If a farmer who lived in 1000 AD woke up in 1500 AD he would still identify with many elements of life in medieval Europe or Asia . But if a farmer or factory worker of Delhi Agra or Toronto or Paris of 1500 woke up to the ring tone of a smartphone in 21 st century, he may be very surprised and wonder whether he has woken up in Heaven ( or Hell) .
( paraphrased for discussion from Yuval Harari’s book – Sapiens for an afternoon discussion over samosas in Erindale park Mississauga- May 29-2021)
A FEW MOMENTS MORE
As we sat on the banks of Credit river and the historic Erindale region of Mississauga, the mind’s eye went back to my uncle, who through his example over the decades, taught me about nurturing a library, building a reading journal and weaving it with walks near rivers ( Ganga Rishikesh- India we started these walks in 1970 s )
WALKERS AND READERS
My father and maternal grandfather gave me the gift of the morning hour when night turns into day.
IN RISHIKESH AREA – INDIA -1970s 80s
My uncles helped refine these walks through trips to Landour Mussoorie ( Uttarakhand India ) and Ramjhula – Laxman Jhula areas of Rishikesh.
Reading the same book in the open ( a park, mountain, riverside, lake) is a different experience than reading it sitting in a closed space ( room, library, bus, train)
So as my uncle passed to the other side Eternity- till we meet and read together again, I went through some pages of Rain in the Mountains by Ruskin Bond
– books which we read and loved together .
People we love become part of our biographies
Certainly we retain memories of that individual- memories that continue to inform , advise and guide us. Memories also nurture and warm our very being.
People we love become part of our biographies.
We cannot really separate ourselves from them. They have left an indelible mark on who we are, how we see ourselves. Being my sister and brother’s kid brother, as well as my mother and father’s son, help define the person I have become
( Paraphrased from Dr K Doka’s book – Grief is a journey)
Our readings and walks continue
READINGS – At Forks of Credit Ontario
From The Road Less Traveled – M Scott Peck
The lessons continue
Whenever I will read in the open, I will remember and feel your presence
As we walked through the woods of Bruce National Park – Tobermory , Sahil and I talked about the mother, as remembered by her daughter in the Alice Munro story – Friend of my youth
THE REALLY MYSTERIOUS PERSON
To me the really mysterious person in the story, as my mother told it, was Robert
Alice Munro – Friend of my Youth
This week I finally got the offer to give the Citizenship test of Canada.
Reflected on the many journeys walks we have made as a family as we took some time off from Mississauga and went to Tobermory.
The Bobcageon retreats in 2020- August and Niagara retreat of 2021- February have been refined further. In these retreats we have a relook at some literature as a way to see the world, through the eyes of a character in a story.
Beginnings 2003 – September Tripoli Libya
I first left India in 2003- September to work for a year in Tripoli Libya. I stayed on for thirteen years .
In those years I made friends with Diaspora from India and other countries, and developed close friendships with local Libyans who supported, guided me in my work and life.
One of my friends from this period who helped me see the world through different lenses helped show the power of attending a community service regularly
Over many cups of coffee and cake he showed me layers of reality in different construction projects he has participated in – over the decades.
“ I saw the Shah being ousted in Iran,(1979), Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait (1991) and the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya( 2011) “ he shared his insights, while we sat in Dahra Tripoli , after attending the Friday Mass at San Francisco church .
The congregation was led by Bishop Giovanni Martenelli ( Born Feb 5-1942 Italian Libya Died Dec 30-2019 Saccolongo Italy) those days
Suggested further readings
Remembering St Augustine of Hippo
Walks in Malta 2020-12
The family stayed in Sweiqi Malta for two years .
These years we became part of the Diaspora in Malta and learned from veterans of the Indian community who left British India when partition / independence happened and settled in the Mediterranean.
These veterans taught through their examples many layers which go into forming identities, keeping the legacy
Suggested further reading
Conversations in Identity
MISSISSAUGA ONTARIO 2021- July
In the initial years we spent lovely hours reading and discussing nuances of stories of authors such as Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri, Nadine Gordimer
Oh, she understood: the blacks, do they know, are they grateful to whites who endanger their own lives for them. So that was the set of tracks along which this one’s mind trundled; there were others who came up to her, sweating and pitched to their greatest intensity, Miss Burger you don’t know me but I want to tell you, the government calls him a Communist but your father is God’s man, the holy spirit of our Lord is in him, that’s why he is being persecuted.
Burger’s Daughter- Nadine Gordimer
A DAUGHTER REMEMBERS
This week , we went through some walks , stories and memories- as I remembered the first time I left India in Sep 2003 for Libya. Literature and keeping a “ Reading Journal “ have been a source of solace and gaining insights.
As we walked through the woods and touched upon the character Robert in the Alice Munro story – Friends of my youth- we reflected upon how the world looks like and feels to different characters.
The Lake Huron looks different from the Groto , and so do the stories we have read, reflected upon and discussed over the years.
END NOTE – Thanksgiving to the
Sahil talked about the teachers like Mr Blake ( English Gordon Graydon Mississauga 2018)
while I remembered teachers like Mrs Mulay , ( Kendriya Vidyalaya Southern Command – KVSC – Pune India 1981) who helped us to develop the love of the written word.
THE CAMERONIANS, I have discovered, are or were an uncompromising remnant of the Covenanters –those Scots who in the seventeenth century bound themselves, with God, to resist prayer books, bishops, any taint of popery or interference by the King. Their name comes from Richard Cameron, an outlawed, or “field,” preacher, soon cut down.
Alice Munro – Friends of my Youth
As we walked in the northern most point of the Bruce trail – listening to the whispers of breeze through the trees in the forest- we remembered and discussed some characters, how they viewed the world and how they changed ( or did not change) as the story progressed.
As we drove to Lake Erie from Niagara memories of the last visit , our walk through Drummond hill cemetery and monuments . There we meditated in front of the monument in memory of Laura Secord ( 1812-14 war) who walked over 20 miles to warn the British of an impending American attack.
ATHPULA AT LODHI – 2001
As I remember some walks of yesteryears this picture with the Athpula at Lodhi gardens – a bridge with eight pillars- one of the few monuments in Delhi surviving from the times of the rule of Emperor Akbar ( 1556-1605) , helped me revisit a part of our lives . On a warm sunny afternoon we would drive to Lodhi gardens and see the different nuances of the Tombs, rose gardens, or paths. I first started coming to Lodhi gardens regularly in mid 1980 s , when I was studying in Maulana Azad medical college, and staying in 194 Old Boy’s hostel- Bahadurshah Zafar Marg.
Revisiting Lodhi with different family members has been a source of reflection, renewal and remembrance of our biological and spiritual ancestors .
As the snow warnings cane true, we saw a partially frozen Niagara river flow with the ice into the falls and again freezing in the subzero conditions.
As we went through some essays on art and photography of Raghubir Singh , how he gave a visual expression to the Post Modernism of Calcutta( Kolkatta) Ganga, Rajasthan, Bombay ( Mumbai) our readings of yesteryears at Niagara came to mind. When Sagar was studying in Grade 10 – in Glenforest Mississauga, ( 2015-Summer) we had come here and read from Chris Bonnington’s “ Quest for Adventure” in which he gave examples of Strike and Siege style approaches to mountains . The difference between the Alpine and Himalayan expeditions
A FEW STEPS AHEAD OF RATTRAY
In June 2019 – Sagar went to China for over a month. On the eve of that journey we went together to Rattray Marsh , Port Credit, Mississauga, and spent some quiet moments reflecting on our many journeys together. On returning, he showed pictures to his visits to the Great Wall of China, the memorials of Nanjing, and the waterways of Shanghai.
We have taken a few steps ahead from Rattray Marsh, Port Credit Mississauga or the Athpula of Lodhi , Delhi where we started our journeys .