Thursday, August 18, 2016

Fond Remembrances

As time passes, you realize that each year gives you something to remember it by, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, memorable or forgettable. Even though it isn’t yet over, 2016 has been no different. Three people were taken away. These, while not related to each other, all influenced my life. 

The first was my very own uncle. A patriarch to my family in the truest sense of the word, I don’t remember any major event of my life in which he did not participate. In fact, his presence validated the moment for me and made it more, well for lack of a better word, real. My father’s beloved oldest brother (the “in law” part really didn’t matter), a much loved and respected uncle to all my paternal cousins and me, this dignified and well read person was a pillar to my family throughout his life. Not always openly expressive, his love for his family and especially his nieces and nephews shone through in action. I remember certain late nights when we used to live at Khar when my uncle, who used to be based in Muscat for quite a few years for work, used to come directly from the airport to our house to meet my brother and me rather than go to his own house. The photos taken of one such visit stay with us as a fond memory of that moment all those years back. I remember how my brother and me used to phone him and my aunt to tell them about any of our so-called achievements, be it good results in some exams, or our admission to a good college or even landing our first jobs and getting that first pay-check. My visits to their house always used to include that one conversation with my uncle that covered a whole lot of topics such as cricket, the best routes to get from one place to the other, new food joints in and around, my current job and in the recent future, my kids. He was a true connoisseur of cricket and he could spend hours discussing the nuances with a like-minded companion. These and many other qualities of his always come to mind when I think of him. I was fortunate enough to be one of his loved ones and I will always miss his physical presence in my aunt’s house.

The second person to leave us this year was S’s brother-in-law. While related to him only through marriage, I still got the chance of getting to know him over the years of my marriage to S. He really embodied the “gentle” part of gentleman and his easygoing persona was evident to everyone who was lucky enough to have him touch their lives. His being husband to a sweet lady and father to a worthy daughter only goes to show that good things happen to nice people. In all the time that I knew him, I have never ever heard him say anything negative about anyone. He was a hardworking person himself and he ensured that his family led a comfortable and happy life. His detailed knowledge of rituals made him the de facto go to man for helping to carry out any such occasions which warranted expert advice. In fact, he helped perform the rituals during S and my engagement as well. When I think of him, I can only picture a genial man, with a great broad smile and an enthusiastic approach towards life. His sudden and untimely demise cast a pall over all of us but I am sure that wherever he is, he will ensure that his good wishes will be with us always. 

The third person I refer too has passed on very recently and thoughts of her are still fresh in my mind as I write this. She was the beloved baby sister of my close friends and her age makes it even more difficult to accept reality and move on. Some people influence your life over the course of a lifetime, some for slightly lesser and then there are some who can do it in a very short span of time. Shared interests or people can be factors to this and that was the case with her and me as well. A much loved, vivacious and multi-talented girl, she was full of life and all that it had to offer. Through the eyes of my friends, I saw her as a favourite aunt to her nieces and a loving sister to her own sister, cousin brothers and sisters-in-law. She was also a voracious reader and a big-time foodie. The brief time I had the pleasure of conversing with her was full of discussions on books read or to be read and suggestions of eateries. True to form, she stayed strong and positive and gave a tough battle to the disease till the very end. In my eyes, that is what makes her a super-woman and that is who I will always remember her as. 

It is said that when a person leaves us, they remain with us always in the form of memories they created with us and for us. It is up to us to decide if these memories are to give us pain and sorrow or just are an excuse to celebrate the happy and warm moments we shared with those who left us. While it is always going to be tough to accept that they won’t be with us anymore, we need to believe that they would have never wanted to be a reason for our continued pain. I take this opportunity to express how privileged I feel to have been part of the lives of these 3 people. Maybe this is my way of coping – so be it.