As I take life day by day and embrace all the good moments, working around my health, I seem to be becoming more and more philosophical. In the last few years, as well as any of my personal struggles, my family has faced death in throngs – the older generation are passing on and the latest in succession, were my Great Aunt, Balambigai aka Tang Tang Aatchi and my Dad’s eldest brother, Ram Periappa (Uncle). This was a poem for my Granddad, when he went, in 2007. Since then, his brother and brother in law, have also passed away.
By God’s grace, I was able to meet many of them their older years, albeit briefly, despite having spent very little time with them, having grown up continents apart and feeling the bond we intrinsically shared. Great Aunt Balambigai, in my eyes, was free-spirited and followed her bliss, much like I’m doing. She was a playwright, a Saraswati Veena player and she even played the Sitar beautifully, from what I’ve gathered. In this photo, which is quite grainy due to back light, she was inscribing her book of radio plays, Salangai Oli for me. Said my Dad: “Two songs she composed and sang come to my mind. “Valli Mohana pulli mayilvaagana” in Mohanam and “Hare Sree Krishna” in Yamuna Kalyani. Does anyone have these two songs? I would love to have them.” If anyone can help, please reach out. They are songs sung in Hindu temples, I’m told.
My Uncle Ram was an engineer and worked in the Telecoms sector. A brilliant man, who was charming, as well as non judgmental. He was a shining light for my Father and his siblings and I remember watching the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana at his home. He had a lot of Corgi Diecast Model cars and tons and tons of books. He was a gadget man and my Dad shared this on Facebook: “There is so much I can say about what he has done for me, but words fail me now. He was the brainiest in the family and the valve-based Hi Fi systems he constructed were the best I have heard. This was the main reason for my interest in Hi-Fi. I know tributes will come pouring in now and all I can say is: May he rest in peace.”
My Dad did something wonderful for my birthday, a few years ago – he digitised all the photos over the years, in his possession. As a result, I can share these gems. 2 are very old shots, from my Great Aunt’s collection. Real treasures, showing her at her finest – If you spot it, there is a tiny child with a flute above the photo on the bottom left – I believe this is my Mother! The photo of the brothers, has my Dad and 2 brothers who’ve passed away, to his right, including Uncle Ram and my photographer Uncle, Bala. It was taken on my Dad’s wedding day. On the left of my Dad, is Uncle Hari, who resides in Toronto.
As a tribute to my relatives who’ve moved on, I shared a quote from Harry Potter, which I resonated with: “To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I also shared this amazing image, captured, by Mio Nino Marquez, as in Hinduism, it is Lord Shiva, who is associated with passing on. This is a super stunning photo of the Shiva temple, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, in Bali, Indonesia.
This is a poignant Lord Shiva prayer, for them:
Aaandham paramam nithyam kaivalya pada dhayinam,
Namami sirasa devam, kim no mrutyu karishyathi
“What can death do to the one,
Who salutes with his head that god
Who is happiness,
Who is beyond thought,
Who is stable,
And who grants salvation.”
Said Lata Desai, of the London sitar ensemble, about this image, on my Facebook page: “I honestly don’t know where you get these kind of gorgeous images from?! Keep posting them. They are a delight to my eyes.”
My reply is in the below image, including some photos of my many moods, over the years – thanks to all the photographers who’ve graced my life. Life goes on and my take on it is that one must continue to smile through every aspect of it.