Thursday, 14 June 2018

Suresh Bhai RIP

If it was a small world and we would all be staying near each other, Suresh Bhai was one person I would definitely love to have as one of my neighbours.
We were all young kids, playing, going to school, not caring about the world as kids do, when this Marwari family moved into the neighbourhood. Initially they were introduced to us by a close doctor friend of my father. My first memory is of a young Suresh standing on our doorsteps with a box of nail polish as a gift. Young, shy and answering my father's myriad questions. They had a stationery / electrical / all in one shop right on the main Ranihat Square which seemed to populate the streets of Cuttack. I guess this was their attempt to know the local families and integrate with them.

Over the years Suresh became an integral part of our family even calling my parents Nana and Bou. Their shop was a favourite pit stop for everyone from our house. I sometimes wonder.. why did they chose us when our colony had another 20 odd households? His mother would drop by for gossip while his father remained the quiet soul he was. Suresh was brash, exuberant and fun while Sushil Bhai, his brother, seemed to be the responsible one. But there was a spark to him, a jest for life, a wish to go places all bound with an overwhelming love for people he liked.

I got married and moved away from home. Lost contact with my town for a long time. My brothers too moved away but hardly ever lost touch with anyone. Ten years back when I caught up with happenings... realised Suresh and his family were doing well. From the small shop, the brothers had graduated into real estate and other shops. Last time I met Suresh was just 3 months back. At a wedding of the grandchild of a friend of my father's. The same friend who had supported the Agarwal family when they had first reached Cuttack. (This is how some relationships in Cuttack endure!) Met the same Suresh with his wife and kids. The kids looked ready to take over.

I didn't know that was the last I would see Suresh Bhai. Feeling an overwhelming sadness with the knowledge that he is no more. I do hope he realised at least some of his dreams. And his sons carry the love he had for life and people, forward.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Missing Key

Today morning while driving, when I did my customary obeisance to HIM, I felt a strange sense of foreboding. Some unnamed fear seemed to follow me, to beckon at me.  For generations we have worshipped a wooden God with His round all seeing eyes. On large wall calendars, recent desktop calendars, pocket calendars, key rings, wall hangings, dashboards, book covers, He is everywhere. And when He is not present in any seeing form, He makes His presence felt somewhere deep in our minds and hearts. He seems to be just Present.
Kids exams, problems at home, fight with family, husband,  problems at job, ill health, anything,  any small problem or non-problem, I run to him, seek solace and find it. Today He was there sitting on my car’s dashboard, when I started my car, closed my eyes for a second… when I felt this strange thing.
Now, why?
Is it because of something personal? Some deep seated fear or insecurity? But ups and downs are part of life and I accept it. I prefer to think it is because of something more encompassing, less personal.
Is it because we are so far gone as a world, so bent on destruction, that he stirred, and hence sent those waves of uneasiness through his followers? Is it just the case of a lost key to his wealth, to the inner recesses of the Ratna Ghar? Is it because His personal sanctuary has been invaded? Being as sought after as He is, wandering from house to house, heart to heart, He does need a place to call his own. So when the key to His inner abode got lost, was He that woebegone?
We are talking of the same Form who was hidden deep in a cave for centuries by His devout followers, to be saved from alien marauders, and came back to rule our small universe.  Is He feeling as unsettled now as he did those aeons ago? He probably needs to hide again, to stop this constant violation of His quiet life by the descendants of those same devotees who saved him once. High court rulings, bureaucratic dictates, political upmanship, missing “brahma”, missing keys, hidden treasures, it is enough to jolt insensitive man.
He is but a sensitive, soulful wanderer, seeking a place to rest. Let us please give Him that.

(In response to the furore caused by the missing key to the Ratna Ghar)