Monday, June 29, 2009

Almost Family

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.


thetinywindow said...

What a lovely post !
You left me with mist in eyes.

Aniket said...

I am with you on this every step of the way. I respect them all. The maid who used to take care of me when I was a toddler. She used to bring me toffees. The bread wale bhaiya who used to give me a free pastry. Thakur Ji who had a tapri outside college, who gave free parathas when we were running low on cash. I gave thakur ji a shirt from my first salary. I would have starved to death if it wasn't for him. He used to stay late when we requested him to during exams. He genuinely cared. Even the maid we have now. She visited 6 times a day when I had fever. There still are genuinely nice people out there. About time we acknowledged their unconditional love.

The knife said...

Very profound. And yet so simple... your father has connected and come in the lives of so many people as was evident from what you said about the time when he was inside the Trident. Inspiring.

Hope your foot is better

The knife said...

It felt great when i went to college after a lifetime a couple of years back, was really missing my pals, when I bumped into Pramod Da who ran our canteen

Piper .. said...

Beautiful! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own selves, that we tend to be callous about relationships that really matter..your post makes me want to be a better person..

Roy said...

nice post!

Prasoon said...

leaves me speechless.. there is only so less unselfish love around - am happy you have aplenty around you atleast. fingers crossed, touchwood - may it remain like that forever.

hitch writer said...

lovely ...

a touching post... !!

Serendipity said...

Thanks Tiny window :)

Hi Ani! About the shirt, Im glad you did. :)

@ the Knife - the foot is jinxed. Im considering Insurance :S lol

Serendipity said...

Hi Piper - thanks for what u said :) and ur a very big scorer in the good people category anyway...

Thanks Roy!

Hi Prasoon! thanks, and touchwood :) btw, where's your blog URL?!

Hitch! thnkee :)

Mumbai Diva said...

lovely post.

At an awards function about a couple of months back, an authoress dedicated her award to maya, her help, for being there to take care of her house, her kids, her family, thus leaving her with time and peace of mind to pursue her career and achieve so much in life. I thought that was awesome.

Serendipity said...

thanks MD :)

She did? Who this?

dipali said...

Yes- we are all so amazingly interdependent. Each series of interactions builds up subliminally.
It's wonderful that you are able to utilize the services of the same people who have been a part of your life for so long.God bless.

ani_aset said...

when you have so many praying for you, you should not worry about anything i guess. A nice tribute i guess to people around us who we take for granted. Good one Serendipity :)

Serendipity said...

Thanks Dipali and Ani!! :)

snow said...

This is why i heart your blog so much. Love reading about such everyday things. Your life is a complete opposite to mine -- in terms of growing around a familiar neighbourhood... blaaah, i've just been missing india since i returned..

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