Friday, August 03, 2007

About time

It started when I was sitting in my living room watching Lage Raho Munnabhai (I've seen it at least thirteen million times, and Mom had too, but Dad hadn't, and I'd strongly recommended it to him), and I heard RJ Jahnvi spout these beautiful words:

Shaher ki is daud me daud ke karna kya hai?
'Gar yehi jeena hai doston, toh phir marna kya hai?

(Why do we run the endless rat race of the city?
If this is what we call living, then how do we define dying?)

Pehli barish me train late hone ki fikr hai
Bhul gaye bheegte hue tehelna kya hai?

(We worry about the train being late because of the first monsoon showers
Have we forgotten how it is to take a slow walk in the rain?)

Serials ke kirdaaro ka saara haal hai maloom
Par maa ka haal poochhne ki fursat kahan hai?

(We know everything about the characters in TV serials
But we have no time to find out how our own mother is doing?)

Ab ret pe nange paon tehelte kyun nahin?
108 hai channel phir bhi dil behelte kyun nahin?

(Why don't we walk barefoot on the sand any more?
There are 108 channels on TV, but why don't they entertain anymore?)

Internet se duniya ke to touch me hain,
lekin pados mein kaun raheta hai jaante tak nahin.

(We're in touch with the whole world over the Internet
But we have no idea who lives in our own neighbourhood.)

Mobile, landline sab ki bharmaar hai,
Lekin jigri dost tak pahuche aise taar kaha hai?

(There is no dearth of mobile phones and landlines
But where is the cord that would reach a dear friend?)

Kab doobte hue suraj ko dekha tha, yaad hai?
Kab jaana tha shaam ka guzarna kya hai?

(Do you remember when you last saw the setting sun?
Do you remember when the evening passed you by?)

Toh doston, shaher ki is daud me daud ke karna kya hai
'Gar yahi jeena hai toh phir marna kya hai?

(So friends, why do we run the endless rat race of the city?
If this is what we call living, then how do we define dying?)

Sigh.

Dad went back to India today. :(

Mom's already in the US. I'd got her to Singapore by bribing her that if she came here, she could watch baby Aish's antics over my sister's webcam. "You can watch her eat, sleep, babble, and drive Apa nuts. It's just like a reality show. Except that you actually care about the daily activities of the character." And that's when my smart sister bribed Mom with promises of the 'live show' and whisked her off to the US. Hmmph!

Dad didn't go to the US as he had limited days of leave. But he did stay on with me for a couple of days after Mom left for the US. However, in the last few days, I hadn't been able to spend a lot of time with Dad, and he was all alone at home. Last week I had two teleconferences with the US office, and annoyingly both were at 8 pm, which meant I only got home by 10 pm (bedtime for my very disciplined Dad). Taking leave was not possible, and I was beginning to feel incredibly guilty for not being able to spend time with him. Luckily, he wasn't getting bored while I was at office. He'd go for a walk to the beach in the morning, then go for a swim in the pool in my condominium, and then keep himself busy with the books I'd got from the library till it was time to heat up the lunch I'd have kept in the fridge. Post-lunch, he'd engage in reading the news on the computer and emailing me, followed by what he called 'the matinee show' - watching the 'DVD of the day' that I'd recommended (he's not really a hindi movie person, and I'd taken it upon myself to convert him!). Then he'd go for a swim (again!) in the evening and then read my blog till I got back from the office.

So on Thursday, I took half a day off to just hang out with him. It had been almost a decade since I'd spent quality time with my Dad. He and I have always had a special bond. A lot of relatives tell me I look exactly like my Dad, while others say I am a photocopy of Mom. I don't believe any of them. In fact, I believe that my sister, by virtue of being born first, had the entire collection before her. She picked the best features from Mom and Dad and went 'Yippee! Thenga!' while I scraped the bottom of the barrel and went 'Okay fine!' But the one thing I know for sure came from Dad is my love for writing. Within his banker self dwells a writer, just like the one that dwells within my engineer/editor self.

So on thursday, we decided to go cactus-shopping first. Dad is crazy about plants, and especially loves the grafted cactus that I take for him every time I go to India. (Oh yeah, I may have got his long fingers, but I certainly didn't get his green ones! I'm the kind who can kill even cacti just by looking at them. Sheesh.)

After I'd got him this adorably tiny cactus with a red flower, we decided to take a walk to the beach. I'd asked him what food he'd liked the best so far, and he'd mentioned chilli crab. So we decided to hang out at the beach and then go for a chilli crab dinner.

It was cool and breezy at the beach, and we walked close to the water till we were too exhausted to walk anymore. So we found some cement benches under some palm trees and talked. We talked and we talked and we talked. I told him about what's happening at my workplace, how I love it but at times miss working on the kids' magazine in the last company, and he told me of his plans after retirement. I asked him when he discovered the writer in himself, and he told me of the time when he discovered the one in me. I told him about my sudden love for my sudden discovery Abhay Deol, and he said that he found my recommendation Ahista Ahista one of the best movies he'd seen. We laughed over stories from my childhood, of the time when Mom had gone to Grandma's for a week, and Dad had enthusiastically cooked chicken for my sister and me (the chicken was so horrible, my sister and I almost turned vegetarian for life). He told me of all the things from my childhood that he had preserved in my 'bachpan box' - my first toys, my favourite childhood book 'The lost girl and the scallywags', my crutches from when I had broken my leg, my handmade birthday cards to him, and what not. We spoke of the time when he bought me my first bicycle and taught me how to ride it. Hell, we even discussed politics, something I never ever discuss with anyone (mostly due to my ignorance in the subject area). I asked him which Indian Prime Minister he thought was the best so far, and he named Nehru. "Leaders in those days were passionate." he said. "India had just got independence, and the focus of the leaders was nation-building, not personal gains. But these days..." Sigh.

Dinner was awesome too. It's difficult to describe what I felt when I saw him happily digging into the chilli crab like a child, looking at the huge lobsters in the tank in awe, trying to use chopsticks to pick up the peanuts, offering to crack open the crab shell for me because I couldn't, telling me I should work less, and eat and sleep more. I felt like a daughter. If you know what I mean. I felt alive.

That night, I slept so well. I did not dream of exams. I did not dream of work. I did not dream about where I was going to settle down. In fact, I did not dream.

And when I woke up this morning and realised that it was a saturday and Dad, Viv and I had the whole day to one another, I had the most wonderful 'I'm home' feeling I'd had in years. It was one of those moments when sappy quotes written by sickeningly happy people, and propagated in the form of annoying forwards start to make perfect sense. This is what life is - spending time with your loved ones. We've got to stop running after and wasting our time on things that do not really matter, and really look at what and whom we have and cherish them, and give them our time. Most often, when we spend time with someone, it's always 'over dinner' or 'over a movie'. Are we that socially stunted that we can't spend time with one another if it's not 'over something'? Whatever happened to great conversations, enlightening debates and moments of togetherness 'over nothing'?

They say time is money. I say bah!

Time is not money - it's way more valuable than that.



35 comments:

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Well-said! So many times we wish we hadn't taken for granted what we did, but this rat race has a way of engaging us so madly we forget it yet again. Your post makes me miss home as I sit and gorge on these sad noodles from the hostel mess. I loved the part from the movie.. I have seen it.. but don't remember it.. will watch again :)

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

Yeah, and that was Gold! Yay!

ŋεεяѕ said...

Am i surprised at being the 2nd one or what!!

This was sucha a lovely post. even 1 quality day with parents makes up for soo many not-so-pleasant stuff.

Im saying it again..i lovee ur blog.i've got vacations right now and im spending them constructively reading up all the archives..hehe :)

Manpreet said...

That was a lovely post. I completely to each and every word that you wrote. Life is not just about job & money, its much more than that..

shub said...

What a lovely post :)
*hugs*

Sanket said...

This post will certainly go among your 'The Best' :)

I got what you mean to say....but don't quite feel that way. May be the rat-race in my life hasn't quite reached the peak yet.

Btw, I looooooooove those lines from 'Munnabhai' :D

Yogita said...

Lovely post Sayesha! Very meaningful. Reflects my relationship with my Dad :)

satish said...

you make me feel like leaving the only job that I cud ever manage to secure and running to home.

gud job, bhai!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Mommy I wanna go hooommeee!!! :((

Lekin bhai, I'm so glad for you, and I know what you mean. Lage raho Sash-bhai!! :)

ritu said...

Awesome Simply awesome bhai!!!

it was really great. relating to things that happens to almost one and all. More so i have left home for the first time in my life now for my MBA. Missing the sights and delights of simple things back home is pinching me now.

This schedule and time adhererance after the freeedom of home is killing.

Thanks bhai

Bivas said...

those lines from munnabhai were simply cool...
and it's not just our parents bu in general, spending time with friends and loved ones that has become difficult and even a meaningless conversation with them gives a lot of joy...probably its just the realization that we're with them that makes all the difference. [:)]

Thisisme said...

amazing post bhai...
u made me feel homesick even though i m back home...confusing na..but kya karey..post padhkar aisich feeling aayi.. :-)

justme said...

That was so beautiful...Like fathers like daughters, eh!

Neihal said...

this made me sad Sash :(

lovely post nonetheless .

Tejal said...

Wow. How do u do it Bhai? This post is lik so beautiful. i wish i cud express myself the way u do. but i guess i'll learn from u, innit?
Btw, Happy Friendship Day!

Shantanu said...

Great post! The most simple things seem to be the ones we look forward to most and yet have little time for in life now-a-days.

parmvir said...

Well Written!!

ferret said...

you know i read all your posts and then come to the comments section and see that all that i want to say is already said, but this post is so specially beautifully written that i have to say it myself, you are a wonderful writer and ur thoughts are lovely. one day if u write a book (apart from those teaching science to kids that is :P) i'll definitely want an autographed copy of it :)

Iday said...

Nice post. Every word is very true indeed :)

Clueless said...

When Dad was here, he and I went to the beach one day to just walk around and chat. After a bit of walking around, we sat on some cement benches under the trees, listening to the water lapping on the shore and talking about everything under the sun. It seemed pretty trivial (and something my friends say they did all the time when they were home), but those few hours that we got to ourselves, to talk about anything we wanted (and even not say anything at all if we wanted) were so special.

Family's definitely everything. I realize that more and more every minute I'm away from them.

Hari said...

:) No words!

Ab said...

u mean yr stilll not done with exams?????

Ab said...

#clueless
yr damn right... family is definitely everything.... only thing is it took being alone and away from them for a year to realise that

Rebellion said...

Excellent post Sash :)
Reminds us of the endless things we're missing in life, running behind the not-so-valuable ones! Beautiful shayri too.

Hugs to you babes >:D<

creepa said...

'I felt like a daughter.'

Beautiful!!!

nycbewda said...

Kaise ho bhai
Working onsite to acheive something, miss everybody and everything in life that's called yours which is out back there in India some times feel like catching the next flight to home but helpless
Dad aur mom ko apun bahut miss karta hain.

Anurag Srivastava said...

That was good and touching :)

I admire your ability of maintaining the interest of readers even in somewhat longer posts. Will someday like to see the books edited by you, just to check if editing is really more than correcting typos :P

Sreejith said...

thank you

Siri said...

First time visitor alert! Tear alert! I miss my dad now very much. Its been two and half months since he went to the US (yes my brother bribed him with a few fancy things). Lovely post.

Siri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harshi said...

Emotions welling up after reading this :-)..

Beautifully expressed.

Itchingtowrite said...

getting there now recommended your post (the previous one) when I mentioned that the tables are turned against me with my nearly 2 year old twins behaving exactly how i behave with them... nice blog and loved your post on teh parents and how u teach them to go to your blog!! same here with my parents.. email, internet, sms everything!!

GuNs said...

Oh well, everyone has their own priorities. Sometimes though, I think people are only satisfied with being satisfied.

I know that sounds weird but one of the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips had Calvin proclaiming "Happiness isn't enough for me. I want to be exhilarated" or something like that...

-PeAcE
--WiTh
---GuNs

--Sunrise-- said...

Hey! New here.. and I have a fair bit to say about your blog post, so am going to do it in numbers.. hope that's OK! :)

1. I loved reading this post. Seriously. :)

2. I LOVE Lage Raho Munnabhai.. such an awesome movie! And I love the dialogue you posted up too.. though I could be fussy and argue against some of the points... I get what the meaning is getting at.. so yeah :)

3. I understand what you mean about not being able to spend time with family, even when they've come abroad to see you.. it does leave you feeling guilty, doesn't it?

4. I love the fact that you're trying to convert your dad to Hindi movies... I have done the same with my parents a long time ago... although they watched them, they never really... were too interested in them. Until I came along! :D

5. My dad and I have a special bond, too. :) *touchwood*

6. It sounds like a beautiful evening with your dad... :)

7. The 'bachpan box'... one of my favourite aunties (in fact, THE most favourite..) does that too.. for her two sons.. it's such a lovely idea.. I might copy it for when/if I have kids of my own.

8. Re: 'over nothing'... I agree with you.. I agree with you so much. But at the same time, 'over somethings' are fun too... but I get your point. :)

9. Time is definitely precious! :D Sadly, it's one of the few things we can never really hold on to. It just slips past us, doesn't it?

Sunrise.

Sayesha said...

#The Soul of Alec Smart,
Thanks! :)

#Neers,
Hehe... thanks for the support! :)

#Manpreet,
Thanks! :)

#Shub,
Thanks! :P
ps: Abbe when are you free to meet?? :/

#Sanket,
Thanks! :) And hope the rat race never gets a hold on you! :)

#Yogita,
Thanks! :)

#Satish,
Abbe! Tareef kar raha hai ki insult! Don't quit! :O Hehe! :P

#Sudipta,
Thanks! :)

#Ritu,
Thanks! :)

#Bivas,
Exactly! On Friday night, four of us hung out till 2 am, just talking. It was so awesome! :D

#Thisisme,
Thanks! :)

#Justme,
Thanks! :)

#Neihal,
Thanks lekin no dukhi, okay? Yeh le OJ, you bewdi! Khush ho ja! :)

#Tejal,
Lo doosri bewdi bhi aa gayi! :P
Thanks! And HFD to you too! :)

#Shantanu,
Thanks! :)

#Parmvir,
Thanks! :)

#Ferret,
Thanks, and touchwood! Inshallah ek din some drunk publisher will offer me a book-writing contract! :P :P :P

#Iday,
Thanks! :)

#Clueless,
I think you were sitting on the same cement benches as us!!!! :)

#Hari,
:)

#Ab,
Sheesh! Am DONE with exams, not with the nightmares! :P

#Rebellion,
Thanks! :)

#Creepa,
Thanks! :)

#NYCbewda,
Sigh.... meee toooo! :'(

#Anurag,
Thanks! :)

//Will someday like to see the books edited by you, just to check if editing is really more than correcting typos :P

*One thwack with Sash Bhai's weapon of ass destruction!*

#Sreejith,
Thank you! :)

#Siri,
Thanks! And welcome, o double-alert first timer! :)

#Harshi,
Thanks! :)

#Itchingtowrite,
Thanks! :)

#GuNs,
:)

#Sunrise,
Whoa! Get your own blog, girl! Kidding kidding! :P It's nice to see people take time to comment long ones! :)
ps: Welcome and thanks! :)