A few moments more

Perfectionism is a dangerous state of mind in an imperfect world. The best way is to forget doubts and set about the task at hand…if you are doing your best, you will not have time to worry about failure.”

Robert Hillyer, Poet and Harvard Professor

as quoted in John Maxwell’s book-The 360 Degree Leader

28 6 18 Gordon Graydon Graduation-2018

On the morning of the last day of school of my younger son Sahil, I went with him to Gordon Graydon memorial school to collect his last report card. We drove past Cawthra road to Ogden Avenue and memories of the first time he had taken me to this school four years ago, came alive. The accepting spirit of the staff here came alive in many ways over the years, as they guided my son through the high school grades.

“I see a future college university level student in him,” his French teacher in Grade 9-  Mr. Spanier had told me encouragingly as I had attended the first Parent Teacher meeting session in Gordon Graydon in 2014, a bit worried how he will transition from Camilla to Gordon Graydon.

“ He is a bit quiet but does his work. In building a life and room for ourselves in this society, new immigrants sometimes are not able to cope up with some aspects of parenting. This is internalized in many different ways by students-who themselves are transitioning through society, life, adolescence. This may lead to some children becoming very quiet.” Ms.Anton, the Physics teacher told us in the last Parent Teacher meeting we had, summarizing many currents.

THE FINALE-PRINCIPAL JEFF SCHUST ADDRESS

It was an emotional Graduation ceremony, as the class of 2018 will be the last graduating class of this school as the school closes its doors after 61 years of service to the community. Speakers with long-term relations addressed their relation to the school and its legacy, the tradition of education.

 

THE ADULT LEARNING SCHOOL- Valedictorian story

The story of the moth, needing time to grow out of the cocoon, was told very movingly. This has many lessons for all of us, in whatever stage of life we may be in

The above-quoted words of Robert Hillyer-on perfectionism in an imperfect world, matched the story of the moth and the cocoon, with struggle being the basis of growth, freedom, and flight

A FEW MOMENTS MORE

As we finished the ceremonies and the refreshments, we started walking back towards the car. Then Sahil gave us another nice memory and lesson of the day, as we parents in our haste to get on with our other commitments were told- I want to stay a few moments more.

Sahil stood quietly on the lawns of Cawthra school, where this final graduation ceremony of Gordon Graydon was held. He did not mingle with the crowd, but just stood on the side and watched the energy and enthusiasm of the students and staff. I do not know what exactly went through this young man’s mind, as he is on the threshold of a new chapter in his life.

But as a parent, I saw the movie of his school days come across me, in a few magical moments. I remembered the times he told of his school trips to Stratford, in 2016, on the 400th birth anniversary of Shakespeare. Or the times when he would go for live-Ins in St.Edward’s college-Malta. Or the times when he won the three-legged race in Pinnacle High –Malad-Mumbai (see blog- 2009-March- A three-legged race https://prashantbhatt.com/2009/03/02/three-legged-race/). He started his educational journey in play school in L’avenir –The Future- a school run by the Gnostic center, Delhi. As I thought of the different teachers and institutions who in their many creative dedicated ways shaped the identity of Sahil, a feeling of gratitude came across.

AFTERTHOUGHTS IN ARCH OF MARCUS AURELIUS-TRIPOLI-2009-MAY

In your actions, don’t procrastinate
In your conversations, don’t confuse.
In your thoughts, don’t wander.
In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive.
In your life, don’t be all about business
Marcus Aurelius, Stoic Philosopher

The Stoics counseled that perfection and contentment could be reached through reason, simple living, indifference to pain and death, and social equality.

To the Stoics, a wise man was one who played the cards that were dealt him, uncomplainingly and with dignity, whether a slave or a king

Keeping reading journals and using literature as a framework has been a quest over the years.

Earlier perspectives- See blog-Readings in Riverwood

AUGUST 2015 https://prashantbhatt.com/2015/08/15/walks-and-meditations-around-riverwood-mississauga/

OCTOBER 2017 https://gracereadings.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/earlier-perspectives-readings-in-riverwood/

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Around Father’s Day-2018

Our family comes originally from the hills of Garhwal-and in Nov 2016, I had the good opportunity to pray and reflect at the Dhari Devi Temple where our family has prayed for generations.

This Father’s Day, 2018, I sat with my sons over a quiet meal and showed them some momentoes of the family- the Medals my father got over the decades of service to the Indian army. This year, I tried to guide my son Sagar and niece Divya into higher education, and try in my own way to explain the difference between school education and professional education.

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AROUND THE GANGA-Our family comes from the villages of Garhwal Himalayas, before the Ganga is known as the Ganga- at Devprayag..This is Alaknanda- around Chamoli area.Nov 2016

BE AVAILABLE-BE CAPABLE

Wilket Creek is one of my thinking places, and here, I have come over the years and try to break down complex issues into manageable parts , think through them and then create new possibilities and realities.

Micromanaging Teenagers?

As a father – it is challenging and frustrating to try and micro-manage teenagers who are trying to break into the professional studies

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GOZO CITADEL- MALTESE ISLANDS..BUILDING PERSPECTIVES AND CONTEXTS…When our family stayed in Malta-I came across seniors who showed me some of the challenges ahead-About Micromanaging Teenagers- a thing which one should not try…Over walks in and around Maltese islands, going for history walks in places like the Gozo citadel, built perspectives and contexts

The more you try-the more difficult it will become, so do not try too much- One senior told me, as he recalled his own efforts a few years ago, when he tried to convince his son, a brilliant high school student to not take up a literature course in Classics, the current world requires some more practical professional degrees.

The son did not listen, and went off to study classical literature at a University level, when he could have taken any course of his choice, based on his brilliant performance in the High school level.

For this, one has to try and balance –between not going into an overdrive –while being available to revise and think through the key aspects.

One has to try not to micro-manage, and just be available if they seek counsel, and try to give it in as capable-brief and relevant manner as possible.

These are aspects with whom I struggle and try to address in my own way, and this Father’s day, looking back on the year gone by, and also the times when I was a fresh professional student- on how to give direction and guidance, while not trying to micro-manage.

 

WILKET CREEK

a place where I went back and reflected upon the different public and educational institutions of which we became a part of-as our family started staying in Greater Toronto Area-GTA.

EARLIER PERSPECTIVES

As my younger son Sahil will pass out of Grade 12-(Gordon Graydon) this year, I look back at some thoughts shared at the Graduation day of my elder son Sagar-last year-at Glenforest

OVER WALKS..

We went for walks- to talk things over – around Father’s day and I looked back on some of the walks we went this year

 

2017 8 Algonquin-Canoe Lake

ALGONQUIN…many stories about people who walked these trails before..the paintings of Tom Thomson, the efforts of Taylor Statten-II – see https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/child-psychiatrist-dr-taylor-statten-ii-was-an-inspiration-to-young-campers/article31473457/…for further nuances…People who built parts of the Canadian identity

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Diary as a Looking Glass

 

The diary is a looking glass. At first it reflects the diarist.

But it ends by revealing the reader

Stefan Kanfer, in Introduction to Penguin Book of Diaries.

Selected by Ronald Blythe

* * * * * * *

What would a family member have written about a day trip- fifty years ago?

 

As we roamed around in Riverwood , Jack Darling, Rattray Marsh areas of Mississauga, and I showed Hardik and Aarti, the many places where we have read and walked in Riverwood- this question made me think of the many journeys done by different sections of the family over time.

MISSISSAUGA TRAILS.

The Yellow Trail is different from the Red Trail. Then we walked towards Erindale park and sat on a bench where we have come many times over the years and read-reflected on works of literature. Today, (20.5.18-Sunday) we went through the introductions and some thoughts on the Penguin Book of diaries from our home library.

 


VANCOUVER  EXPERIENCES

Hardik told of the day he managed to get an interview with a university representative in Churchgate area and how he drove in his Splendour Motorcycle from Bhiwandi.

That trip has now evolved into many journeys, and he visited Niagara to see the Sound and Lights on Victoria day.

Now he goes to New Jersey to visit his uncle, who once gifted him a tennis racket- and there were some of his colony friends who commented that this was a strange type of badminton racket.

Hardik has come a long way from the time he would think of setting up a Gaming company or help his father with the pharmacy.

Learned many things regarding the running of two branches of the Car Rental Enterprise company, from the Business model to the time when a colleague told his Manager-(Mr.Hardik)…

“ I am closing the branch in five minutes and leaving. There is an emergency in my daughter’s school.”

The Manager has to think fast.

“Can you wait for fifteen minutes while I try to arrange something?”

He could not let his Branch close down in the middle of the day.

READING JOURNAL

These places are also part of our Reading journal –Thinking place exercises.

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Rattray Marsh-Port Credit-Mississauga-One of our Thinking -Reading places

What does a particular work of literature or art tell us about humanity? With Appu, who had come from Vasai-Malad, we had discussed Howard Zinn’s- A People’s History of United States and browsed through some pages from Teresa Albuquerque’s- Bassein-The Portuguese  Interlude.

This Sunday, while walking through Riverwood’s –Yellow Trail, I told Hardik about the last book we discussed in the 2017-2018 year of the Courtney Park Book Club.

In the pre-discussion entry of Anthony Doerr’s book-see blog  https://wp.me/p5YX3a-mm I felt that some characters like Von Rumpel- the gemologist, who may have not been the main protagonists start developing a stronger voice than Werner or Marie Laure.

What new insights were gained through the Book Club discussion

Reading and then rating a book out of 10 can be an interesting exercise. This had been mentioned in the previous blogs- discussing Jack Reacher’s

Then the members give their comments and rating on the books- this is followed by discussions on the characters, plot, genre and what we can get out of this particular work of literature.

See blog-  for a detailed discussion  https://wp.me/p5YX3a-mb on what makes a character like Jack Reacher so durable, can such a character exist, what other types of wars exist.

Some interesting insights after discussions on Doerr’s novel

  • As a genre I do not like reading war novels….
  • What about the French Resistance Kangaroo courts…
  • Bildungsroman novels- Sunil Gangopadhyaya’s –Sei Samay-Those Days

While those many discussions are probably best not made directly public, the discussion did make a setting to explore whether Doerr’s Pulitzer prize winning novel- could fall into a coming of age –Bildungsroman –novel. Maybe I am biased, but I feel that Sunil Gangopadhyaya’s novel –Sei Semay- is definitely a more nuanced historical novel than Doerr’s work.

SEI SAMAY- THOSE DAYS-

Set against the backdrop of the Bengal Renaissance and the rebellion of 1857, the novel revolves around the lives of great men including reformers like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Debendranath Tagore and his father Dwarkanath Tagore, and also poets like Michael Madhusudan Dutt. Originally written in Bengali, Those Days was translated by Aruna Chakravarti and combines history with fiction in the perfect manner.

Was the Bengal Renaissance the seed-time of nationalistic fervor that culminated in the Swadeshi Movement? Was it more in the nature of an enlightenment? Or was it a form of religious revivalism or Hindu nationalism, the betenoir of the secularists?

In Gangopadhyay’s world of the Bengal Renaissance, there are the good Europeans such as David Hare and John Bethune, sympathetic to the Indian cause just as there are bad Englishmen who comprise the bulk of the trading and missionary classes.

There are plenty of bad natives too: servile, decadent and collusive.(1)

FIFTY YEARS AGO

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LODHI-GARDENS-Delhi

The many walks in Lodhi gardens-Delhi, where four generations of our family have walked, or the hills and rivers –streams in and around the Rishikesh-Dehradun, or the hill temples in and around Shimla region would be the setting of some day trips of the family- if they had been written fifty years ago.

In the case of Buddhdeo family – many nuances of the journey which his father and grandfather took, the family having migrated from Karachi of what was then British India, came alive.

This thought made me recall conversations with senior family members, about their swimming in the waters of Nandprayag-Garhwal or the times when they would go to Benares-to visit their Jijaji and Didi (My grandfather-GPU-used to teach in BHU..see blog..https://prashantbhatt.com/family-photographs/

END NOTE

The family day trip, through nature trails, opened up many aspects of nature, family, reading journal and our home library. Later, when we returned, I showed them some pictures and relics, the momento given to my Father, on his retirement from Indian Army, after 33 years of service-on April 4,1996, which we have in our living room in Mississauga. These opened up other conversations and many nuances of family histories and associations with different institutions.

 

References- Suggested Further readings

https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/society-the-arts/books/story/19971013-book-review-sunil-gangopadhyays-those-days-a-novel-830716-1997-10-13

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Ophir-to-Bassein: Some discussions from our Home Library

The marathons of adventure are to Himalayan peaks, to the Poles, and across the oceans

Chris Bonnington-Quest for Adventure

 

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EXPLORING LOCAL HISTORIES-Vasai-Bassein-mentioned in Bible as Ophir

Having a home library is a step different from being part of a public library. Over some discussions and readings, we evolved this concept a bit further. Here are some illustrations which form a part of our intellectual adventure and family legacy.

Over the years, I have developed some journals-individual and joint- through readings and re-readings of books in our home library. As Appu visits from Mumbai, we had the opportunity of going through some books of the home library, and I showed her and read some excerpts from the first book in the Home Library at our Mississauga home-the Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru- which was gifted to me by my grandfather-Professor Ganesh Prasad Uniyal- on my fifteenth birthday-in 1982-November.

I invited Appu to read from any of the many books in our home library and was glad that she zeroed in on-Howard Zinn’s- People’s history of the United States.

She is finding the book interesting- and we discussed some parts of relatively recent history-25 years ago- the bombing of Yugoslavia during the Clinton Presidency years-and I told her of two countries with whose people, I have stayed and had many conversations-who have been affected by NATO’s Nation Building- Yugoslavia and Libya.

For refreshing memory- here is a video of a Reading from the Autobiography of Nehru in Riverwood-area-discussing his evolution of the concept of Non-cooperation through readings of Charlie Andrews and discussions with Gandhi-ji and Tagore.

Quest for adventure

Appu has been to many parts of the world, and this is her second visit to Canada, and she is the first person from our family from India to visit our new home in Mississauga, having come here earlier when we used to stay in 905 Ovation, near the Celebration square.  Now, in Candlestick, we have a Naturalization zone close to our house, and we went there in the morning and read excerpts from some books – One of them being the history of Bassein-by Dr.Teresa Albuquerque of Bombay Local History Society.

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Tim Horton’s-DIXIE-Mississauga-Book discussions -2018-4

The Marathons of Adventure-…in his book “Quest for Adventure” Chris Bonnington talks of the marathons of adventure and compares them with different levels –ranging from a sprint to a marathon. The 100 yard dashes of adventure are activities which are very intense but of short duration. Take a short afternoon trip to Riverwood area-or Port Credit or even a two day trip to Niagara.

Taking such local excursions in and around the place you stay-say Mumbai-from where we can go to Vasai fort or Manoribel or for a trip with Bombay Natural history society-to have Breakfast with butterflies- is different from going to see local areas in a far off country like Canada- where through this and previous visits-we saw together the Toronto zoo- one of the best zoos in the world-or explored the nuances of the Natural history and Local history of Credit river area-

Toronto Zoo-2014-October

Bassein

We walked to Naturalization zone, where we discussed many nuances of the way our family life has evolved in Canada, with the children who came here from two years in Malta- to join Middle School and have now grown into senior High school and even First year university.

And for the home library- we chose to read some excerpts from Dr.Teresa’s book on Bassein which tells of the history of this area –ranging from the times of Solomon- where Sopara is mentioned in the Bible as Ophir –today a disused port on the outskirts of modern  Bassein

To refresh memory- here are some readings in Naturalization zone area near our house.

From where we got that book

This is another interesting aspect of having a Home Library.

Where did we get this book from-what were we doing

For Example

Autobiography of Nehru-

Was gifted this by my grandfather-Professor Ganesh Prasad Uniyal-on my fifteenth birthday-1982-Nov

We used to stay in 9 Pratap Chowk-Delhi Cantonment at that time.

Chris Bonnington’s-Quest for Adventure-

Got this from the Annual Fair of ISM International school-Tripoli, where Mr.Francis –the English teacher had put up a nice stall, with many interesting books….2004

Mr.Francis taught us many things-over many discussions in Ben Ashor and Gurgi -still remember his introductions to Iago…”There is no villain like Iago in all of literature” or the nuances of Lahiri’s novels and short stories-The Interpreter of Malladies.

Basein-The Portuguese Interlude-by Teresa Albuquerque

Was gifted this by Father Ubaldo of Father Agnel Church-and Ashram-Mumbai…..

2012-July

People’s History of United States-Howard Zinn

 

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Chicago-2009-November-Cloud Gate Sculpture-Millenium Park-Chicago-Michigan- A public sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor-.. when we got the book-by Howard Zinn-People’s history of the United States

 

Summary points

Having a home library –and developing a joint Reading journal through discussions of these books-is a way to Refine our understandings.

In our discussions on the evolution of Nehru’s understanding of civil disobedience, to the local histories of Basein-Vasai region of Mumbai to evolving –expanding our understanding our concepts of Adventure-after and through readings of Chris Bonnington’s ‘Quest for Adventure’ we refined and furthered our Home library

Hope Appu reads a few pages from Howard Zinn’s book and tells about some new points which she gained from that book. Looking forward to that discussion.

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Welcome Committee

In previous years, we welcomed the family members from other countries and I told my sons to form a “Welcome committee” and try to arrange gifts, plan out places to visit, and get a sense of the extended family in an intentional way.

So in July of 2016-I had told my sons to arrange gifts for their uncle Bharat and family. I gathered books-momentoes from areas where we had stayed, Letters to his daughter-by Nehru, a plaque of the Temples of Cyrene-which was part of Greek Libya (modern day Shahat) and Symbols of the Knights of St.John of Malta, and views of Sultanahmet-(the historic Constantinople) from Bosphorus.

A year before that, in July 2015, when their aunt Appu had come from Mumbai-we had gone to Niagara falls and seen different facets, including the “Blue Moon”-a second full moon in a calendar month

Now –anticipating Appu’s visit again- I told the boys about the “Welcome Committee” and they started rolling up their eyes.

So, just posting some pictures of Yester-years-to make them a bit more motivated

 

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MAID OF THE MIST-Boat-ride-Niagara-we drove back pretty late that day-as waited to see the sound and light show on the Occasion of Blue Moon- July 2015

 

2015 7 (5)

Sep 2017- Naturalization zone near Candlestick-Bharat-Bhai-Priti going for walk together

2016-9

The Naturalization zone near our house- is a nice place to Think-Discuss-Reflect

 

 
Hopefully –weather permitting- will explore some areas of Hamilton
Dundurn-Burlington Heights

And Re-visit Wilket Creek area-Central Don-Toronto

and Port Credit- Jack Darling, Rattray Marsh and surrounding areas

Maybe, will take advice of some of my well wishers- and just go for some walks

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Out of your skin

What are we supposed to get out of this (story, poem, play)?
While the formal reading group meets once a month, I read and discussed the same pieces of literature in different locations informally.

Burlington Plaza-Cafe-

BURLINGTON PLAZA-BRANT STREET, ONTARIO- Mai-orignially from Taiwan-now living in Hamilton, runs this cafe with his wife. A lunch time Reading -Thinking place , we discuss and learn many things about life, work, community in that break

In the previous book club discussion-(February-2018) on Madeliene Thein’s- Do not say we have nothing- the members had varied responses.

1-Madeliene Thien

One experienced reader said that he stopped at Page 127, the characters were too difficult to keep track of, and the historical context of the Cultural revolution was not clear. Another experienced reader said that she went through the whole book- to Honour the memory of the people whose struggle the book tells about

Another experienced reader said that she went through the whole book- to Honour the memory of the people whose struggle the book tells about

An Alternate Memory

The book ends on the note by the author- Not everyone who supported and strengthened this story can be named. To my beloved friends in Shanghai, Hangzhou,Beijing, and Danhuang, thank you for accompanying me through the book of records and an alternate memory of history. Remember what I say- Not everything will pass.

The book takes us inside two talented families musicians of China , lives of two entwined generations- Those who weathered Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and their children , who became the Tiananmen Square protestors.

What are we supposed to get?

In their introduction to the pocket anthology of literature, Gywnn and Campbell write that if you have really savoured the full experience that good literature offers, then the first thing you should get “out of” will be your own skin- when you do that you will answer your own question. For a few moments you lose your own identity and see through the eyes of an Elizabethian Englishman, a modern Nigerian, or a contemporary Canadian woman, and you may just find that in some significant way your own manner of looking at the world will never be quite the same again.

Some books which got us into different Skins – The Reading list

2-Sawyer

Robert Sawyer’s-Calculating God-made us discuss the meaning of ultimate reality. The book takes place in the present day and describes the arrival on Earth of sentient aliens. The bulk of the novel covers the many discussions and arguments on this topic, as well as about the nature of belief, religion, and science. Thomas Jericho, a paleontologist working at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, makes the first human-to-alien contact when a Forhilnor, a spider-like alien from the third planet of the Beta Hydri system arrives on Earth to investigate Earth’s evolutionary history. The alien, Hollus, has come to Earth to gain access to the museum’s large collection of fossils, and to study accumulated human knowledge in order to gather evidence of the existence of God. It seems that Earth and Hollus’ home planet, and the home planet of another alien species traveling with Hollus, all experienced the same five cataclysmic events at roughly the same time. Hollus believes that the universe was created by a god, to provide a place where life could develop and evolve. Thomas Jericho is an atheist who provides a balance to the philosophical discussion regarding the existence of gods.(source-Wikipedia)

 

March 2018-Readings- Riverwood

Going to open places to read- gives an interesting twist to the reading experience.

This morning, went to Riverwood and read again- about the Inmate Shadow from Neil Gaiman’s –American Gods. Shadow is released early from prison as his wife Laura dies in a car crash. He meets Wednesday and goes into crime. The use of language by Gaiman helps expand, and going by the experience of “Getting Out of your Skin” the author gets the reader into the mind-frame of different characters.

Example-

Shadow remembers his carousel ride as a child in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco –on his first trip to the States and the sound of music makes him wish as though the last 36 hours had never happened (when he gets out of jail and goes to his wife’s funeral) , as if the last three years had not happened (his jail term).

Riverwood-3-3-18 –American Gods-Neil Gaimon

 

 

Perspective Note
Keeping a Reading Journal enhances the reading experience in many ways. Going to different-“thinking places” to read adds another twist. Different reading member groups bring different flavours to the reading experience. In this quarter we discussed-read three books-which bring out concepts of Faith, Community, life in different ways.

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Around Family Day-2018

A  home library consists of unique books- with related notes- and picture library, and journals-diaries which provide a great resource to gaining and building perspectives.

As it becomes a bit warmer, I did my first walk and reading of Riverwood- of this season.

 

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RIVERWOOD-MISSISSAUGA-One of our Reading-Thinking places     There are many facets to this beautiful zone.
One of them is Nature. Then there is Visual Arts Mississauga where there are interesting art programs. I use this area as a Thinking-Reading place, where we have discussed many interesting books-ranging from Stories of Libyan writers to Essays of James Baldwin to Writings of Nehru, Amartya Sen to business-management books.   A Reading Habit can have many interesting facets which add to one’s humanity.

HOME LIBRARY

 

In our family home library- we have many books collected from different locations- and have made jottings on where I first got that book from, or whom I read it with, or with whom we discussed it. Recently I went to a bookstore in a Village in Mountain locations in Hamilton- the Pickwick Books.

 

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PICKWICK-BOOKS-Waterdown-Hamilton-Reminded me of many lovely evenings spent browsing through books in Aurobindo Place Market-Delhi

 

This reminded me of the many lovely evenings I spent in Delhi’s Midland book store- Aurobindo place market, with my mentor Dr.Sandeep Kawlra- and how we would eat chaat next to the Free Church of Greenpark.  I got hold of a book-an anthology of literature- and quickly went out- as I would otherwise start buying more books.

The first story I started reading was “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri, which is featured as one of the great writings of the past hundred years. In the introduction, the editors write about Lahiri’s sense of exile created by being connected to but not to fully belonging to three different continents- a theme of much of her work.

NEHRU’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Gifted to me by my grandfather-Dr. Ganesh Prasad Uniyal- this is the first book from our collection in Mississauga. I have kept similar family library collections in Palam-Delhi region and Fornaaj-Tripoli region (which I will recover some day-when I return to Tripoli).

 

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TEEN MURTI BHAWAN- DELHI-INDIA..The lawns make for a nice Reading place. There is a nice canteen which serves very reasonable good food.

 

While there is much talk about the recent visit of Canadian Prime Minister- Justin Trudeau – to India and the concept of Indian nationhood, we went through some pages of Nehru’s autobiography and also Ramachandra Guha’s –India after Gandhi- in which Guha has written about the Unnatural Nation –where the forces that divide are many, but there are also forces that have kept India together, that have helped transcend or contain the cleavages of class and culture, that- so far, at least- have nullified those many predictions that India would not stay united and not stay democratic.

KEY POINTS ABOUT READING PLACES-HOME LIBRARY

As this blog enters it’s tenth year, I looked at the different Readings-Travels-Discussions-meetings which have shaped our journeys.

Three things which make a Unique Home library

Books- in which there are jottings on where one acquired the book- or with whom did one discuss or where.

For example- the Autobiography of Nehru was acquired by us- as a gift from my Grandfather, when our family was staying in Pratap Chowk-Delhi Cantonment- in 1982.

I have kept this book with me in our home library of Mississauga- as the first book of the collection.

The book-India after Gandhi-by Ramachandra Guha- I acquired in Mumbai- and this book has been discussed read in Tripoli Reading Group, in post-revolutionary Libya, with several Libyans who are still trying to come to terms with their Nationhood after the overthrow of Gaddafi who ruled for 42 years.

Tripoli Skyscapes-Dec 2015

A view from Corniche-Near Mahari-Tripoli-Libya…a beautiful place to read and feel the Mediterranean breeze

Diaries-Journals-

These build perspective as to how life is, who we are, and what we can become.

I have kept joint journals with different family members, and another unique section is –Letter to a Loved one who has passed away. In these collection of letters- I have written to different family members who have passed away, and this is a great way to build long term perspective.

As writer –psychologist-Dr.Phil McGraw says in his book-Real Life-  that when a loved one passes away physically our relation with them does not end, but becomes a spiritual relation. This point has been written in different ways by Coach John Wooden and Viktor Frankl- (Man’s search for Meaning). These books form part of our Home Library collection.

Following the cues of these writers- I started writing a monthly letter to my parents-and for now three years running, I have found many interesting changes in family life and perspectives due to these writings. I also write a monthly letter-with a book summary to my grandfather-Dr.GP Uniyal- he was a teacher of Political science- and though I am a medical doctor this exercise of writing book summaries-made me think on what would be interesting or noteworthy to my grandfather. This made me look at books in a different way. Recently in Courtney Park-Book Club- we read and discussed Madeliene Thien’s -Do not say you have nothing- which tells about life in China during and after the Cultural revolution. Writing a letter to my grandfather-summarizing that book- was a great perspective building exercise.

Photographs

Each family has a unique collection of photographs, (and in today’s world-Videos) which add to the uniqueness of that Family. The blog is a great place to keep these in one place, to be able to look back and reflect and mine those experiences.

 

22 Xlendi Gozo

GOZO-XLENDI..It is very peaceful here, especially in off season winter time- to read and walk

 

END NOTE…

one can look at the same experience (Reading) with different “Thinking Hats”

As a diary entry– It was drizzling in Riverwood on the morning of February 25,2018, there were some sections of Ice, which made it slippery, but the experience of reading in a forest was unique

As a Reading Journal entry– As we went through the different books we have on Indian Nationhood-from Nehru’s Autobiography to India After Gandhi-by Ramachandra Guha, to India in Slow Motion by Mark Tully to The Argumentative Indian- by Amartya Sen, we had some lively and in-depth discussions on the different facets of identity.

As a Library Inventory note- We discussed the different sections of the home library, and how our sense of community grew out of the books we carried with us, through our journeys across Continents. We had a re-look at some collections of essays-and remembered how we had gone through essays on Identity like those of James Baldwin- Alas Poor Richard and Notes of a Native son- sitting in Malta.

 

 

 

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