Around Father’s Day-2022

This Father’s Day, went to pray at the Erindale park, Mississauga, and remembered similar trees in Shimla region of Himachal India, where we used to go for summer vacations from Pune in 1970s. Thoreau (1861) said of the white pine “There is no finer tree”.

ERINDALE PARK- MARCH 2022

I had taken my sons to Erindale in spring, and we had heard some old Hindi songs which were my father’s favourites. As I remember the walks in Lullanagar, Pune in childhood, I am filled with gratitude for the gift of the morning hour, when night turns into day, which my father and maternal grandfather gave me.

Flashcards, meditations, museums, 100-day plans, calendars, walks, tables are some of the other gifts which have enriched my life, which were given to me by my father.

HISTORICAL PLAQUE-ERINDALE -MISSISSAUGA (Source https://web.archive.org/web/20140225072509/http://www.waynecook.com/apeel.html)

FAMILY DAY-2022-FEBRUARY-RICHARD MEMORIAL PARK-

Work out your own salvation

Do not depend on others

                                    Buddha.

Some lessons my mother taught me…

Museums with children

PALAM-1999 HUMBER-2019-Old Mills-Toronto

SEE – BENARES-2017

I have no living memory of my paternal grandfather who passed away in April 1969. Through elder cousins I came to know that he was a lover of monuments, gardens, museums, trade fairs and exhibitions. Museum walks have been a part of the family tradition for generations. I tried to pass it on to my sons. Remember the walk in Bradley Museum, Port Credit, Mississauga, in June 2017, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its establishment.

2014-ONTARIO SCIENCE CENTRE-Special Exhibition-The Science of Rock and Roll

SEE

BRADLEY MUSEUM-50 YEARS-2017

MUSEUM WALKS- JODHPUR SPECIAL EXHIBITION..ROM-2019-AUGUST

Tables

Recently I met two batch mates of the Class of 1985, Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi. “Have you seen your mother talking in such a carefree manner before” I asked the batchmate’s son, who is himself now in university. In a great compliment her son said, he has. “So she has retained her sense of humour through the years…”

Sitting in Mississauga, Ontario, we talked about the days of Delhi Ridge in the 1980s…Setting tables are something which I learned from my father in many direct and indirect ways.

MANRESA-2022-MAY…Through meditations in the Sahyadris of Western India and the Himalayas, my father introduced me to the magic of retreats.

Collections

My father would send First Day covers from Nagaland-North East of India in 1970s. He would also send butterflies and leaves which are not seen in Western India. Those collections expanded on the stamps I had started collecting in primary school. Stamps made me learn about countries in Africa (where I later spent many happy years).

Burlington Ontario-2021-January- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

2021-APRIL-TUGS PLATFORM-TOBERMORY-Exploring Local histories

In the Bruce Trail..the Bruce trail is a public footpath spanning the entire Niagara Escarpment whose northern terminus was inaugurated in Tobermory in 1967-Canada’s Centennial Year. Named as “the trail to the Bruce” , the Bruce Peninsula and County are named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, Governor General of Canada (1847-1854). James Bruce never had the good fortune to walk the Bruce Trail. (https://brucetrail.org/pages/about-us/our-history)

My mother’s sister

Abha Mausi-ji and Mausa-ji-
Delhi-2022-June

Yesterday night, connected with my mother’s sister in Vasant Kunj. “ If your mother had been alive, we would have been in Palam” she said in a sad refrain. One of life’s lessons is feeling the spirit of the persons who have passed away physically. My father’s mother passed away in the 1940s when he was around five years old. But her presence was felt in our home, and my father would often talk about the mother he never had.

PALAM-2018-JANUARY

As we remembered the many of the extended family who have passed away before their time in the COVID19 waves, we saw some old pictures. She showed me a picture of her parents (my maternal grandparents) in Moscow in 1970s. I told her I have a version of the photograph with my aunt (the youngest of the three Uniyal sisters) with her parents. Remembered the Benares 2017 trip…the walks by the Ganga, the visit to E 10 BHU campus where the trees planted by my grandfather in the 1950s have grown tall.

BENARES-2017

SEE

LULLANAGAR-PUNE-1970 s

Remembering yester years

MALTA-2010

The museum walks that my father imbibed from his father, and I tried to pass on to my son, evolved into family albums and art libraries. We used to follow the calendar of the Manoel theater in Malta and spent some lovely hours there watching musicals and magic shows. The walks in Lullanagar, evolved to walks in Xlendi, Gozo in the Mediterranean to Trails in Ontario.

Graydon Rock-Mississauga,2018
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/
LODHI GARDENS-2016-With Guddu Bhai..(Shri Yogendra Dobhal)

RATTRAY-MARSH- 2019-OCTOBER

Readings,exploring silence in open spaces..some gifts from my father

Looking ahead

As my sons graduate from university and evolve to the next stage, I remember the day they graduated from High school (Gordon Graydon,2018-Mississauga).

GORDON GRAYDON-2018-JUNE…The last batch of Gordon Graydon Memorial,

Ogden Road, Mississauga.

References

Thoreau, Henry David (1861).The writings of Henry David Thoreau: Journal.p.33.

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Walks 2021

Our shared journeys together.

Last year we got a cycle, and I think I was riding one after almost twenty-five years.

We went to Central Island Toronto and rode the cycle through the parks. We went to Hanlan’s point on Sep 5, 2021, which  was the day in 1914 when Babe Ruth hit his first homerun. The islands have an interesting history.

Gardening, gym, kitchen, picnics, kept us busy.

Tobermory in April 2021, was the northernmost point of the Bruce Trail, which has been named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, Governor-General of Canada, 1847 to 1854, who never had the good fortune to walk the Bruce Trail. There are many interesting histories and facts related to the Bruce Trail which can be read here.

Niagara walks, where we first came as a family in 2013 continued in interesting ways, as we stayed there and visited the historical areas nearby. Remembering history walks of yesteryears- 2017-Bradley Museum celebrated fifty years.

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On Gaps – Letter from Jasola

Anything that you have, you can lose; anything you are attached to, you can be separated from; anything you love can be taken away from you.

Yet, if you have nothing to lose,

you have nothing

Richard Kalish, a deceased colleague of Kenneth Doka, quoted in his book – Grief is a journey.

Dr Doka is a preeminent expert on grief

***

Around ten years ago, my mother passed away in Delhi, India.

I asked my niece Divya, to write a few lines on how she remembered her grandmother, what lessons she learned from her, and what she has been doing for the past ten years.

The letter she wrote was one of the most touching legacies of my parents.

They say- Grandchildren are the future which you don’t see physically.

DELHI MEMORIES

A LETTER FROM JASOLA

Jasola- Delhi 2003- March

We used to sleep together in a room.

You would take my hands in your hand. After a while I would take my hand away . The last time we were together, before you were admitted to the hospital, I did not take my hand away . That was the last time. After you passed away I could not sleep in that room for a month.

I asked how the gap will fill .

To this an elder replied

The gaps don’t fill, they fade away


He taught me how to make notes
With dear Mausaji – Dr Ram Prasad Nawani
Palam- 2001
” Gaps don’t fill, they fade away “

PALAM – EACH CORNER MANY MEMORIES

I don’t go for walks towards C block any more

My father’s sister told in a sad tone. She would go for prayers to Sai Mandir with my mother, every Thursday.

Later they would sit in the B Block park.

In his book- Grief is a journey- Dr Ken Doka writes

“ In losing your sibling, you experience many secondary losses beyond the loss of perhaps your longest lasting relationship.

Now there is no one to share those special memories or to check your perceptions. There is a change to the feel of holidays or family events. “

Sisters- Palam- 2001

In August 2015, I took my mother’s sister Abha Mausi ji, to Palam after a long time. That experience made me realize the words of Dr Doka in a very personal immediate way.

Of all the persons who miss my mother, it is probably her sisters who misses her the most.

She requested the tenants if she could come inside the house. She walked quietly through the rooms .

A silence came over us.

Then she said –

Each corner has so many memories.

In Nov 2016 the two sisters went to Palam again- and we spent a few hours seeing old family albums.

RITUALS – DOSAS LETTERS MUSEUMS

Your dosas are missing

from the family meals.

Divya- 10 years- Remembering Nani ji

Creating personal rituals add to the layers of remembrance and honouring the memories of loved ones.

Letter writing is a habit which I got from my grandfather in 1970 s.

Writing a letter to a loved one who has passed away, is a remembrance ritual I have practiced regularly for over six years. Every month I write a letter to a loved one.

Sometimes I write book summaries to my grandfather. At times I have written how Diwali is celebrated in Canada to my grandmother who was a devotee.

This exercise helps one see the big picture, wear the Cosmic Hat and watch generations and geographies in a unique way.

Sometimes I take a perplexing to them.

Divya ‘ s letter brought forward these elements in intimate personal ways.

She told of her transition from school to college, the challenges of shifting from staying at home in Delhi to staying in hostel in Mysore in Southern India.

MUMBAI-2008

GOOD BYES – NO GOING BACK

The last long discussion I had with my mother was on phone – ( 2011- June) I was in Tripoli Libya , having decided to stay back in the Civil War and NATO bombings.

When I had started working in Tripoli- 2003- Sep, I knew that one day I may have to see my mother if she is in need.

But no one could have foreseen that I would be stuck in a No Fly War Zone.

I sometimes discussed this with a friend, a colleague, another long term expatriate worker – who too stayed in Libya for long. Of all my friends, family I felt he was probably the one person who would understand the complexity and dilemma.

LEPTIS MAGNA – Libya – 2016- The birth place of Roman emperor Septimus Severus. Mediterranean walks . Staying in Libya in war of 2011 left me in a No Fly Zone.

The summary of many long hours of discussions is in this sentence

“ Now you are so far ahead in this journey that there is no going back “

Every transition involves a loss.

Every relocation or migration involves Goodbyes.

ROBERT’S UNCLE – A PRAYER IN COTTONERA – MALTA

“ Mummy is it so dangerous in Libya that people are praying for them “

Sahil- my younger son asked his

mother after he returned from school

where they were praying for Robert’s uncle who was in Libya.

Graydon Rock – Mississauga 2021- June

Not all the costs of war are seen or can be counted or measured.

As his mother tried to downplay, he admitted that he did not tell anyone in his school that his father too was in the war in Libya.

And while he did pray for Robert’s uncle, he also silently prayed for his father.

WALKS – HIMALAYAS TO BRUCE TRAIL ONTARIO

Riverwood Mississauga- Ontario 2017- October

I had told Divya to write about the ten years gone by to her grandmother.

Her mind’s eye went back to the times when Nani would be sitting in the living room, their trips to Mumbai, Vaishno Devi, Shimla.

Walks are part of the family tradition.

My parents inculcated the love of the written word in me, and the love of museums and art galleries.

If we had taken a walk together in Ontario, she would have loved the Art Galleries of Ontario

We remember and learn and grow on

Ten years down the line.

Remembering trips to Mandirs, puddings and some conversations

Writing a letter to a loved one who has passed away, is a remembrance ritual which was taken to a new level by Divya – the granddaughter as she wrote about so many intimate aspects in touching details.

Gaps don’t fill, but do they fade away?

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