Life is short. Enjoy the coffee!

Life is short. Enjoy the coffee!

Five deaths in the family in the first half of 2016, Mi.  If that’s not an indication of how temporary our existence really is, I don’t know what is. It is surreal to receive news of a death.  Talk about fragile lives!

Do you remember that early morning in July, more than a decade ago, when the ring of the phone tore into the peaceful morning, shattering our own peace in the process? As it is, late night and early morning phone calls are viewed suspiciously as they can never be good news, if we are to believe history.

But that morning, the phone was especially cruel. Sury answered it, while the rest of us huddled on the sofa in the living room, anxious to know who and what it was.  I am still stunned to recall how speechless Sury was, holding the phone. The words just wouldn’t come. Our beloved Kondu mama had passed away, that too on his birthday.

We were all ready and packed to leave the next day for his 60th birthday celebrations.

As I write this now, tears are streaming from my eyes – not just with  the sadness that fills me, but thinking of what a wonderful human being he was, Mi. I may not have had a conventional childhood, but I had uncles who gave me the gift of their time, and treasured memories. I feel nostalgic to remember waking up in the morning to see a bar of Cadburys chocolate and a tray, filled with water and envelopes floating in it to ease the stamps off them, so I could add them to my collection. I think of his enthusiasm filling the house on Sundays, urging the women in the house to take the day off while he cleaned and cooked and did the laundry with the radio blaring away. I swear I can smell the detergent soap. Then he would buy movie tickets and send Kittu mama and manni off in a taxi to spend some time together. The rest of us would enjoy a tea party at home with the record player  giving us Cliff Richard and Tom Jones, followed by MS Subbulakshmi. Something for everyone.

And how can I forget the long letters he wrote me every week! I loved reading and replying to them and he’d treasure those. I still remember the denim jeans and jacket design I sent him and my thrill when he brought them during his next visit. I wore them for the longest time and gifted the jacket to our Shnu.

He introduced me to limericks and gifted me the whole rugby jokes book set. He gave me Wayne Dyer and Normal Vincent Peale. James Hadley Chase and Harrold Robbins. MAD Comics. He taught me the phrase “Don’t make an issue out of it” and it became my mantra.

Sigh. He was the quintessential good samaritan who literally gave the shirt off his back if he saw someone shivering in the cold. I love to recall how, as he walked home, the street hawkers would shower him with blessings for funding their little businesses.

Who knew he would leave us so soon? It was so painful to travel to Chennai to attend his last rites when it really should have been a birthday celebration.

Fragile lives, yes. Why, I feel cheated about you passing away at 64, so suddenly. So people console me saying you didn’t have prolonged suffering, but if years of chronic illness at the mercy of experimental medication and a whole week on a ventilator with a collapsed lung that had no chance of inflating is not suffering, I don’t know what is.

If life has taught me one thing, Mi, it is not to hold back when it comes to telling someone I love them. And as you would say, show them! Do the things I want to do now, not later. Some day is not a day of the week, eh?

I feel particularly blessed to have enjoyed an unusual childhood, going through five schools from grade 1 to  10 and three colleges before I graduated with honors. Funny life. It has taught me to be open minded, flexible and ready to adapt. I laugh when I think of how Paati always marveled at my attitude – when I was “there” I was happy. When I was “here” with her, I was equally happy.

To think I’ll turn 53 next month feels quite weird, because, I am really only 24, right? And I still haven’t got the guts to cut my hair short.

Let’s celebrate that beautiful and cheerful thought with some nice strong filter kaapi.

And some melancholy Sting. How fragile we are…


Rocking the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
Today’s Day 3 and the prompt is “Fragile Lives”
I am with Team #CrimsonRush



27 thoughts on “Life is short. Enjoy the coffee!”

  • This went straight to my heart, Vidya! I loved knowing Kondu Mama through your memories and words, which will keep him alive for a long time to come.
    And I love your spirit! Keep spreading the sunshine, like only you can!

  • Sorry for your loss, Vidya. Our lives are very fragile but we don’t realise it in time. The memories of our loved ones stay with us forever, warming our souls. Take care

  • I am with ya on such sudden demises. My dad was just 65. He got us all married off, and was looking fwd to relaxing and visiting places. Alas! man proposes and god disposes!!

    We ought to treasure life and relationships. I felt I learnt a lot from his demise. My learning about the universal energy and it’s channeling….all came thereafter!!

    hugs!!

  • Indeed your mama is great human being. I too have my uncles with whom shares great bond from childhood. As you said Vidya, our lives are fragile and we shouldnt wait to express our love to loved ones.

  • Well expressed post, Vidya. I too love my mama very much …… As lifis short & fragile ….. why anger, jealous & fights …… let us dance and celebrate it. Appreciate spreading radiance of love around you ……

  • This touched me. In fact today I was wondering about death and the loss of so many people in the past few years… uncles, grand mother, college junior… to think that I will never talk to them… hear their laughter.. It’s painful once you start thinking deeply. I am sorry for your loss.. this is a heartfelt post … I love how fondly you remembered your uncle through your words.

  • This touched me. In fact today I was wondering about death and the loss of so many people in the past few years… uncles, grand mother, college junior… to think that I will never talk to them… hear their laughter.. It’s painful once you start thinking deeply. I am sorry for your loss.. this is a heartfelt post … I love how fondly you remembered your uncle through your words

  • Aiyyyo lost my comment :-(.

    I love the way you describe your home and family. You seem to be exceptionally fortunate in being surrounded by the warmest sweetest set of people. Or maybe it is just you seeing the best side of everyone. I feel like I know you mama – how cheerful and thoughtful he seems! It’s sad to lose loved ones and they need really leave us, do they?

  • Brought tears to my eyes your post. I wrote about mum too in today’s post. Can you believe she went away when just 53! Oh yes, we are looking at the fragility of lives every single day. The other day, I heard about the mother of a friend passing in a matter of minutes before any one from the family could even visit her. First heart attack and fatal. Life, it just throws you off gear!

  • I can never fully comprehend how to handle deaths in the family. Nothing can heal the sorrow or the hurt….time only dulls the pain. The ones we miss…we will always miss. Fragile indeed are lives but the relations we make are for life. Much love and hugs Vidya.

  • So true Vidya, life is indeed fragile and I wish I remember and acknowledge this everyday.I just found out my college batchmate lost her husband last week and I can’t seem to get over it. And the funny thing is we were not even close or in touch. But I feel so bad and I feel scared. I have promised to tell everyone I love how important they are to me..

  • Your uncle would be smiling from wherever he is now. So many people reading about him and thinking if only I had an uncle like that 🙂

  • That is how life is – suddenly slips away leaving behind pain and tears and memories…..When I lost my father and my brother, it was terrible. It is still so sore – that emptiness I feel when I am alone. Its like you want to ask them why but there won’t be any answer…..till the day when you will meet them when your fragile lives end…..

  • There is nothing more painful than the untimely death of someone young and dear to the heart. We can never come to terms with some things in life and this is one of them.
    You sure are blessed to have such an inspiring uncle in your life.

  • He truly was a person worth remembering! Sometimes I wonder, why does God have to take away life on anyone’s birthday? A day after seems fine, but not that day! I may sound stupid at the moment but that’s how I feel!
    Life sure is uncertain and that is what we should not forget and live in the moment!

    Loved your article Vidya ma’am 🙂

    Cheers

  • I have a lump in my throat reading this, Vidya. Not that it made me sad…it did
    …but more so just how beautifully you have put across the fragility of lives and the importance to shower love on the people that matter to you in life. The love for your uncle and shows and the way you have written about him speaks highly of the kind of man he was.

    • Thank you Sarah. Yes, it has been a trying year and I am doing my best to look at all the silver linings and keep myself busy. I am grateful for what I have and I am treasuring the wonderful memories. Yet, sometimes…. it is so hard. Hugs!

  • This brought back memories of one year I lost my dad, three aunts, and my sis-in-law all within 2 months. All but my dad were in car accidents. I will never forget how fragile it makes our life feel.

  • This post brought back memories of my aunt, who passed away in her forties, due to Cancer. I have never known a gentler soul, who was so very loved by everyone.

    You are right. We must never put off expressing our love and gratitude towards anyone. Lives are indeed fragile.

  • Life is too short and it’s never easy to lose someone close. Felt the same when Bhaiya passed away in January so sudden. We need to make the most by spending quality time with our loved ones and am glad you did.
    Sorry for the loss, Vidya.

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