“He said not to be worried. He said it will happen. And it happened”. My aunt told me with a trance; a recollection of the miracle that she was told to have been witnessed by a priest. I shook my head feigning disbelief, fulfilling my role as a small kid listening intensely to her words, though obviously laughing in my mind. “Miracles – something that happens only in one’s dreams” I said to myself.
Years passed. Life has changed a lot and tough times were upon me and our family. Struggling to face the harsh reality, I stepped into our shop trying to sort out the finances. Looking at the account books, I realised that it has been a long time since I checked on our business and am very much an outsider now. I know nothing of the day to day activities and the numbers appeared strange to me. I looked at them like a small kid trying to work on algebra. I really needed my uncle to help me out. He would know everything and can resolve all our problems immediately. Without second thought, I raised my phone and started to dial his number. But the phone came out with the obvious message that he is not reachable. It was not unexpected and I became to wonder if there is any way to reach him now. Many Seconds passed and I just stood there in my own thoughts trying to figure out what to do. That’s when I realised there was someone at the front of the shop awaiting my attention. I turned around to face the biggest surprise of my life.
There stood my uncle, who I have been praying for help; the one I wanted to meet very dearly; the one who was not reachable until a moment ago; greeting me with his wide smile as always. I was dumbfounded would be an understatement. What is he doing here? How did he come? Before the words could escape from my mouth, he started with his answer already. “I realised you would need my help. That’s why I came.” He came close to me and held my hands tight. “It is ok. I am here now.” He assured with his smile. It felt heavenly with his touch. Then he went on to speak with the sales people who also were surprised by his visit. I just stood there listening to him talking to others acting as casual as any other day. I still could not believe he was there. He then took my hands and we walked outside our shop right into the neighbouring shop that sells toys. It used to be a musicals sales store owned by a friend. We went inside and did not bother the shopkeeper who was not found anywhere. He might have gone outside. As he is well known around the place, he made himself comfortable in a chair and I seated next to him, still holding on to his hands. I don’t remember what we talked. But it was a beautiful conversation in heart. We must have been chatting for some time, when my other uncle, his younger brother almost walked past the shop without noticing us. A sudden sight of both of us together took him by surprise and he couldn’t believe his eyes. He slowly walked towards us trying to find words to speak. “Come here. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. I know you needed my help. That’s why I came. It will be alright.” He comforted my astonished uncle as he said to me. We looked at each other and did not know how to respond.
I guess we then decided to go for a ride. With no destination in mind, we were just cruising on the highway road surrounded by green trees on both sides creating a pleasing view to the eyes. My younger uncle, still not outside the shock was driving the car in silence with his brother sitting beside him. I was sitting at my usual place, in the middle of the rear seat leaning myself to the front between the seats, with my hands still holding steady on my seated uncle. We just chatted as if the world is behind us and we are all alone peacefully. The topics were the usual ones that we always have on every single ride in the past. These ranged from the new happenings in computer industry and the technology world. We had a detailed discussion on the newly released Samsung Galaxy S4 and if it is really worth it. I was not silent this time and was warming up to him with our usual chitchats and laughs. After all, he is here anyway. So why be surprised and lose the time. It was getting dark now and we were driving through tunnels with lights brightening the path. Whatever we laughed about, whatever we spoke of, my hands never left him. So was my younger uncle slowly easing up to the moment and was having a good conversation with us. “Don’t worry guys. It will be alright”. My uncle again said in his comforting tone. We just smiled with small tears in our eyes. I did not want to remove my hands from him ever.
The day has dawned and I woke up to the dismay of the artificial light that shone in the bed room. There were real tears that had settled inside my eyes as I tried to open them. I was unwilling to face the reality. I wanted to go back to sleep to continue our peaceful journey. But it was time to wake up as there was lot to do for the seventh day prayers to my recently deceased uncle. As he said, he is here with us always.
Going back to the days of my childhood, I recalled the miracle that my aunt narrated. A priest of a small temple was very much devoted to God. He prayed when he woke up and right before he slept. Once he was invited to preach his subjects in a foreign country. He was very much looking forward to spread God’s wisdom and had planned for all the arrangements. But unfortunately with only few days left for this travel, his Visa application was told to be delayed and that he may not receive the Visa on time. Feeling very disappointed, he was in tears on the test placed on him and prayed to God for his help before he slept. On that night, God visits him in his dreams and comforts him of his sorrows and says “Do not be worried. Everything will happen as it is meant to be”. The priest was in a much better mood when he woke up that morning. He felt sure that he will get his Visa on time and everything will be sorted out. To everyone’s surprise, the Visa did get approved and was sent to him that very same day. The priest praised God’s virtue that made things happen as promised by Him in his dreams.
Was it really God in his dreams whose virtue saved the Priest? Or was it just a dream? Remembering my Uncle’s visit in my sleep that night, I wish to believe that it was God indeed.
Life is as “uncertain” as a dice not knowing what number you will get. Life sometimes is more “uncertain” that it sometimes throws a number not on any faces of the dice. You are left confused and conflicted with the reality that you refuse to accept it. You thought that you have considered all probable scenarios; your plans so solid that you are led to believe that you are aware of all possible outcomes of the game. But in the end, the least imagined chance takes place and leaves you in a state of shock making you a fool, laughed by the cruel endeavors of fate.
On Tuesday, the 6th of August 2013, I was bored without any work to do in office and was passing time in the cafeteria sipping coffee. Without much reason like any other day, I dialed his number and waited. He picked up the phone shortly and answered “Thambi! Ennaya?” in his usual caring voice. I asked him the de facto question for I don’t remember ever to have started the calls with him without those words, “Enna Perippa, enna panreenga?” (Perippa, What are you doing?). He replied that he was at work in School. I could hear few voices in the background. On any other day, I would have responded that I will call him later when he is not busy and I called for no important reason. But somehow on that day, I remembered that he was unwell with cold and cough during the previous weekend. It was I, who had persuaded him to go to the hospital with me after he had ignored repetitive requests from Perima. I had told him that I also need to go for a checkup and he partly agreed to go to the hospital for me only. It was the very first time that I drove the car with him personally.
Remembering this, I asked him if he is alright now. He nodded that he is slowly getting better now. He was speaking in his usual soft voice. Not satisfied with his answer, I insisted “Why are you at work when you are supposed to be resting in home?” again. He rubbed off saying that he will leave soon. He added that he is not going to shop anyway and spends time only in his office as Correspondent in the school. I was feeling fine and thought he needed a break anyway. May be I was speaking loud or the anxious tone I had when I heard that he is in school, he started laughing when I reminded him again “Go home and take rest soon”. “You are the only person to have not scolded me before. But now, you have too.” He remarked. Even though I and my sisters, Bhuvana, Packia and Manicka try to advise him whenever he does something against his health, my words would always be soft and appear as an advice while theirs are mostly orders - not following them will have consequences for him. Somehow he felt that my advice that day appeared like their orders to him. We laughed together and I rephrased that it was just an advice for his own sake. He laughed again softly and said that he will leave soon. We wished good byes to each other and I told him that I will visit him the following weekend when I come home. “Seriya, Vachurava”, (Ok. I will end the call now) he spoke softly. I replied back “Ok. Perippa.” and the call ended, unknown to me or him that it would be the last we would ever speak to each other.
The next day evening at 6:14 PM, I called Bhuvana’s number and she was saying that he is currently admitted in Intensive care unit in the hospital though unknown to both of us, he might have left us already… forever. The dice played a number not in any of its faces and we stood lost.
The song is ended,
but the melody lingers on...
Irving Berlin T
here is a saying that we never realize the importance of someone until we lose them. For me, I never realized that I would lose someone of such importance in my life so soon. As a matter of fact, I still deny believing that I have lost him. The way of understanding my greatest loss, is to realize that he cannot become part of my future memories and all those precious tiny moments I had with him so far are what I will have to hold on and cherish forever. The thoughts I will have; the dreams I want to share; the wisdom I long for; the blessings I need from him; would not be reaching anytime in need anymore. The days and every moment I had spent with him were memorable in every little way possible. The least I can do now is to write down the tiny droplets of the time that I remember of him, my beloved Perippa.
- It is hard to recall the very first memory with him. Was it visiting him in hospital when he was hospitalized for the accident that hurt his finger or was it for some other reason? Was it the day he was driving Avanti Autogear in the early morning to play shuttle badminton in Cosmopolitan Club? I can recall only his smile vaguely at both the times.
- I and my sister Bhuvana are crazy about non-vegetarian food right from childhood. I very well remember the days he would take us to the restaurants Sampurna or Jamuna once every week without fail. We would sit on the corner table and will order a small plate of Biryani for myself and Bhuvana and also a plate or two of Chicken 65. He would ask if we want Boneless or Bone-‘ness’ chicken and we will give our choice for the week with much thoughts. Though I never preferred bones in chicken roast, I would order that just for a change and the way it is pronounced - “ness”. I believe we continued our trips to Sampurna until they closed. I can’t remember why or when we stopped these trips though.
- As I mentioned in the first point, he used to play Shuttle Badminton in Cosmopolitan Club daily. During school holidays, we would accompany him to the Club and will take the unused rackets available there for our own play. Though we were never allowed to play in the courts, we used to play beside them hitting the shuttle corks higher and higher. One more interesting thing in the club is that they had playing cards tables and he would take me near the rooms to get the damaged playing cards packs for us to play in home. We had so many of those packs that we never had to worry about not having playing cards at home. I wonder if Bhuvana still has those packs, for she unlike me keeps all her games and toys very safe.
- My mom had told me about this memory though I do not remember it now. As we are a big family with three brothers and their families living together and not to forget their 4 sisters who live not very far from one another, our vacation trips used to be in car occupied by twice the capacity it is said to hold. Imagine 7 adults and 3 kids travelling in a 5 seat sedan or sometimes add few more as they are the only remaining ones waiting for a ride. As the car would always be over occupied, my dad would be left without any space and he will be forced to travel by bus. My mom says that I had once questioned Perippa on why my dad is always left to come by bus. The remedy he made was simple. Just squeeze my dad to sit in the already packed small car and to not leave him out in our future trips. Of course, even my mom was not happy to share the space inside the car.
- What was different about this less educated (Perima tells me that he never finished 10th standard in School) business oriented person is his undying interest in Computers and Electronic Gadgets. It is not far from true if we consider him to be the very first person in Town to own a Personal computer in 1980s itself. I have seen the earliest of personal computers like IBM PC XT and IBM PC AT because of him. Our initial days with the computer were in the small room made in our shop especially for keeping the computer cooled by an air-cooler machine and an air-conditioner later. The earliest memory I have in that computer room is that of a hot summer afternoon when we had brought in pillows to sleep in the room when he was working on the computer. We just loved being in the room with him and that may be one of the reasons of my passion about computers. I was brought up with computers from the early age.
- Fast forward a few more years and I have grown up and obtained knowledge well enough to operate a keyboard. And what about him who was least educated in Tamil let alone in English, he was off to Computer classes in the early morning and had tutors teaching him Quattro, WordStar and Dbase – the latest DBMS language at that time. If this does not astonish one, take a note that he had the GIST card installed which allowed him to type in Tamil language in his accounting software. I remember the small paper he had with the key translation for typing the complex Tamil language in the QWERTY keyboard. Within few months that paper note was not needed and he would type as a pro. He also taught me to type in Tamil and it took me years to learn it completely. As there are so many more to share about his and our adventures together with computers, I will save them for a separate post.
- Being a keen listener, especially on things related to computers, I would always look at the computer screen when he is busy loading the financial accounts in the system. On one such instance, he was typing a long company name in a short field and the name would not fit. He was unable to identify a suitable replacement for the long name. Watching him with wonder, I suggested changing the last word “Company” to “Co.” which made the name fit perfectly. Though a simple idea which I had seen him do so many times before, my sudden response surprised him and he was in all praise of me and was saying it to so many others. Very much proud inside my heart, I just brushed off with fake modesty that it is nothing complicated.
- It was my first Karate demonstration in our School and I was wearing the white Karate dress with the Orange belt that I had achieved earlier that year. The bell rang and about 10 of us assembled in the middle of the school playground ready to perform the Katas and Sparing moves in front of the school correspondent, Principal, teachers, parents and all hundreds of students. Then all of a sudden, the photographer pulled me outside the group and made me stand aside from others and asked me to pose for a photograph. Now, it is not just the photographer’s camera staring at me. There was the entire group from the stage, my teammates as well as every person in the school campus who have their eyes fixed on me. And of course, there was Perippa standing little behind the photographer smiling at me. He was the one who had asked the photographer to shoot me. Out of shock, I was not even embarrassed and silently posed back with my ready stance and ran back to join the group who were still looking at me.
- Though it is not that he has never scolded me, it was all but a momentary reflex of the stupid things I used to do. But there was one day during my 9th standard annual holidays. As there were special classes for the upcoming 10th standard, I was staying in Dindigul while my mom had gone to grandma’s place. It was a Friday evening and as the classes for Saturday were cancelled, I told him in our shop that I want to go to native place for the next 2 days. As he always advises to come and look after the shop during the holidays, he would not let me go. I, unknown of the trouble I was creating on myself, I kept asking him again and again adding much to his irritation. Then all of a sudden, for the first time to my knowledge he scolded hard that I am being very irresponsible for wanting to waste the holidays instead of learning something useful in shop. Never felt his anger before, I was controlling my tears and left to our other shop next door completely red-faced. Seeing my troubled face, my cousin realized that something is wrong and questioned me. My tears ran over my control and I started crying silently. He took me back to Perippa and supported me to go to my native place. But he was still not convinced and scolded me back. I just stood there weeping and went back to the other shop again. We never talked that remaining night, but when we had closed the shop after business hours, he simply asked me to get on his bike and dropped me in the bus stand to go to my grandma’s place. I had no words to say and the trip was silent and haunted me all the way. I wanted to say sorry to him for being irresponsible and for not obeying him that way. But being a scared kid, I did not speak to him. By the time, I reached my grandma’s house; he called the phone checking if I had reached safely. I think he wanted to speak with me in the phone as I heard my mom replying back that I am not near the phone and was playing in the other room. I never got to tell him this and I can never anymore.
- Being very close to all members of the big family, I would go to anyone’s house anytime and stay overnight whenever I would like to. The Saturdays had a routine during my school days. As the School would be a holiday, Perippa would call home in the morning asking me to come to the shop. I will drive by my bicycle and will sit next to him in the computer room and walk around the shop doing odd things. When the shop is closed for lunch, we would go to a Video rental store in his bike and I will choose an English movie that I like. We will go to his home; have lunch together and will start watching the movie. As he has the habit to sleep for few hours in the afternoon, he would sleep in the middle of the movie. I will watch the movie alone and once it ends, we will get ready for shop once again. The fun part of it is when he would ask me to narrate the story which generally involves me saying “ivan kettavan… ivan nalavan... “(he is the bad guy… he is the good guy) pointing on the screen. He would laugh at my narration and generally asks the question for most movies just for fun. The 1966 film, Born Free and 1972 film, Crazy boys of the game are his favorites and I very well remember watching and enjoying the movies with him.
- It’s the day that you look forward for the next 364 days
- It’s the day that truly is yours and yours only (until you get married... (and have a kid)).
- It’s the day that takes loooong time to start and you pray that it takes a loooooonger time to end.
- It’s the day that you just hope nothing goes wrong so that you won’t be jinxed for the rest of the year.
- It’s the day you act like a king even though you are not and you will not accept it.
- It’s the day that you want to be awake when it starts.
- It’s the day that empties your wallet and damages your credit cards.
- It’s the day you smirk like a celebrity tired of taking phone calls all day.
- It’s the day when Beeps, Likes, Comments, Rings and Knocks are simply not enough.
- It’s the day your friend turns into enemy temporarily for forgetting "it’s the day".
- It’s the day your school teacher excuses you from doing homework, scoring low marks or being "you".
- It’s the day you wait for the special someone to notice you.
- It’s the day that you don’t want anyone to claim that it is theirs day too.
- It’s the day to be embarrassed being sung the song in front of everyone, but still being bold enough to face it.
- It’s the day that you have no reason to be proud of, but still get congratulated... (unless you are old).
- It’s the day of surprises and acting to fake surprises.
- It’s the day when sweets are on the top of the list and sometimes top of your head.
- It’s the day that gives you cards, gifts, sweets and more.
- It’s the day that becomes the worst when left alone away from the loved ones.
- It’s the day that you makes you happy but scared when counting the age.
- It’s the day when Joey cried "Why God? Why? We had a deal!"
- It’s the day that you make wish blowing the candle(s).
- It’s the day that you want to be declared holiday just for you.
- It’s the day that you want to have the greatest fun in your life.
- It’s the day that your parents want you to be the most disciplined as every other day of your life.
- It’s the day that you go first on e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
- It’s the day to get beaten where the door might have hit you or the dog bit you.
- It’s the day when only one thing goes on your friends mind.
- It’s the day that called your birthday.
- It’s the day you write this and someone will reply to the post saying,
INJEY in other days