Remember this? Its still there. And very painful. Although after considerable pain and uncomfortable toe stubbing and foot stepping instances, I have been regularly visiting my doctor every saturday morning at 7.30, bright and early. I drive down to town (a.k.a. Colaba!!) get a bloody (and I mean that literally) scraping done, the resultant wound cleaned and dressed and proceed to begin getting all my other errands done. Being a dutiful homely (!) girl I buy the weeks vegetables, get the passbook updated (yes some banks still use them), buy groceries (or, in Defence kids terms, go to the canteen), and other adhoc things that crop up during the week.
Its odd, we've moved, but we still visit the same tailor, the same doctor, buy our vegetables from the same vendors in Navy Nagar (the Fruitwala bhaiyya always cuts me a fruit when he sees me, and insists he's going to supply the fruits at my wedding, whether or not we invite him. Needless to say, he's invited), get our sheets laundered from Moti Bhaiyya (whose Dad was our Dhobi, so to say from the time we've moved to Mumbai) who operates from inside Navy Nagar, but insists on still picking up our laundry by kinetic and dropping it off.
The More I grumbled about having a million errands to run each time I head this side of town, the more I realize that these aren't errands, they're contact points that we've maintained since over 20 years. They're people and faces we've been living around. We've seen Moti Bhaiyya come to our house as a pimply faced teenager on his cycle, been invited to his wedding and met his babies. The fruit and Vegetable bhaiyyas dont let me carry my bag to the car, they call me Bitiya - having seen me scamper around my folks impatiently as a small girl. Prem Bhaiyya (Moti Bhaiyyas younger brother) grew from taking laundry on a bicycle to a top executive working in an IT firm, and yet last year, to invite us for his wedding, he came in shorts armed with our clean and ironed clothes - a lesson to us in Humility and being down to earth.
These aren't errands. They're all people my Dad's help find jobs, place kids, give advice on schools and colleges and what not, who repay him with ardent respect and relentless dedication.
They're people who called us every few hours on the 26th 27th and 28th of Nov when Daddy was inside the Trident, knowing he wouldve driven in, to find out if he's alive, and stopped only when I assured them on friday (29th) that he is ok, and wont be coming home anytime soon, but is fine neverthless. RamNiwas, Daddys masseur whose duty is fixed at my house on saturday evenings since nearly the last 15 years, spoke to me in broken tones saying he couldnt work until I call and tell him Dad's ok. They prayed with us and cried with us. And they're not family and technically not friends. But so much more.
Sometimes in life there are people who impact your lives in ways you never knew, because you never had to think about it. Relations beyond the skeletal definitions of relatives, family and friends.
26/11 gave me a reason to think of all the people who called and messaged and prayed with us. A reason to think of all the people who affect my family's lives and whose lives we affect. The first few days were spent in shocked stupor, the next few in exhausted haze. Its only a week or two after the event that happenings of those few days would come back suddenly and I would remember someone unexpected who would have called or messaged, and Id sit back and feel overwhelmed. People who we hadnt heard from in years, some even decades, but they came through for us.
Something we don't care to give a thought to, in our frenzied haste to get through our lives. In most cases we're left to realize how much a person impacted our lives after they're gone, and remembering tiny symbolic instances of their love or our connection with them.
I wish I could convince you how important it is to love wholly and deeply, to give completely and unrepentantly, do away with ego and high handedness, apologise appropriately and act responsibly, hold together tight and close people who're worth it, and have them know it. Because it is so, very important. If you can manage, tell me how.