The Past is beautiful

The past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time.

It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions

About the present, only about the past

                                                Virginia Woolf

Around my birthday, this year, I reflected on the life of a loved one who has passed away.


As I meditated and reflected on her life, the British India of 1930s and the many journeys we as a civilization have gone through in these past eight decades came alive. She kept the legacy of her father alive.

In significant events in my life, through pointed suggestions- without rambling details- she gave me guidance and support.


Family is the place where one learns to connect, communicate and grow (or numb) in many ways.

When my father passed away in a car accident (1999-June) she came home in Palam Vihar

I was struggling between giving a notice in the newspaper to coordinating with the scientific medical society , the sudden void my mother felt, and the pulls of my son-wife.

At times I would be exasperated and labile.

She must have observed this from a distance, but never told me anything day-to-day.

But when she was leaving- she came to me and said- you have to balance things and be diplomatic (and some other details).

Over the decades her words have come true in many ways and as I fell short many times, her guiding spirit, gentle smile would come across.

In the movie- A beautiful day in the neighborhood- there is a prayer- Pray for all those who made you.

When I sit in a quiet corner and pray, a smiling face, gentle spirit , with a historical sense comes alive.

Through many stories told over family gatherings, she kept alive the legacy of her father, and gave us a sense of what it is to be related, to be part of a family, and a fabric which is Post independence India.


This is an exercise, I have done every month for over past six years.

Sometimes I write a book summary and send it to my maternal grandfather- who was the first person to whom I wrote letters to- in 1970s.

He would correct them from Moscow and return them.

Today, many decades later, as I sat down to write a letter to a loved one who has passed away – I wrote to my grandmother- not as a grandmother, but as a friend.

How she must have seen life through the different currents which passed – the sons who have their own lives and families to the times of coping, when her father and husband passed away before their time, and how she evolved her life as an educator.


I remember her lessons on sisterhood.

The support she gave to her peers as they evolved through the loss of their loved ones.

Family can be a place of great support, but also trial.

And as I remember the Pratap Chowk of Delhi, where we used to stay when we were in High school, I reminisced with my sister, the Delhi of 1980s.

Recently , I was sent a letter written by my mother in 1984-which brought alive memories of a life time ago, and also a way of life.

She wrote how her cousin had come from Shyampur Rishikesh .

And the trips to Sarojini Nagar to meet my father’s sister.

The Shimla of 1930s/1940s came alive on those pages.

Memories of walks in Upper Kaithu Bazaar-Shimla where we used to visit from Pune-1970s, and go for walks in Hill Temples of Jakhu, Tara Devi and Kufri.

An educator, her influence on the life of our family was subtle and profound.

Reminded me of the words of John Dewey

“I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of

experience, that the process and the goal of education, are one and the same thing.”



A teacher affects eternity; we can never tell where his influence stops

                                                                                    Henry Adams


Jung agreed with Freud’s model of the unconscious , what Jung called “the personal

unconscious” but he also proposed the existence of a second , far deeper form of the

unconscious underlying the personal one. This was the collective unconscious, where

the archetype themselves resided, represented in mythology by a lake, or body of

water, and in some cases a jug or other container.

This concept of Jung can be applied to the words of the playwright Trevor Griffiths-

I did

not invent myself, the world invented me


In a previous article this writer told about his realization that what he had before him

was not the dish he had ordered for his forties

        The Crack Up – F Scott Fitzgerald

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Xlendi to Bobcageon

Roses in Candlestick- Mississauga -2020-9
Our home in Ontario- Canada
Got from Terra Burlington
Dundas – Niagara Escarpment
area -2018
Pigeon Lake- Bobcageon- 2020-August
There are no great acts
There are only small acts
done with great love – Mother Teresa

The Garden diaries 2020-September
Sahil Rowing 2020-August

Discussing the 3 R s
Reflect Repair Recreate
Our many journeys together

Bobcageon Mornings Aug 2020
Sagar – Rowing – Bobcageon- August 2020

Discussion- on 100 days planning ahead system- a tool which my father PNB taught me

Xlendi – Gozo – 2010- December

Gozo – 2010- October

Azure Window

The “non-profit” institution neither supplies goods or services nor controls. Its “product” is neither a pair of shoes nor an effective regulation. Its product is a changed human being. The non-profit institutions are human-change agents. Their “product” is a cured patient, a child that learns, a young man or woman grown into a self-respecting adult; a changed human life altogether.

Peter Drucker – Managing the Non Profit

Xlendi Gozo- 2010-12

Many hours reflecting on our Readings and discussions –

St Edwards Cottonera – Malta

Sahil and Papa ( PB) – 2010

Our Journeys together
Sahil with Papa ( PB)
2017- Jan – Royal Ontario Museum

He became taller than me at age 15
in 2015

Our Journeys together
Sahil – PB

at Graydon Rock – Mississauga. First trip after
lifting up of Corona lockdown- 2020- June

Sahil studied in Gordon Graydon school Mississauga 2014-2018
Sabratha – Libya North Africa- 2004 April

Exploring histories, continents, civilizations together. Our family has a deep connection with Africa .

As we reflected on some of our journeys together while rowing in Pigeon Lake Bobcageon- I thought about family as a place to nurture, grow and be changed human beings – as written by many writers

Corona lockdown 2020 has made us think on priorities and the fragility of humans .

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How do you do a Push-Up


Sunrise – The gift of the morning hour, when
night turns into day

Ontario- Bobcageon

Many mentors taught me about

the magic of the Magic hour when night

turns into day.

Today morning, at a morning meditation at Kawartha Lakes area of Ontario, I prayed for the soul of one of my mentors who passed away physically recently


How do you do push-ups?

One of my mentors, heroes, uncle passed away recently. When I first started doing

pushups in 1970s , he asked me to show how I did a push- up . This was long before you have Youtube channels where

there are different exercise regimens.

What is there in a Push-up ? I thought naively.

Can you do fifty push-ups at one go?

He told me to reach that level, then he will tell me the next step.

As he saw me sink after 20 , he pointed out that the core is weak. Push-ups are not only about Arms and Shoulders.


The magic of his push-ups was that he was not just doing this for building his body. He applied this in real situations, being a trained professional- who lived the credo

⁃ Peace has its virtues,but it takes brave men to win it.

Can you clap while doing a push-up? He asked me.

No ! I never heard of that or saw anyone do it. Then he showed me how to clap while doing push-ups, and clap and cross his shoulders, then clap two times while doing push-ups. And burpees .

He introduced me to the nuances of training, not only physical, but mental, how these affect society and even world maps. ( All those I cannot share on a public blog – but the lessons remain)

What is strategy?

What is Tactics?

What is the difference?

Almost fifteen years after he was part of the institution which trained him, my own high school batch mates joined the same, When I would visit them, I would remember the many stories my uncle had shared with me.


How do you mark a terrain? What is a map? How will all this play out in actual ground situation?

Riverwood Mississauga,Ontario

As I went to a morning meditation at

Riverwood area, I remembered some of the trainings my uncle told me about when I was in primary school, which later I heard my own batch mates from high school tell about when they did the same.

Canopies – of trees – will have different level of cover of the ground below, and also a different level of undergrowth.

A map will give you an idea, but when you will be on the ground, it will be different, depending upon the time of the day and also whether there are hostile or helpful elements in the vicinity.

It is peaceful in Riverwood.

However, there are some areas where it is not so peaceful.

Remember March, the ides of March remember:

Did not great Julius bleed for justice’ sake?

What villain touch’d his body, that did stab,

And not for justice?

Julius Cesar, Shakespeare

Have you ever struck someone for justice?

Have you been struck? What does justice mean to you?

Remembering my uncle, and the many nuances – reading the above lines of Shakespeare, quoted in the book – Body Keeps the Score by Dr Bessel Kolk – made me reflect on the narratives which define identity. How these are different for different people, and how when people come back from the wars, the civilian world is so different.


One of my friends has gone further north Manitoulin island area.

Searching for True North- how is the terrain, waves, wind – Kawartha Lakes area

He goes for retreats there- every summer- staying in a tent – one with Nature away from the cities- communing with Nature, Silence, Music – The Higher Powers.

When I shared with him about my uncle and aunt – having passed physically within a month of each other, he told of how this tells about the deep connection between their souls.

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