kalka to Shimla many times. Our family used to stay in Upper Kaithu Bazaar, Shimla, before shifting to Delhi region.

In reading –Dark Star Safari- I remembered my own trips to Cairo, and having lived in Africa (Libya) for long, the note on Nurse Una Brownly struck a deep chord.

 

It’s just-light a little candle

  Theroux met many interesting and important people in his overland journey through Africa.

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Theroux writes about his admiration for Nurse Una Brownly, a long-term medical worker in Africa for her humility, one of her greatest virtues being that she was unaware of how virtuous she was. She had not uttered a single word of sanctimony

(Sanctimony- pretended, affected or hypocritical religious devotion, righteousness )

She had no idea that I was a writer. Her sympathy was tempered by realism, yet she had not complained about her fate. No Malawian nurse or doctor would have gone near this public bus, nor taken a 3 day trip from Livingstonia to Lilongwe.

My soliciting her opinion on charity work in Africa seemed to amuse her, for it is a characteristic of the long-term expatriate health workers in Africa that they do their jobs without complaint or cynicism. (Page 311- Dark Star Safari-Paul Theroux)

 

On being pressed that so little had changed, this is practically the same country I left 35 years ago, maybe worse, the government doesn’t even care enough to help you, she replied

“It’s-just –light a little candle”

This was too broad a subject, she said with what seemed like hesitation but something that was actually a statement of fortitude..It’s just – light a little candle”…she went back to watching the road ahead, for we had entered the outer villages of Lilongwe District.

PERSPECTIVE NOTE- Having worked in Health sector in Libya for long, I came across many expatriate overseas workers who engaged with the local communities and served them for long. The Churches of different denominations in Tripoli –Benghazi region provided a platform where workers from different institutions could meet and exchange notes. The work of some businessmen in keeping the supply lines of medicines and reagents to run Dialysis centers gave a different window into the many facets of reality.

While we used to stay in capital Tripoli, where things were better, some of my colleagues opened my eyes to more harsher conditions in the interiors, where the facilities were worse and the rule of law was not existing even in more stable times of the previous regime.

At present, the dinar is trading at over 10 to a dollar.

I talked to workers who have come away from Ibn Sina of Sirte – after it was run over by Daeish.  These workers found work in Tripoli, Ras-al-Anuf, and Misrata, trying to piece together the different threads of their lives.

The way the managers of some clinics treat the expatriate health workers reflects Brinkmanship –Take it or Leave it, probably the managers assume that these workers are staying here in such difficult circumstances, so they do not have better options.

From the worker’s angle- once one leaves one’s country, one has to work through for at least some period of time, before changing course, otherwise, all efforts will be wasted and come to naught.

 

Earlier Perspectives

2008-Enrich your life- with a read a day

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“Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there”

 

                                                Lenny ..In the Home coming

 

Harold Pinter-Oct 10,1930 to Dec 25,2008

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-3S

2009- Subtle awakenings-Remembering Rishikesh at Apollonia

Recalling a 2006 Trip to Jebel Akhdar-Green mountains of Eastern Libya

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Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar uplands. The city was named after a spring, Kyre, which the Greeks consecrated to Apollo. It was also the seat of the Cyrenaics, a famous school of philosophy in the 4th century BC, founded by Aristippus, a disciple of Socrates. It was then nicknamed the “Athens of Africa”.(Wikipedia)

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-a7

2010-Readings of Idylls of the King-at Art Institute of Chicago

 

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MALTA-Floriana-CEMETERY-read- blog-Father’s Day Walk- https://wp.me/piL5Q-rY

The whole work recounts Arthur’s attempt and failure to lift up mankind and create a perfect kingdom, from his coming to power to his death at the hands of the traitor Mordred. (wikipedia)Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-bS

2011-Evacuations in Tripoli-Touch and go

 

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YASIN-Friends of Bouazizi

 

“ Miss Addams understood why each person had become what he was.

She didn’t condemn because she understood what life does to  people

To those of us who have everything and those of us who have nothing.”

From –Touch and Go-Studs Terkel’s Memoir

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-dx

2012-One year on-What is the change

 

One man may not kill. If he kills a fellow-creature, he is a murderer. If two, ten, a hundred men do so, they, too, are murderers. But a government or a nation may kill as many men as it chooses, and that will not be murder, but a great and noble action. 

                                                                        Leo Tolstoy

 

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-k3

2013-Kabir to Safir-Exploring Public domains

“I keep doing the same thing again and again and expect different results,”

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-z5

2014-Don Quixote-

We all start by laughing at the Don, we end by recognizing ourselves in him

Click here to read full post https://wp.me/piL5Q-Iy

Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery-Tripoli

2015-On her influences- Nobel Literature 2015- Svetlana Alexievich

Although Khatyn, by  Ales Adamovich was a work of fiction and Alexievich was a journalist, the method of closing one’s eyes to monument and listening to voices until the ruins underneath begin to move was the one that she made her own.

Click here to read full post http://wp.me/p5YX3a-c2

2016-Shafshoofa to Shakshooka

“We got rid of Shafshoofa, now we have Shakshooka”

Summary of the present situation in Libya

Shafshoofa-in Libyan Arabic was used to imply the Dictator-Gadhafi who had long hair-some said-full of lice. Shafshoofa Maleshi –became one of the most popular slogans of the Libyan Revolution of 2011

Shakshooka– In Local dialectic, this implies the chaos, “salaata” which has come to define our region with power cuts, hospitals running out of supplies, no proper schools,

No Liquidity-No Electricity-No Security

https://wp.me/p5YX3a-fQ

 

2016-On the 100th year of Russian Revolution-

we reviewed Animal Farm by George Orwell

Click here to read full post  Remembering George Orwell http://wp.me/p5YX3a-4k

 

 

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Retelling the Stories of our Community-Museums as Thinking places

When one goes into a group experience, one goes in as an individual but the impact and growth are immense if one tries to imbibe the group personality and lessons learned.

Looking back at 2017- I recall some interesting walks -tours and interactions in the Museums and Art Galleries of Mississauga, Hamilton, and Toronto

This year-2017-I intentionally built on this theme and visited some parks and museums-art galleries and developed them as “Thinking Places”.

Two libraries-The Frank McKechnie Centre Library of Bristol road-where we study and reflect, and the Courtney Park branch-where I attend the book club monthly meetings were also developed as Thinking places.

This led me to see a Great course-on Life Lessons from Great books-by J Rufus Fears – with my son Sahil. This year was also the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution. Listened to the lecture on Animal Farm by George Orwell-by Professor Fears with great attention –noting the differences and dynamics of Napoleon and Snowball.

BRADLEY MUSEUM-50 YEARS
The importance of a museum is to provide an awareness of the past, while providing a spring board for the future
Mayor Bonnie Crombie-speaking at 50 years of Bradley Museum

ART-MUSEUMS AS THINKING PLACES

The trips to Hamilton led me to meet Bill Manson, a local historian, who used to teach English literature and theatre before retiring around 15 years ago, and getting serious about the local histories of this town. The false fire alarm in the AGH –Art Gallery of Hamilton- led me to get talking about to this interesting person, and we discussed the transportation and roads of Hamilton. He gave a wonderful introduction into the workers’s lives in Hamilton –explaining the meanings behind the pictures displayed- the struggles of the workers in the textile mills.

PIECE WORK-SARA ANGELLUCI

Born in Hamilton to Italian immigrant parents, Sara Angelucci is well known for autobiographical work in a range of media including still photography, moving image, sonic performance and installation. With Piece Work, Angelucci’s latest body of work, she revisited her mother’s history as a garment worker, producing a new installation in collaboration with today’s workers at Coppley Apparel in downtown Hamilton.

ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM WALKS

The galleries of Royal Ontario Museum- in which we visited the Native galleries and also the special exhibition- The evidence room-Memories of the Holocast, the Blue whale exhibition , the Vikings , while having meals at Druxy’s cafe made for insights into the shape of the Canadian identity.

Walking the Diverse Galleries of ROM

EARLIER PERSPECTIVES

MISSING CHAPTERS

Missing Chapters-A joint collaboration of Royal Ontario Museum-Art Gallery of Mississauga

https://prashantbhatt.com/2017/06/28/missing-chapters/

Our Delhi Links- Reflections on Remembrance rituals-OUR JOURNEYS TOGETHER

https://prashantbhatt.com/2012/10/19/our-journeys-together/

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The Santa Parade-2017-Mississauga

No man stands so tall

As when he stoops to

Help a Child

Shriners Hospital for Children

 

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SANTA PARADE-2017-Mississsauga

 

The Santa Parade in Mississauga –Erin Mills made an occasion for many layers of discussions and reflection about the way life and community are organized in Peel-Halton regions.

HALTON DIARY

“My husband became involved with the band of Burlington after my son joined the music lessons in high school” – a Scottish origin lady, who came to Canada when she was five years old told me, over a conversation in Brant street,Burlington.

For the past two months, I have been going on the 403 West towards Burlington and Hamilton and have had some interesting conversations with Canadians who are more rooted in this society than the recently migrated Canadians who have come only a few years ago.

Talking to her, made me remember one Indian-Canadian friend and mentor who had told me when my family shifted here in 2012,

“Three years is regarded as a newcomer here. It takes time to settle down.”

He himself came here around 20 years ago.

“My son is now 26, so that makes it 15 years ago when my husband started learning to play the Bagpipe. For the first two years, he was just kept to get the orientation,” she told how her husband started playing this instrument when he was in his forties, and gradually, after a few years, was allowed to play in the Burlington Band, and now has been going to different occasions in Halton region, to Guelph, Burlington, Hamilton to play on different occasions.

This conversation led me and my son Sahil to the Erin Mills area where we attended the Mississauga Santa Parade. It was an interesting mix – and yes- we did see the Bagpipers in action.

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YEAR-END READING JOURNAL…A DISCUSSION IN ERIN MILLS

This year, we did the Great course on “Life Lessons from Great Books” (will discuss in detail in a later blog).

After the Parade- we went to a Tim Horton and discussed the books which my son has been told to read for the English project-Grade 12. The students are supposed to read and discuss one book of Classic literature, one Canadian author, and a spiritual religious book. Sahil selected- Persuasion by Jane Austen, The Day the Falls stood still by Cathy Buchanan, and Dhammapada. Later we discussed some excerpts from Naipaul’s essay – The Ghost of Eva Peron- in which he writes about the philosophy of the writer Borges.

DO YOU KEEP A READING JOURNAL?

A reading journal can enrich one’s reading in many interesting ways. In the  coming entries we will look at some of the works discussed in – Life Lessons from Great Books- and how keeping a reading journal increased our appreciation of these.

Earlier Perspective

  • Around our Independence day (Indian )- we discussed some works related to the formation of the Indian nation-
  • See blog

GARAM HAWA

This national Award winning movie, directed by M S Sathyu, with dialogues written by Kaifi Azmi, based on a short story by Ismat Chugtai, shows the struggles of a family of Muslims in United Provinces-Agra region- when they decide to stay back in India

 

https://wp.me/p5YX3a-kP

 

READING JOURNAL-A PASSAGE TO INDIA-E M FORSTER

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Benares-Maps

Recently my mother’s sisters went to Benares, where they grew up in 1950s/60s.

 

 

In a collage in my house, I have a picture of the Uniyal family, of Benares, in the 1960s.

Now, around 50 years down the line, I saw this picture of my aunts in the same house and saw these in a new light.

In his book –Self Matters- Dr. Phil comes up with many interesting exercises, one of which is to write our defining moments between the age of 1 and 5. (and also of other age periods of one’s life)

Seeing the many recent pictures of the house New E-10 of BHU campus, where my grandfather –Ganesh Prasad Uniyal used to teach political science, made me remember my own time, when between the ages of 1 and 5, I first visited Benares in the early 1970s.

I have no living memory of my paternal grandfather but have a good living memory of my maternal grandfather-GPU.

Like me, my sons too have no living memory of their paternal grandfather, but I have tried to reconstruct many aspects of his life, and tell these to my sons, so that they will get a sense of who their grandfather was, what was the India in which he grew up and lived, and what were the defining features of life in that period.

In his book- Self Matters- Dr.Phil McGraw puts an end to the ‘everyone’s a victim’ culture and tells you that self-esteem is about possibilities, not problems. He unravels the sense of self through the Ten defining moments, seven critical choices and five pivotal persons in your life. I first tried to answer the exercises written in Self Matters around Ten years ago. In this interesting book- Dr. Phil walks one through many processes and also helps one reflect on these defining moments, critical choices, pivotal relations by asking the following four questions

As you reflect on these times, once again:

  • How do you feel now?
  • What emotions are you now having?
  • What are you telling yourself about these events today?
  • What power and self-determination, if any did you lose to this event if it was a negative event?

(If it was positive, what did you learn or gain?)

Over the past ten years, since I first did these exercises in Self Matters- I have looked at my own answers and revised them –shaped and stretched my own thinking in different ways. While those self-reflective journals are private, there are many lessons which one can learn if one tries to apply and answer the questions.

Benares –where my grandparents stayed, where their daughters grew up,  has been a pivotal relation which has helped define my sense of family-community-society in many interesting ways.

 

ON LEGACY                                                                       

As I saw the recent pictures of Benares, my aunts visiting after many decades, the school where they studied, the university campus, the Ghats of Benares, one of the seven holiest cities of Hinduism, a city associated with great poet-thinkers like Tulsidas, Kabir, Ravidas, I recalled my uncle (Dr.Ram Prasad Nawani) telling –

Kabir na hote-to Tulsidas na Hote..

if there had been no Kabir, there would have been no Tulsidas.

Earlier perpectives-Discussions in B Block-Palam-2015-August

Devraj bhai, Saraswati bua-ji and Mausa-ji discussing Hindi literature.

Yadi Kabir na hote-toh Tulsidas no Hote

In a series remembering and telling about my father to my sons, I had told of how, Benares had been a place where my father got a feel of the family in a different way, as his own mother had passed away when he was less than five years old. Many memories and associations with Benares came alive as I went through these pictures. Using the matrix of Dr.Phil made me explore and reflect more closely on the meanings of these associations.

My father –Prem Narain Bhatt- was born in Shimla-in 1939, and his mother had passed away in the early 1940s. After his marriage in 1967, he first time came to have a sense of the family –in a more integrated way- when he associated with the Uniyal family of BHU.

They say-Grandchildren are the future which you will never see physically.

Benares-6

Watching the pictures of the garden on the campus,  I wondered if some of the larger trees could have been planted by my maternal grandfather.

UNRAVELING HISTORIES

These associations made me see the following lines of Michael Ondaatje in a fresh light

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A last chance for the clear history of the self

All our mothers and grandparents here

Our dismantled childhoods

In the buildings of the past.

Some great forty-day daydream

Before we bury the maps

(The Story-from the collection-Handwriting)

POWER AND SELF DETERMINATION

The life which is unexamined is not worth living

Plato

Over a period of time, one realizes the importance of the many stories, links,created through the photo-albums, collages and journals in our home library.

The links between the Shimla of the 1940s, Benares of the 1960s and Delhi of 1980s..and how these add and build into their different journeys and sense of self and family.

 

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On Poems and jottings

“My poetry is a declaration of war, not an exordium to defeat.

It is not the defeated soldier’s drumbeat of despair, but the fighting warrior’s will to win.

It is not the despirited voice of dejection but the stirring shout of victory.”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee- Former Prime Minister of India.

Writing notes, letters, jottings are part of a family tradition of ours. Our family is originally from the Garhwal Himalayas, but have traveled to many parts of the world.

2017-3 Delhi

DELHI-Poem composed by my Mausa-ji- Professor Ram Prasad Nawani

 

 

mausa-ji poems sep 2017

MAUSA-JI- Professor Ram Prasad Nawani- writing his poems. These pen pictures on diverse topics ranging from Delhi through the ages, to railway journeys, to the aging process evoke many memories of the sounds and scents of India

Think Globally, act locally concept was well illustrated while reading a school gazette of my sons

When my sons would study in St.Edward’s college-Malta, I came across a weekly gazette of the school, which served as a point of reference for the many facets of school life from the primary, secondary, to senior years, with an interesting note by the headmaster, an interview with some of the non-teaching staff who kept the system running. There were special notes on visits by dignitaries, professionals, or school trips , exchange programs or live-in experiences in the school. This interesting school magazine introduced me to facets like the stories of Sister Violet Briffa, the school through the world War II period, the origins of the school building and the background

See this video of The Chapel of St Edward’s college interiors which is part of the bastion which date back to the times of the Knights of St John. In the walls are inscribed the names of old Edwardians who fell in the World War. There is an inscription in memory of Sister Violet Briffa who served in the college for 38 years.

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GOZO CITADEL-Malta..many histories, musings, walks and reflections..it used to be one of my “Thinking Places” when our family used to stay in Malta

Our family is originally from the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand.

This school gazette inspired me to keep a “Family Gazette” which is one of the forms of communication between immediate and (select) extended family in which we see some of the nitty gritties of life as it has evolved in the past decades, we being originally from the Garhwal Himalayas.

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KARANPRAYAG-…Our souls are from these stones, we will return here, again and again, a veteran social activist told me, as we stood by the Pindar-Alaknanda confluence and discussed nuances of the character Karna-from Mahabharata

Karan Prayag-the meeting of Pindar and Alaknanda

Last November, when I was visiting a camp at Gauchar, I talked to a veteran who confided how his brother is the last family member living in his town-Nandprayag, and even he is not able to sustain only from the work of that area, and has to travel to district headquarters at Gopeshwar.  Most families of the hills, migrate  to the plains. There are many Garhwali families in Delhi region. Ours is one of them.

We have stayed in the Delhi region from the nineteen thirties, and four generations of our family have walked at Lodhi gardens, where my elder cousin brother still does Yoga every morning, on the lawns next to Bada Gumbad.

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Yogendra Dobhal..Dear Guddu Bhai..Walkers of Lodhi…

The garden tombs of Delhi have been a hub where we have discussed and learnt many things

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LODHI- See blog https://prashantbhatt.com/2013/05/24/exploring-the-seeds-of-time/

The Humayun tomb is one of our favorite “Reading places”.

It is on the footsteps of Bada Gumbad-Lodhi gardens, that my Uncle (Mausa-ji) explained to me many intricacies of family, community. Now through a distance, he has been sending regular short poems in instalments, and with his permission, I am posting one of his poems, handwritten in his neat writing, about the different stages of Delhi, as he has seen and experienced it. When I used to stay in Delhi, I used to go with him for morning walks to Raj Ghat-Shantivana area, or for evening walks through the Lutyens Delhi region and explore different facets of the architecture of Delhi. Who was the architect of South Block (answer-Herbert Baker)

2017-3 Delhi

APOLOGIES

In lieu of Translation..it is not out of laziness that I did not try to translate this poem, written in Devnagri script, but I hesitate as I am not skilful enough to bring out the essence in translation.

 

Other blogs-of interest –reflecting past perspective notes

2008- With the person who taught me to make notes-

My Mausa-ji-Professor Ram Prasad Nawani

 

2003-Palam Vihar

https://prashantbhatt.com/2008/12/23/with-the-person-who-taught-me-to-make-notes/

 

1999- Lodhi..walking with my Dadaji-Shri Kali Charan Bhatt,(my father’s Chacha-ji) he remembered coming here in 1940s

With K C Bhatt Oct 1999

4 generations of our family have walked Lodhi Gardens..This was in October 1999, with Dada ji of Agra https://prashantbhatt.com/2008/12/23/an-afternoon-at-lodhi-gardens-delhi/

 

2011-mayank-doing-rolly-polly

THE MANY FACETS OF DELHI-PURANA QUILA- Mayank doing Rolly Polly      See blog-2011- 
https://prashantbhatt.com/2011/10/22/writing-workshops-with-mayank/

 

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