January Musings…

In the blink of an eye, January has flown by…

It was a month of mixed emotions for me and mine…being that, the start of a new year will always for us, be associated with the loss of my brother. This year marks a year since he’s been gone and believe it or not…we made it. Yup – through all the stages of grief – from denial to acceptance, we hobbled through, individually and collectively – we survived. Now begins the process, or at least I hope it does, the process of moving on…which for me personally, means remembering the happy times and memories, of which, thankfully there are many 🙂

But lets start at the very beginning…New Year Day is also my anniversary and we had a cozy, quiet family celebration. I was never a fan of the big, wild, themed celebrations that I see around  me, where most people are invited to make up the numbers! Have attended a few and have always felt rather out of place! And now, as I grow older, I treasure the company of a few select friends and family, a quiet dinner and interesting conversation. The hoopla is just not for me. Been there, done that…moving on…

But thankfully,  January hasn’t been all about sombre moods and depression. No indeed, far from it – it’s been enjoyable in bits and pieces…and as a family, we’ve taken tiny steps…baby steps in the right direction.

So, this month, finally got my Dad to see a psychiatrist and though it was painful to hear him say some of things he did, I understand where he’s coming from. As his child, I realize, I’m carrying a whole lot of anger, guilt, and pressure, most of which I bring on myself. Every time  my parents sneeze I think it must be something I did or didn’t do’…you know what I mean, the classic ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t’ scenario. It’s totally irrational, completely illogical and so utterly predictable! Just recently, I’ve begun to learn to let go, to understand that not everything in their lives is about  and because of me.  So I’ve been staying out of their way (which is easier said than done!) and trying to let them make their own decisions and mistakes, all the while…feeling like a parent twice over…cause in addition to parenting my toddler, I feel like I’m parenting my parents too! A lot of my anger had to do with feeling unworthy – like after my brother passed, I wasn’t enough to keep them interested in living, in being happy no matter how hard I tried. I understood of course that they had to grieve, so did I, but as I said before – was being totally irrational! Now, I’ve reached a place of acceptance and understand that we need me more than either of us will ever admit! And that’s cool 🙂

Relationships and the generation gap have dominated my life since moving back home. In a continuance of the theme, my Granny, my  Mom and I, saw a wonderful Marathi musical play called Avagha Rang Ekachi Zhaala, which loosely translated  means ‘All Colors Are One’. My Granny’s 82 year old cousin, stars in this drama about the ‘generation gap’ and how differences between parents and children can be resolved, if both sides are willing to listen and compromise, all through the beauty of music 🙂 I love Marathi ‘natya sangeet’ as it’s called. Songs sung in a particular style, live by singer-actors. It’s an inherited love that is shared by the family, especially my Granny, cause one branch of the family has been closely involved in Marathi theater since she was a kid. Maybe that’s the reason why, she braved the crowds, and the AC to step out of the house in years! And it was worth every aching joint, as she would say!

We enjoyed the play, laughed non-stop and were very sorry to see it end! 3 cheers for my Granny’s cousin, Padmashri Prasad Sawkar, who plays the aging, conservative patriarch of a small middle class Maharashtrian family with panache! His duels with his son, who much to his horror, wants to remix his religious hymns to allow present day youth to enjoy, rediscover and identify with the lost are of the ‘abhang’, are the crux of the story. The son’s struggle with his desire for independence and his love and respect for his father are quite wonderfully enacted by a young singer-actor Amol Bawdekar. Equally well -handled is the father’s understanding and acceptance, when his young grand-daughter arrives from the US, ostensibly to learn music in the old ‘guru-shishya’ style but teaches him a few valuable life lessons along the way! She says much the same things his son has been for years, but her youth and her language are new, novel and so the old man allows himself to learn from the young girl. Perhaps it’s easier for him, cause he doesn’t have to feel like he’s lost a point to his son!! Many important lessons, in this deceptively light-hearted musical! Saw my Mom and Gran laugh out loud in a long time and for that alone, this one gets 5 stars 🙂 Can’t wait to see it again!

Also in January – met up with close friend Usha from Singapore 🙂 She was here with the family to celebrate her nephew’s wedding to a Goan girl. It was wonderful meeting up with her, and we spent a wonderful day together 🙂 She’s moving back to Mumbai around mid-year and it will be nice to have such a good friend just a car-journey away!

The 18th was hard. It was the day of my brother’s passing by the Hindu calendar and we had a puja to mark the occasion for close family. I don’t believe in religious rituals (another bone of contention between my parents and I)  – certainly not the way they are performed by most modern-day priests – in a hurry and tailored to suit their time constraints. If you believe, your soul needs today’s priests and their ministrations for salvation – well my sympathies! I believe, the soul is eternal and doesn’t need any middlemen to speak to anyone or anything – so I’m home free! But I guess, as a friend said to me, the rituals allow those of us who need it, celestial permission as it were, to move on…so be it!

Read some great books…The case of the Exploding Mangoes, The Virgin Suicides, Chocolat, got started on the Percy Jackson series…and some not so great…The Twilight series, though I persevered through Book I, couldn’t make it through any of the rest and cannot believe it’s such a phenomenon! The book shop I frequent here in Goa, is quaint and dreamy. Located in a sleepy little old Goan home, with a wonderful garden, it has atmosphere 🙂  It’s a place where you can curl up with a book and loose yourself in the magic and fantasy of a good story. A far cry from the endless, brightly lit shelves of Kinokuniya – my favorite bookshop in Singapore, I still managed to find Chocolat here, which I didn’t there! And they have a book club, which I am looking forward to!

So, that’s the report card for January 2010 – Some B’s an A or two, not bad!

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