My Oldest Memory: The oldest memory that I can remember is when i was about 4 - 6 years old. We lived in an Air Force camp, which had a movie hall that used to get various kinds of movies, including 'Tarzan' and 'Zimbo' movies. I was very fond of these movies, and remember going to watch them initially with my father, followed by him picking me up from the hall after the movie and finally all by myself. The movie hall at that age appeared very far from our house. (However later when I was posted at Pune as an adult, I realised that the movie hall was just about 1.5 - 2 kms from our house). The shows would start during daylight hours but end up when it would just be dark. I remember enjoying the movie, coming out of the hall, waiting for someone going towards our house and then slowly follow him home. In case the person turned away in some other direction, I would wait under a street light for another person and then follow him in the direction of our house. Once i found no one going in the direction of our house. I waited under a street light for some time and then remembered my parents exhortation to be brave and not fear - 'any time you are afraid just recite the Gayatri Mantra and nothing will happen to you'. I remember reciting the Gayatri Mantra on that occasion and reaching home without any problem.
I was dumb founded by this incident, and similar incidents before and after this one. Where do I fit in? in the scheme of things? if everything is pre-destined as per my planetary positioning. What do I control??
My first thought this morning: Yet another day! Actually I am down with some sort of a flu and have been having fever, running nose, sore throat, and bodyache for the past couple of days. Did not feel like getting out of bed this morning, as the back was also hurting today. They say this flu gets okay in 3 -4 days and i am on my third day - in any case, i donot give too much importance to all these illnesses - they come on their own and leave of their own accord. Poonam is not there to force me to have medicine. 'Bund naak, badan dard, Kuch lete kyun nahin'? I can do my own - gargles and rest. I hate medicines.
If you built a time capsule, what would it contain: It would contain magnificient nature - the hills of Kulu Manali where I trekked with the Youth hostel in 1994 and 1995 - those mountains dwarfed me and made me feel like a small insignificant speck of dust - these hills helped me meet simple folks who were willing to share what little they had, kids with running noses running behind us for one sweet, crying 'tata tata bye bye'; it would contain the mighty oceans over which i have flown at very low level and seen the massive tankers being tossed around like match sticks; it would contain war, philosophy and spiritual books - i was always a man of war and enjoyed serving with the Indian Air Force - however, i now realise the value of peace which only a military man can; i love war books though, because they bring out how spirit can overcome the body and also the selfless pursuit of an aim; philosophy to help answer the numerous questions that keep arising, and spiritual books to keep me grounded to reality; to help me overcome my massive "I"; and finally would love to have my dear wife who is the only one who could tame me, and the only one who helps me with the supply of my favourite music - some of it gets garbled though when she gets into one of her 'not so beautiful' moods.
This year: This year has been a mixed bag - some good and some not so good, but is finally dedicated to the little angel who adorns my desktop (photograph is reproduced below), my grand daughter 'Meher' who was born on 29 Sep 08. She gave us some very tense moments initially, but has given us much more happiness in return during the past 3 months approx, and would continue to do so in the years to come.
I started the year recouping from my bypass surgery performed on 28 Nov 07. Got on my feet and fit i felt, only to be declared permanently unfit for flying and thus came to end an eventful chapter in my life - a chapter that gave me immense pleasure, helped me defy gravity and explore the third dimension where i had occasions to see the sun rising before lesser mortals could, where i could race with the setting sun by flying westwards - the sun always won though.
Sunrise at 37000 ft.... clicked as a passenger on 09 Dec 2008
I say good bye to flying, Chennai, and Blue Dart Aviation on 31 Dec 08. Our son settled into a job of his liking this year after completing his BA Hons from York University - he is enjoying himself with the Toronto Police. Our son-in-law and daughter bought their first house. My parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Many other events happened - it's been an eventful year.