Sunday, May 18, 2008

When Dreams Beckon

If only life were that simple!
If solutions were easy to come by.
If dreams were to come true.
We sure would soar high.
O, yes, we would fly!

But dreams are dreams and so
They fade with the fading night.
They transport us to a world beyond but
Desert us in the morning light

They make reality bearable
Color our world for a while
We bask in their aura briefly
Ready to go another mile.

Last night once again I saw Raju in my dreams. Not unusual, this happens quite often. In my dreams he is not the way we know him in real life – unable to sit up, walk, talk, see or hear. Suspended between sleep and waking, I see him as a complete child – much to my surprise – and I wonder why I ever thought him challenged!

I saw him walking last night. I had taught him to walk and he had learnt in a jiffy. Just like that. How? Well, I stood with my back to him, told him to hang on to my waist and pulled him up – half-carried him on my back. Then I instructed – okay, Raju, now one step at a time – one two, left right, left right, follow my steps. I took slow forward steps.

And he followed. He took one tentative step, then another. And then he did not need my support. He was walking on his own. He was. And I called everyone excitedly – see, we thought Raju could not walk but he knew all along how to. And now, see, he is walking.

And then Raju could see, too. His eyes were no longer glazed. The opaque film had vanished and he was clear-eyed. Focused. He looked at me. He looked all around. Confidently.

How silly I was, I exclaimed! I spent all these years thinking he could not see!

Raju gave me hs hand and we walked along. His tiny feet were bare and I remember thinking – I must get him a pair of shoes, now that he can walk. But first a celebration to mark this milestone – Raju’s first tottering step! So what f he has taken it when he is almost 31.

But dreams are dreams and so
They fade with the fading night
They take us to a world beyond but
Disappear in the morning light

I wake with the sound of Boot barking in the lobby. He wants to go out to relieve himself so I let him out into the garden. And then I turn to Raju who is making clucking sounds in his sleep. He has a beatific smile on his face. He clutches Chimpu, the new, cuddly soft toy he has recently been gifted.

The left leg of his pyjamas has climbed up, so I pull it down and look at his little feet. The feet of a baby. Tiny, smooth and pink. They have never walked the ground. And never will.

This is reality.

What has faded was a dream!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


And then we went hungry -- but only for a day. It was all for a good cause -- we were supporting PUTA in the agitation for Central University status.

Chain-fasting has been going on for more than a month now. Everyday there are at least five faculty members / research scholars sitting on hunger-strike. The venue is outside the PU Guest House, braving the heat and the dust, the loo and the occasional rain. Turn by turn, volunteers came forward to sit hungry all day under the makeshift tent in front of the university Guest House. And then Mina, Pratibha, Harpreet and I decided to sit together on fast one day.

It wasn't too bad, really. We decided on a dress code. Ahem! White kurtas would go well with the marigold garlands all chain-fast volunteers need to wear, so white kurtas it was!

And then what followed was a picnic sans edibles. Only water from time to time. It was good bonhomie, there under the Silver Oak trees, with colleagues stopping by to sign the attendance register in support of the cause. News reporters and photographers came by. So did Kokil with her camera to click photos of fasting aunties. The pic above is taken by her. The comment she made was -- "Mummy, you certainly don't look starved. In fact you seem to be having such a good time that no one will take you seriously!"


Anyway, as you can see in the pic above, Mina was not there for the photo-session as she had to attend a court hearing briefly in between -- in connection with the PUTA issue to enhance the retirement age from 60 to 62 years. Here is her pic below. Any resemblance to Maharani Gayatri Devi is purely coincidental!

As they say, when you are in good company even hell becomes bearable. We were all friends there and this wasn't hell. So the day went by chatting and laughing. Kehte hain, na, pyar main rasta toh kya, zindagi kat jaati hai!

Where will our efforts lead? Can't say. One can only hope for the best, keep trying, waiting for the efforts to bear fruit!

"Let us then, be up and doing. With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait." (Longfellow)