Monday, October 26, 2015

A Prayer of the Flying Fox

Dear You,

I bet the cemeteries heard more honest confessions than any court, Airports have seen more love than any wedding and Hospitals have heard most sincere prayers than any place of worship. Because regret is stronger than gratefulness, so loss is felt stronger than gains.  Be it a friend who left us for an absurd reason, Love that is faded over time or a loved one who departed too soon. We hold on to them like a tight rope that’s going to stop us from falling free.

Ok now you move forward and slide down whenever ready” my instructor told me for the third time. I was sitting on edge of a platform of (what I suppose) 200 meter tall tower. I had my safety jacket on, and it’s attached to the pulley of an overhead cable that was connected from the tower to a lower point. This is what I signed up for, in my recent trip to Bintan in Indonesia.  The idea is to freefall from the platform and slide to the lower point which is popularly known as “Flying fox”. The instructor again asked me to slide down and I replied with calmness “Yes I understand, just give me a minute”.
The us

The Tower

The View from the tower ( Photo courtesy Flicker)

Any daredevil would tell you, this is such a cakewalk.  But sitting on top of that platform, I could hear nothing but my beating heart and I was holding on to nothing but fear. I could feel the pull of gravity from the slippers hanging from my feet.  I closed my eyes to say a prayer, which I always did when I undertook adventure of any sort. “I request for forgiveness from those I wronged, and forgive those who wronged me. May I only carry the good and let go of whatever that don’t serve any higher purpose”. I opened my eyes to the evening sun over the horizon, and the wind that was cooling off my sweat.

Then I let go. The split second fear exploded into the rush of adrenaline. They say when god pushes you over the cliff he would either catch you or give you wings to fly. But I think, when god pushes you over the cliff, he wants you to let go!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why cut roses still blooms

One of the earliest memories I had of my dad is sleeping next to him on the terrace during summer nights. We slept in the open air with just a mat and mom’s old sari was our bed sheet. My brother and I had our own spots in the nooks of his shoulder which we never traded, mine was always on his right. Mostly he wrapped his arms around us and tapped gently on the shoulder. If the story gets interesting he made hand gestures in the air, drawing pictures with vast dark sky as background.  We would watch his dancing hands that moved in rhythm bringing each words to life. Sometimes it appeared as if he was strong enough to gather a handful of twinkling stars and release them back into the sky.

This golden period with my dad ended sooner than I wanted it to be. As I grew up, we grew apart. He hardly took part in family responsibilities. It was always my mom who deliberated from the little things to major decisions in our lives.  She soon became my model, the wonder women who carried the world in her shoulder and still managed to keep her smile. There were days I thought he wasn't good enough for her.

Few months ago, I interacted with a group of deaf people as part of a cause. A translator signed my questions to the group and translated their answers for me. “How do you feel as deaf and dumb in the world which is filled with different sounds” I asked looking at a young deaf guy. Before the translator could finish signing, he interrupted with a loud sound. The translator answered me while he signed “I am not dumb, none of us are, we cannot hear sound so we don’t know how to pronounce a word. And since we can’t hear ourselves we don’t like to make the sound. If needed I can shout to get help during emergency, so I am not dumb. We are mute but not dumb”. 

I was so embarrassed and apologized for my insensitive question. But the handsome young guy smiled and responded something that I would remember forever. He signed “I understand. You did your best with the knowledge and understanding you had. Now that you know, you can understand better, and tell others too about it.”

Perhaps it’s signing hands that reminded me,my dad. I was taken back to our exact moment in the terrace with billions of stars. That’s when I released my dad from my judgments. He did his best with the knowledge and understanding he had. He still does. My mom was wonder women because he let her be. Every time I spoke harshly or denied him like cut roses he only returned blooms of understanding and acceptance.  The last time I visited home, I gave him a long hug and felt him tapping my shoulder exactly the way he did when I was a kid. And with every tap we released the stars back into our sky.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Meals & Flowers from Tembusu tree

In the city where meals are happier than people who have it, no one has time to live in the moment. We even press ‘close’ button in the lift several times hoping it would close faster. We hold our breath in weekdays and breathe out during weekends. We constantly long for long weekends. While we like living in this city, we love escaping it during long weekends. 

Perhaps we believe our work is our purpose, and holiday is a form of reward. But if you were to take two week holiday with no new city to visit or agenda to attend to, you would go crazy. That was exactly my mindset when I had a surgery recently. My gallbladder was removed and I had to rest for couple of weeks. My activity for the day were eat, sleep, pee and a short walk around the block.  First few days flew as I concentrated on finding the best position to sleep, and enjoying the attention from others.  And then there was my mom.

After the operation I couldn't take the pain and I wept on her shoulder, and she consoled me as if I were a baby. She filled my plate with food and took it to clean, as soon as I finished it. For every two hours love shuttled from kitchen to my room in the forms of juice, fruit or a snack.  Unlike her other trips to Singapore, She hardly went out or enjoyed her personal time. Her mission was to make me alright during the short stay. We went for walks at twilight and took rest at park bench enjoying the windy afternoon. We talked random things like tall trees in the park, how dad annoyed her or the latest gossip about a relative.  

During one such afternoon, we shared a hearty laugh about something. I couldn't recall the subject, but I vividly remember the smell of flowers from Tembusu tree, the wind and her face.  Her beautiful, make up free face which was filled with wrinkles from several years of smiles.  Sun bounced off from back of her head and it appeared as if she had a halo.  

That’s when I realized, how blessed I was to have had that surgery. To have cried in her shoulder. My every meal was happy and we did not hurry up the lift. Because, that time with her is all that I ever have. And that laugh is what life is all about.