New Memories Project

“Maintain your relation with your sister. If someone returns after 20 years, and wants to then rebuild that relation, he will find that people have moved on in life.” Roughly paraphrased from a discussion with my friend and chartered accountant Mr.Vijay Kumar before leaving for Canada in 2012-July. Vijay-ji is my friend and guide in many ways, he knows me more than anyone else in a way.  He told me long ago- there are things you tell your CA, which even your family members will not know. Over the years and decades, I have found the truth in his assertion.

Applying his words in my context, I have maintained a –New Memories Project– with my sister and extended family in India. This is an area in which I am still growing, have many weaknesses, and limitations, but do an effort in that direction. Talking to my sister, following the life of her children, and also meeting-and sitting in the park with my father’s sister, helped me develop a perspective of the way life has shaped up.

blog-feb-2017-saraswati-bua-ji

B block-Palam Vihar-December 2016-Saraswati bua ji-my father’s sister. With her we talked about Shimla, Meerut, Kankarkhera, Delhi and many family journeys and associations. I met some of my mother’s friends, who used to sit with her,                                         in the evenings in the park at B Block

PERSONAL MEMORIES REQUEST

Around the birthday of my sister, 10.2, I got a request to write about some personal memories related to my father-a Cardiac anesthetist. Sifting through the notes of yester years, I found a series of articles I had written for my sons, in which I had written about the different facets of life in the different decades of his life,from pre school-early school years in Shimla, high school-premedical and medical college studies in Delhi-Agra and the graduation from medical college-joining the Indian Army Medical corps and marriage, and going into specialization and superspecialization.

blog-feb-17-bhatt-family-1970

1970-Bhatt Family-with my sister

PERSONAL MEMORIES– In the blog- Their eyes were my eyes- (August 2015) I had gone through some aspects of generations, See link http://wp.me/piL5Q-T3 )

As my sister celebrated her own birthday, now seeing her own children go through the high school years, the mind’s eye goes back to the Delhi of 1980s when we were high school students. We shifted to Delhi from Pune, where we did our preliminary schooling-and were associated with schools organized by the Pune Diocese. The culture of Delhi, a much larger city than Pune was different, and being North Indians we had many direct links with our extended family here.

IDENTITY-FUN, FREEDOM, FINDING ONESELF.

In the blog-Journeys together(June 2016) http://wp.me/piL5Q-13t we examined some journeys in India, Egypt, Canada and the talks with my sons, using the occasion of the birthday of my father, reading some works of literature and trying to relate these to our contexts.

See blog – Walkers at Lullanagar (August 2008) to get an idea of the rich tapestry of life in Pune region, and the many things my father introduced and encourage me into.

https://prashantbhatt.com/2008/08/19/walkers-at-lullanagar/

PERSONAL MEMORIES-JOINT JOURNALS– In November 2016 went for some further walks with my nephew Mayank- http://wp.me/piL5Q-15F and brother-sister-stood at the Ashoka Pillar, where our parents had brought us when we were children.

In remembering the Banaras, Pune, Delhi years of my parents, and trying to see them in the framework of destinies, hearts, homes, histories and seeing how these relations developed the family, and continue to influence us to this day, I came to know a bit more about the word Legacy.

DHARI-DEVI TEMPLE REGION-SRINAGAR -GARHWAL

MY GRAND MOTHER- who passed away when my father was around four years old, had a brother- Mr Khanduri. I went on a pilgrimage to Dhari Devi temple-Srinagar Garhwal with Shri B B Joshi and Kiran Joshi-Kiran Joshi being the daughter of my father’s Uncle-Mamaji

Finding and nurturing these contacts with sisters-has added a richness to life.

blog-feb-17-walks-dhari-deviblog-feb-17-walks-dhari-devi

Legacy is something handed down to you by a predecessor.

There are some civilizational and psychological constructs which are passed on by the life processes. Reflecting on the processes of family, career, relation of my parents in that phase of society, I think of the different resources which were available then and which are available now.

Character—who you are as a family, part of a group.

Relationships—who you know through your extended family and how that shapes you.

Knowledge—what you know about handling dynamics

Intuition—what you feel as conveyed by females and males.

Experience—where you’ve been in this journey of life with your partner.

Past success—what you’ve done with the educational, relational base you have built.

Ability—what you can do to develop a lasting platform, pass it on to next generation.

As I remember my parents I remember the many tangible-physical and also abstract-conceptual things which they passed on to me through their examples, experiences, energies. Thought about within the framework of family, I realize more than ever why family is supposed to be one of the most powerful words in the English language.

blog-feb-17-walks

Riverwood-Winter Walks-Canada-2016-December

The writer John Maxwell talks about Thinking Places. In the past few months, I revisited some Thinking places-in Delhi and Mississauga regions to develop the new Memories project.

Posted in Diary, life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Walks and conversations-Year end notes-2016

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

Plutarch
himalaya-hitkar-1himalaya-hitkar-2

himalaya-hitkar-3

Hitkar Himalaya Society- Mr.Sudhir Ranjan Bahuguna, Dr Panwar, Dr.Shrawan Rawat-Nagarasu-Chamoli-Uttarakhand, November 2016

himalaya-hitkar-4himalaya-hitkar-5himalaya-hitkar-6

Was going through some walks, conversations, experiences of 2016. Here are some video journals with Himalaya Hitkar society, in Uttarakhand, Garhwal Himalayas, India.

Mr.Sudhir Ranjan Bahuguna explains the origins of the Himalaya Hitkar society around 25 years ago, when there was an earthquake in Uttarkashi (1991).

 

“We are Pravasis- immigrants- living in the plains, in Delhi region, but our love for the hills brings us back here,” he explained, sitting over a cup of tea in Nagarasu , Chamoli a few kilometers before the Gauchar area. “This area served as a base for relief in 2013 when there were flash floods,” he told of more recent natural calamities.

 

About Hitkar Himalaya Society

He talked about the influences and inspiration of his father Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna- a journalist-publisher of “Devbhoomi” a weekly which he ran from 1950 to 1990. His sons Mr.Sudhir and Mr.Sameer Bahuguna completed the vision of their father to run this weekly for 50 years. Many journalists and social activists were mentored by his father. The Uttarakhand government has instituted a yearly award for journalists in the memory of Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna. He was inspired by his uncle Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna, who was one of the first lawyers of the Garhwal region.

Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna

Shri Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna-               18.02.1894- to 23.03.1943- one of the early influences on Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna.

asb-vlp-raja-hati-singh-jln

British India- around 1940- Shri Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijay Laxmi Pandit

asb

British India- around 1940- 

About Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna

Listening to these experiences, the truth of the above mentioned words of Plutarch came to mind.- “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

About the Gauchar Fair

Posted in Everyday History, Walks | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Around Christmas 2016

Amidst the downward tendency and proneness of things, when every voice is raised for a new road or another statute or a subscription of stock; for an improvement in dress, or in dentistry; for a new house or a larger business ; for a political party, or the division of an estate; will you not tolerate one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for thoughts and principles not marketable or perishable?

Emerson-Transcendentalist

Around Christmas 2016, went to some churches in Mississauga, and remembered some sermons and Churches of Tripoli region. In these places of spiritual regeneration heard some thoughts, principles which were not marketable or perishable.

CHURCH OF DAHRA-TRIPOLI

The Midnight mass of 2006 at San Francisco Catholic Church-Dahra Tripoli, headed by Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. The congregation which grows around a church has many manifestations. Here I met Nigerian footballer Carlos, who told about the different facets of community work, through making papers for illegal immigrants, visits to elderly, trying to help brothers caught up in prison system of Libya, to sisters who have been exploited. Through Carlos , I learnt about many things of the San Franscisco Church, which was established around 1937.

Here is a video of a Franciscan Friar-telling of the Bishop’s coat of Arms. When he became Bishop in 1985 Bishop Giovanni chose two words to guide him, Humility and Patience. These are inscribed in the Bishop’s coat of Arms.

CHURCHES IN MEDINA AREA-TRIPOLI
The site of St.George Orthodox church has served as a Turkish prison, a school, an art gallery. It is here that I talked in depth about the Civil war in Balkans, to get a perspective of the Serbs, who felt that that they have been wrongly targeted. Over the years, as NATO Bombed Libya, and seeing the ensuing chaos-five years on- we have no stable government, no army, no banks, one gets an idea of what NATO sponsored nation building amounts to.
“We were Europe before anyone dreamt of Europe” One member of the congregation of St.George smiled as we discussed how the EU will not give membership to Serbia.
In Medina, the Anglican Church has a different dynamic. One remembers fondly the many sermons prepared by Father Vasihar, which tell of who one can reinvent the body and resurrect the Soul.

These made me reflect on the different manifestations of the church.
The Choir, the food Harvest festival. Here is a Video of the different food stalls at the Anglican church-Medina-Tripoli-2015-November.

MISSISSAUGA CHURCHES
Having lived for long in historically Biblical lands (Libya, Malta) now seeing the churches in Mississauga, I could relate to the way these narratives have been linked.

MALTA-GOZO-CHURCHES
This year, I visited Malta and went to the Cathedral at the Citadel of Gozo and the Chapel of St.Edward’s Cottonera. (Click on photographs to see larger version)

around-christmas-2016-docx-7

Cathedral-Gozo Citadel

around-christmas-2016-docx-5

Chapel-St.Edward’s Cottonera

around-christmas-2016-docx-4

Remembering Sister Violet Briffa

around-christmas-2016-docx-6

Chapel-Building built around 1700

around-christmas-2016-docx-8

Interiors-Cathedral-Gozo

around-christmas-2016-docx-9

Gozo Cathedral

around-christmas-2016-docx-10

Gozo Cathedral

around-christmas-2016-docx-11

Views from Gozo Citadel

around-christmas-2016-docx-12

1864-Photograph of Bishop Buttugieg

Here are some churches-and the displays of the Saints and the Nativity story
In these Churches-Around Christmas 2016-I turned them into Reading Places- and went through the works of Brother Lawrence.

Click on images to see larger versions

BROTHER LAWRENCE-Went through the works of Brother Lawrence-written by Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, a lowly and unlearned man, who , after having been a footman and a soldier, was admitted a Lay Brother among the barefooted Carmelites at Paris in 1666, and was afterwards known as Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence told in his first conversation on 3rd August 1666, that GOD had done him a singular favor, in his conversion at the age of Eighteen. That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.

That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.-BROTHER LAWRENCE-1666

That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.-BROTHER LAWRENCE-1666

EARLIER PERSPECTIVES:

Being associated with the narratives of the Church- I went through the sermons given on North African Christian Spiritual traditions-by Father Daniel-about St Augustine of Hippo in 2012 and the discussions on Charles Freer Andrews with Father Vasihar.

Those interested can see these blogs

2012-Musings around Easter-Remembering St.Augustine of Hippo http://wp.me/piL5Q-oN

2012-5-Ta Pinu Monastery-Gozo http://wp.me/piL5Q-pC

2014-March-Remembering Charlie Andrews http://wp.me/piL5Q-Dx

2014-9- Intimate Links http://wp.me/piL5Q-Fk

In better times, we have visited many cemeteries across Libya.

(we also used to visit the museum-now closed and zoo –now closed and the Theaters-Temples at Sabratha-now limiting non-essential travel as much as possible)

Albert Schweitzer said- “The Tombs of young men, are messengers for peace.” I saw this inscription at the gates of the German cemetery of Tobruk (where the elected House of Representatives now sit instead of the capital Tripoli, safely away by over a thousand kilometers!).

Posted in Art, Church, Everyday History, life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Adaptor

Views from Gozo Citadel, Malta-5.8.16

Views from Gozo Citadel, Malta-5.8.16

16.12.16-Mississauga Diary- went to the Discount store at Dundas-Hurontario and found the adaptor for the European plugs, made a toast with a toaster gifted by a friend in Tripoli, and now have put on the Computer which I had got from Tripoli.

Diary writing- I have been a diary writer for over 33 years, right from the days of Pratap Chowk, Delhi cantonment, when I used to log the number of kilometers run, in how much time , and the subjects studied, what time, and how much revision is required.

Journal writing– A journal is different from a diary-which records day to day events, while a journal expands, analyzes, questions, transforms, specific topics.

Year End Notes-of a Travel Journal

Started the entries in the past week, in the spirit of a joint journal.

MISSSISSAUGA VIEWINGS…as I looked back into the journeys and walks of the year 2016, I remembered by friend from Tripoli- Dr.Moftah Hadeed and how we had gone to the Old Medina of Tripoli and visited Tripolis restaurant. Then in coming months, we came here with different friends. The beginning of the year also saw the start of the Abosita walking program, the scent of fresh sea breeze, in the morning hour, before night turns into day.

GOZO MUSIC…In August this year, recorded this from Gozo Citadel with lovely views of the sea, and the beautiful island of Gozo

gozo-1

Gozo Citadel Museum

BOBBIN LACE at the Citadel

PERPSECTIVE NOTE: Wondering how getting this adaptor, sparked off so many nice memories.

This is one of the joys of diary-journal keeping.

Posted in life | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Maturing or Prospering..perspectives

DSC_0260

Gozo Citadel-August 2016

Pulitzer Prize– winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in prison during the Soviet era for criticizing Joseph Stalin. He went into prison an atheist and came out a person of faith . The experience didn’t leave him bitter. It left him grateful for the development of his faith and the strengthening of his character. Looking back on the experience, he said, “I bless you, prison— I bless you for being in my life— for there lying on rotting prison straw, I learned the object of life is not prospering as I had grown up believing , but the maturing of the soul.”

John Maxwell, in his book , The15 invaluable laws of growth.
In the growth journal, one of the themes I built upon is how when two or more persons come together, they create a unified separate force, which different writers have described..something like a Joint personality of the group.

MATURING OF PROCESSES

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sabratha..2007

 

A few days back, I sat with my uncle in my family home, and he talked with great emotion of the time when he cremated his father at around 12 years of age. He is Sagittarian like me, 20 years elder, and taught me to make notes, ( a habit which I have used in many different ways) . He knows me from my primary school days. I told him of the processes involved with the practice – Write a letter to a loved one who has passed away – a practice I have been doing regularly for around two years. The initial flow was a bit awkward, but then slowly, we went into many places , each family having it’ s spoken and unspoken truths, or as the writer James Ellroy writes…My Dark Places.

How does a letter change the dynamics?

If life is seen, not as a means of prospering, but of maturing of the soul, the monthly letters,start giving a picture of span of decades. Then.one starts watching the tone of one’ s voice, which sometimes becomes irritated, in the day to day frustrations. If one keeps a soan if fifty,hundred years, some day to day limitations will just melt away.

JOINT FORCE OR PERSONALITY

Port credit Readings

Port Credit-Mississauga, October 2014 : MERCHANT OF VENICE Many lovely hours spent at Port Credit- Discussing Nuances of Literature How Shakespeare created characters such as Shylock and Falstaff, who outgrew the confines of their play, and talk to people through the centuries. …………revenge! I’ll treat you as badly as you Christians taught me to— and you’ll be lucky if I don’t outdo my teachers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_5adzpdkdw

 

Does the joint personality evolve similarly for all persons concerned?

A fourteen year old will.look at the Qutub with a different eye . Recently,I took my sister there, and we told our young fourteen year old, how our parents had brought us here. Maybe, some day, he will also.bring his children here and remember us.

INTEGRATING THESE INTO A GROWTH JOURNAL

In.the chapter Law of the Ladder,John.Maxwell writes that character growth.determines your personal growth. Using the tools of
Writing letters, joint discussions on.shape of different facets of family life, and walks with joint journals with persons of different age groups in.the family, I.saw these as opportunities to.grow one’ s perspectives.

Do you remember any such relation?

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joint Journal 21.11.16

Your family’ s collective personality ,a bundle of all the personalities, subsysytems, roles and rules that exist,values embraced, togetherness ( or lack of) in which you live,standards and expectations and the thoughts and beliefs you share. The collective personality of the family can affirm and build on what you have to start with or it can countermand and erode the family unit.

Dr Phil McGraw,

..

Every journey has its surprises.

Using travelogue to generate conversations,joint journals, experiences, I took my sister Shailu and nephew Mayank to some monuments,institutions in Delhi, and later drove to Palam ,saw some family albums, momentoes, and prayed together

A TEENAGER’S TALKS AT SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM

aurobindo-ashram-21-11-16

Aurobindo Ashram-Delhi-21.11.16

As we went around the campus of Sri Aurobindo ashram,Mayank remembered how he had been.a bit afraid of exploring the Kutir, next to the Samadhi memorial of the founder of Aurobindo ashram,Delhi,S N Jauhar. He said he wants to explore what is inside the Kutir.
I asked him what he would do if it was closed. He smiled and said he would force it open. ( but he did not)
He saw a ladder and told that he wants to climb the roof. When I told it is for cleaning, he said he will volunteer to clean the roof. A peacock is there in the campus now.

These titbits of our talks,walks in the ashram made a good start of the day.

These were of a different dynamic and focus than the Sunday. Satsang where the speaker had spoken on the relevance
of Vedas in 21 st century India.

QUTUB GROUP OF MONUMENTS
WORLD ARCHEOLOGY WEEK

qutub-21-11-16

Qutub Minar-21.11.16

Saw a beautiful book on 150 years of Archeology Survey of India ( ASI). But the shop was not accepting credit/ debit cards and the present economic emergency in India makes one wary of spending too much cash. From 9 th November, 500/1000 notes have ceased to be legal tenders,in PM Modi’ s campaign against Black money.

Memories…Told Mayank how our father had brought us here, around 35 years ago, and we had stood beside the Iron Pillar and looked at Qutub Minar.
Now we took pictures with Mayank at the same spot. The Qutub group of monuments have been a place of visit,picnic for four generations of our family. My elder cousins tell how my paternal grandfather ( of whom I have no living memory,as he passed away when I was one year old) used to bring them to Qutub,tell them to take rounds,while he rested on the grass.
Shailu remembered coming here in 2011 with Sagar,Sahil,Mamta,along with Divya,Mayank.

REFLECTION…on the shape of family,directions…now with children in high school, they are concentrating more on getting entrance to college,good professional courses. Maybe at a later date, they will rejoin me in this joint journey of exploring and sitting in monuments,to read and reflect.

palam-trees-growing

Trees at Palam

WORDS OF DR PHIL..On the joint personality of family….The writer psychologist Dr Phil always tells in his books, not to read them passively, but take out a pen and put your own inputs on the different exercises he tells about on paper. Once you put them on paper,you can study your thoughts,like you study your face in a mirror.

I have read and applied many of Dr Phil’ s books, and they are a great help. The above mentioned lines of Dr Phil on the joint personality of a Family or Group,if applied consciously, are a great way to generate perspective
Through walks and meditations , reflecting in silence at monuments like the Relics of Sri Aurobindo, the Qutub Minar, remembering our previous visits there,recalling some conversations, one gets an idea of the values,togetherness and roles- rules different persons play

PALAM….and then we went to Palam, and prayed ,saw some photo albums, and momentoes.

Posted in life | 2 Comments

Collections make Connections

palam-collections-connections-1

Collections make Connections- Palam Vihar

We spent a few days in my house in Palam Vihar (Nov 2016)

Did a lot of cleaning and review of collections. This is an emblem from my father’s days in Nagaland -1979. Behind it is a painting in wood, which he had collected in Khadki days of Pune-around 1972. In the foreground is an earthen pot gifted by a dear one, to my mother. The Sphinx I got from Cairo-2004 is in the foreground

Posted in Diary | 2 Comments