Vinish Garg

Technical Writer. Published Author.

Posts Tagged ‘memoirs

Drenched. Soaked. An Awesome Life.

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Saturday, 06 October: 2035
As I wrapped a few apple peels in a wastebin, I saw an old and muffled newspaper already lying in it. Ah, the world of sportspersons, celebrities, politicians, insurance advisors, estate agents, slum, artists and everyone. And HJS’s.
What a commodity to have first early morning to read, and then to use it to wrap peels of fruits. I hated it.
It was an evening walk. I quickly revisited the task list for next day as (a) deposit term payment to LTA (b) download notes (c) call bank. The thoughts of court meeting next day brought spring in my stride, and then I slowed down. Walks after evening meals are meant to be slow, ahesta-ahesta.
I sensed some complexity in my walks. As if it was not simple enough. Something as *HJS* flashed across my eyes. That should not have been there. It was unfortunate. I wish I could take it out of that wastebin but it was too rubbished by then. Disrespected. I recalled all those newspapers I had with the editorials in The Tribune by Hari Jai Singh. A few pieces were absolutely marvelous, a lifetime treasure. Like a 281 by VVS Laxman. No technology had the DNA to match that, ever. I noted it on a paper, in CAPS. I thanked the Inheritance, and cherished it forever with me.
When I picked the current newspaper, it looked like borrowed. Like a preoccupied mind. Or as if an over-crowded bus. The thoughts were there but were not meant to be. News are NOT meant to be that way. Newspapers are not planned like transport. The accountability is similar but repercussions are different. And the scale is different. I feel it almost daily, the absence of HJS. The constant of his absence.
And it started pouring outside. How much I love this smell. Perhaps the power goes off though I am not sure. The doctors have evolved. They are more sure now. Life is more predictable. This too is Indian summer.
It is 24 years. But I will not be sad today. I am feeling like that key. Safe because I have been successfull to cherish HJS, CAPS, and Indian summer. Vulnerable because I am the CEO. I checked the *skillset* on my LinkedIn profile and realized that I am endorsed by my owner as *not sure*. Could the keys unlock only cars? or fear also? She broke down that day, same day it was. Saturday, 06 October 2012. I dint.
Twenty three years later today, I could not comprehend what I was thinking. The writer in me had paused. It went for a toss. As if a double space after a period. The longest key was in action for longer than it was required.
Life today had been the *awe* in *awesome*, again. The slow walk downstairs, the newspaper and the absence of HJS, the summer rain. The CAPS. The space.  I am soaked like never before. Drenched.
As I gathered my thoughts, I felt that it was an awesome life. India completes 100 years of independence in 12 years, but this life started like a theatre 88 years back. It was no more a trial room for me. It is like a stage.
And amazingly for that moment, I felt as if the steel is accommodated in the periodic table.
I am no writer but his writerhood that I inherited brings this recap after 24 years. I hope to add to it some day.
– Naman

Written by Vinish Garg

October 7, 2012 at 12:12 am

Try Room. Or Stage?

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While purchasing a jeans last month, I tried one and then another one before I could purchase it. The Try Room was busy as I saw two gracious ladies having piles of skirts and jeans to try. I tried one more before I finally purchased the traditional light-blue boot-cut jeans. Of those I tried, the unfit or struck-out jeans were left on the counter. Probably someone else would try them.

I purchased an apartment few days back and plan to leave the present house, where I have stayed for last 6 years now. Moving to a new house is not new to me; I have lived in about 7-8 houses in last 20 years.

But today, I felt as if I was in a Try Room for six years.

The life cycle of a Jeans is that few persons try it and someone picks it. Like I did. The jeans that I tried were like one of my possible relationships. I picked one. The life cycle of Try Room is that some relations begin there, others do not, and a few end there. As if in the house.

What we shall leave behind in the current house is too internalized. The way I move from one room to another, the car is parked, the door is closed, the TV remote is fondled, the laptop is put to battery charge, the guests are served water, the newspaper is picked from gate, the courier is received, the cricket match is enjoyed, the bath is taken, and the JEANS is put on. Even when it is dark and I cannot see, I know that I need to move five steps straight from my bedroom door and then two steps to right, to enter the kitchen. And the way we celebrate. And mourn.

What shall I take along to new house? Anything that occupies space and has mass (matter). But we leave behind a lot. Anything that occupies mind and has weight (it also matters).

The bags will be packed for new jeans and old jeans. Some jeans are difficult to get rid of, forever. Like an old relationship. Like Him. Who quit on 23 February.

During my final try for jeans that day, I did what the Try Room expected me to. It knew that I will first lock the door from inside, take off my old jeans, put on new jeans, see myself in mirror, change posture, look from behind, and then make my mind whether to shortlist it or not. It knew that I would take 20 seconds and I did. As I moved out, I heard it whispering to me, “If you won’t, someone else will.” Like my current house.

Yes, the current house is like a Try Room.

As His car would stop at the gate, the current House (like that Try Room) knew how many seconds He will take to reach His room. Which way? What will He do first? What will He say first? What will He want first? But for Him, the house was not a Try Room. He lived in this house like artists live on Stage.

For theatre.

He knew that it is not a permanent house; that He would have to get down from Stage. For another Stage. He tried but could not. He walked, laughed, talked, sat, slept as if it is Stage. The spotlight was automated. He did not shy. No second thoughts. He never needed a Try Room. It was always Live on Stage.

Quite fittingly, I never saw him in jeans.

But the Act is over now. The Curtains fell. He left the stage 2 months back.

While trying the jeans, a part of my old jeans got stuck in a hook in the Try Room. I need to re-learn the way I put on the new jeans and take it off. Fold and unfold. Hang it. Get it washed. Rinse it. Dry it. And use my belt on it.

For old jeans, I will have to leave HIM here only, the way He sat and looked at me, and expected from me. How He insisted for space for sun and walk in car porch. The way He insisted for taking medicine and for not taking medicine. The way He came to my room, sat quietly and went off. And how I went to His room, stayed quiet, and came back. The way He wanted alone to be in kitchen and the way He was scared to be left alone. The way He was courgeous (as if He was the director) and the way He was weak (as if He was a spot boy). On Stage.

The way He lived. Not for any audience, but for Himself. As if on Stage. And on 23 February, the curtains fell.

Now someone else might be trying the same jeans that I discarded, in same Try Room. And someone else might be living (not performing) on same Stage.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

April 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

Tagged with , , , ,

Anytime. Indian Summer.

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It is summer in India and owing to electricity power shortage for many years in Punjab, power cuts have started. Even if these are scheduled, people are prepared to see the lights going OFF, anytime. Prepared Everytime. An individual may be having meals, studying, watering fields via a tubewell, or is checking emails. Clickkkk, and the power is gone. Interestingly, it can be restored back in same way. Unscheduled. Anytime. So, people are always prepared. Everytime.

  • Like a promotional text message on my phone. Anytime. I am prepared Everytime (to read).
  • Like a militant attack somewhere in India. Anytime. Forced prepared Everytime (to defend).
  • Like a 20 day old kid in her mother’s lap. Anytime. Mother prepared Everytime (to clean).

Or …

Like HIM, who is using his right to be missed Anytime. And Everytime.

When we shared physical space at home, I often avoided using His washroom. Because He could need it Anytime. As if he needed it Everytime. Till 23 February 2011. Wednesday. Now I can enter there Anytime. He always kept a water jug or bottle with Him for 15 years because He could need water Anytime. And He needed it Everytime.

Now, His absence is present with us Everytime. Like that water bottle. Everytime. We are prepared to let it fade away. Anytime. Because it will. And we are prepared to welcome it back. Everytime. Because it will. But in its absence, our backup is on. The Inverter. Unlike the electricity inverter that is charged by AC/DC, His inverter gets charged when I use his car. When Archit (my brother) comes back from work and does not stop at his room. And my mother, when she inhales oxygen. We carry this inverter like He carried the water bottle. Everytime.

I remember How He tried to have a single bite of food, in second week of February. The Will was there, the Wish too, the Skill too, but the body did not support it. Some *uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body* did now allow him. I googled to know more about this uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. All I could understand was that it can happen anytime. Like power failure. Doctors told us about his condition and we were prepared. Like a farmer is prepared. It may rain, it may not. The power may go off anytime. It may not.

How much pain He endured over the years, and particularly in last 5 months. Sitting on foot on bed. Not able to sit. Barely able to lie. Barely able to walk. No sleep. Little diet. Coughing. Oil massage. Heat treatment, Steam. Body ache. And Ivy. And at last the fortis (the hospital).

When I recall that, I try to read (what he said without words) unlike that unwelcome promotional text. I try to defend (mistook that he attacked) against the run of play. I try to clean (because it is helpless to clean itself). And it happens anytime. Anytime. I need to be prepared Everytime. I got a good inverter.

This is Indian summer.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

A Burger or a Missing Hand

with 4 comments

Few days back, I was sitting in a restaurant and a veg-burger was served on my table. I could see it right in front of me and after 10 minutes, it was not there. For 10 minutes, that burger was part of my atmosphere, like air, like sunlight, like space and matter. Now it was missing. It had done its job. It was not a constant in my life.

Soon, I noticed how a man just limped across the gate, and entered in. He had one hand chopped off and carried a baby in his other arm. He was cautious to stay balanced while moving around, before he settled on a table. “Did he miss his hand,” I wondered. How many times in a week, month or year does he think about his missing hand? No clue. May be sometimes. Since the missing hand did not complete its job.

It was NOT 03 December that day, so it was not a World Disability Day. But for some, it is always a disability day. For that man, the absence of hand might have become a constant. For him, every day is a disability day. Same way for last 26 days, every day had been a world disability day for us.

It was evening and a bit cloudy yesterday. While having a walk in a nearby park, we saw the moon playing hide and seek in clouds. We sat on a bench and saw different shapes formed in the clouds. As if a running dog (tail flying and mouth opened), or flying kite (with a long string). Both looked happy, as if doing their job well. The next moment I saw HIM in same clouds, looking at me. No words. Quiet. Still. Expressionless. Like a portrait of his picture clicked without his permission and without his notice. As he was on 22 February 2011 before he breathed last on 23 February. In spite of that, I sensed as if he wanted me to say something, to ask about his health. I wanted to.

I felt like that missing hand of that man (as if the job was incomplete).

26 days. Just as 26 alphabets can be rearranged and used to communicate anything, these 26 days have almost summed up our disability without Him. His eyes were devoid of any emotions. After all, space is always less, everywhere and so probably, he had too many wishes and plans to leave any space for emotions. I was not sure though. As I was looking at him, a plane flew across those shapes. It must be noisy there. Would he be happy for that noise (among Haria (his servant), Roorh Singh (his driver), his phones), or that He was missing his *silence* (Vinish)?

I felt water all over. In my eyes, throat, limbs. My wife asked me what was wrong. “Nothing”, I said.

Probably the dog was still running in clouds. And we walked back home. Me like that dog, and my wife like my wife.

Back home, I entered His room to switch off the room light. My heartbeat paused for a while. He was not there. Only the space. Silence again.

As if He was like that burger (as if he had done his job).

His absence has become a constant in our lives. Like a burger. Like the absence of that missing hand.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 20, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Inheritance – The Silent Catalyst

with 11 comments

-> A foreman, a die-hard Roger Federer fan, lives in a 100 square yards sized house in a Melbourne suburb. Once she saw Federer at Sydney harbour and she got a chance to shake hands with the star. Yes, she cherished it. Federer’s support staff could not feel the joy that the lady felt.

-> I often see street dogs struggling to cross the road in Chandigarh because of increased traffic. Few years back, they could cross it with ease but now; the joy of getting something to eat from across the road is diluted because of the effort that they need to make (owing to traffic), to cross the road. Only that dog can feel the joy of enjoying the meal, after that effort.

-> I recall that the small pillars on our roof-top or the trees around our house would often welcome mornings with birds’ chirps. It was refreshing. But it is gone now. Open spaces being acquired by housing builders and corporate colonizers, polluted water and pesticides-infected fields… all these have inhibited the growth and harmony for nature and birds, to realise their wings.

But Nature has its own way to pay back. And sometimes parents are also like nature. or Nature is like parents?

As their kids (of parents or of nature), we inherit by default. We learn, we grow and we are inspired. Whether we say NO to so many of their advices, whether we talk or not about what we learn, whether we like or not what they eat and love, whether we are thankful or thankless to them… we inherit. The probable difference is that sometimes it makes noise. Or it happens silently.

ALL CAPS: During my graduation years in 1990s, there was no internet or emails. I used to write letters by hand (a few times I used to get these typed on a Remington), and post these to colleges, universities and different departments when applying for competition exams. I learnt that the address should always in caps. HE told me many times that the shape of letters and the height-width ratio of characters is very important while writing address on an envelope. I was also told to lend curves on letters so that these look like hand-written, and not devoid of emotions like typed font. Last week, I recalled the instructions while writing address on an envelope, it was in all caps.

Yes, it got internalized. I inherited it from HIM.

THE TRIBUE: I read only native language (non-English) newspapers till I was 12, and I started reading The Tribune (see when I moved to Chandigarh, in 1988. I was always fascinated by how much pride HE felt in reading TT. To write something in TT was a dream for me, and I wrote my first post in 1993–it was not published. Many more were rejected. (See My Firsts for detailed account). I never told anyone that I was sending posts to a newspaper, and I never knew that HE too tried it. Finally, I got one published The Tribune in 2000, and then there was no looking back. Only after He QUIT on 23 Feb 2011, that I found a newspaper in his cupboard. His prized possession that he too got his work published once, in The Tribune, in 1985.

I inherited it probably. And I could only gain. The inheritance of gain. Silently.
I felt like that foreman.

JOURNALISM: It was my destiny that I failed to qualify for an engineering degree. Because I was destined to study literature, because HE too studied it. I never planned it, never wanted it, studying literature. But I loved it later. You too Brutus, then Ceasar must fall (“Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.”). I studied Mass Communication while in Job, in 2008, I never told HIM, I never felt it was required. Later I realised that he too studied Journalism in 1985. Was it in genes? How much I could inherit? I gained again. Silently. 

I feel like that dog.

WRITING A BOOK: I remember that HE expressed HIS desire to write a book. He would say – “I want to write *my reflections of life*. I am not surprised that HE wanted to write a book, because many people wish for the same. I am surprised that he did not. And I, after studying in native Punjabi language in school, I got time, space, skill, and the will to write a book in English, and it was published in 2006 (see when I write for detailed account). Now I can guess how much HE did love it, when I brought the first few copies home, of my own authored book, the day when it was published. HE picked up about 20-30 copies from the box, and distributed it to HIS friends and clients. Did HE see it as HIS success? Was HIS dream being realised? For me, it was again the inheritance. Of gain. Silently.

Is it about Nature (That nature made me pay back for our silent relationship)? Or Science (That some chromosomes were so transferred that I had to inherit it?)

In either case, I wonder how well the silence catalysed the process. No words.

And it stayed till his last days. In Feb 2011. When I was with him for few hours on 22 Feb 2011, when he tried to speak but could not. And I tried to understand but could not. We both struggled.

Neither Literature helped. Nor Journalism. Nor a Published Book.

I feel neither like that dog nor like those birds.

This is Nature. Paying back to us what we gave it. Silence. Period.

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

March 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-Slow)

with 8 comments

Born and brought up in a small town in Punjab, I was not used to the culture of having walks after evening meals. But when I would come to Chandigarh (to my parents), we would walk – my father, mother, me and Archit (my younger brother).

I recall when I was a kid of around 4 years, we were having a customary after-meal walk in evening. Me and Archit just nudged ahead on footpath, with dad and ma following us. The objective was to have a stroll after meals, and as the two brothers gained pace, dad said – Ahesta-Ahesta (slow-slow).

These are the first words that I remember from dad. Since I was a Punjabi, I would not understand (it often happened when I was a kid) what does Ahesta mean? He said it again and as Archit would slow down, I matched my steps with him.

Ahesta-Ahesta may be the first words that I remember of my dad. But this is not the oldest that I remember about him.

I used to go to our fuel-station when I was about 2 years (he was a co-owner of a fuel station). I recall that we used to bath together, I would get ready first, have breakfast first and would get restless first, to go with him. We would walk to bus stop, board a bus, and travel for few miles to reach there. He would talk to some manager/attendant there on refill terminal and I would sit and play on his revolving chair.

Going further back… I was at my maternal grandparents home (it was on first floor) when I heard somebody coming upstairs. I remember very clearly that I did not know how to walk properly (that means I might be around 12-18 months old) and as he entered, I crawled on floor towards the bed, and just managed to *climb* on the bed and reached the window to see him enter the door. Yes, I saw him crossing over the window, entering the room, to meet me.

Yes, this is my first memory of him.

If Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-slow) are his first words that I remember, I am not sure about what he said few days back in February 2011. And I failed to understand when it mattered last week… probably it was regarding the tax, our house, his medications, the driver… He had lost his ability to convey what he wanted to say.

On 21 February 2011 (Monday last week), he tried to say something, I could not help. All I could offer was some water on his lips. On 22 February (Tuesday last week), he conveyed me something with his eyes, he tried to speak but could not. He was breathing heavily. It was a torture to so many people – himself, the family, and the relatives who would come to see him in hospital.

I do not know what he wanted to say during 2-3 days last week, before he quit on 23 February 2011. I could not decipher his glance. His helplessness. And he Quit. Quit. Quit.

For 15 years, I could decipher his silent glare/stare at me, I decoded what he silently expected from me, I avoided conflict, and replied back in silence. I wonder if I was paying back in silence? Was it required? Was there any alternative? He often stared and expected quietly, all I could give him was my silence. The silence was deafening but it remained. For last many many years, he would speak for hours on phone or with guests/friends/clients, and talked a lot. But very few words were required between us though we stayed together.

I extended my hands when he asked but I could not when he did not ask for. I answered his questions but could not answer when he could not question. I offered him water when he asked but I could not when he could not ask.

To list whatever I learnt from him, and whatever Special he taught me is not humanly possible. I doubt if WordPress can handle that volume though I do not challenge it either.

I am sad today. Probably I will get over this feeling, with time, Ahesta-Ahesta (Slow-Slow) <Full-stop)>

PS: For the complete series of memoirs, please see: Thank you.

Written by Vinish Garg

February 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Posted in memoirs, We, the people

Tagged with , ,

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