Of going be-kaar

I grew up in a middle class family. My parents did not ever think of buying a car for themselves. Initially it was not affordable and when it became affordable, my father reasoned that it is going to be a white elephant… who is going to maintain it, feed it, clean it and drive it around? After all was the auto rickshaw not so ever easily available, accessible and affordable? This was definitely a sensible argument and no one could counter him.

During the years when my brother was sick and was in need of help for mobility, we did often think of owning a car, but again those years were of excruciating pain, none of us were in a mindset to take any firm decision, and I despite being older was still a school teacher who considered a car, a luxury.

We did struggle, often a great deal. My mother broke down in sheer agony and helplessness many times, considering how most places became inaccessible and most travels impossible for my brother who was now wheel-chair bound.

Thankfully, father had a trustworthy friend, whom we call Krishnettan who was always willing to drive us around in his cab. Krishnettan not just drove my parents and my brother around for his numerous visits to the ayurvedic treatment centres, allopathy was not a choice, since they had already given up all hopes of any kind of recovery, he also lent a helping hand even as many of those we would have expected to be by our side chose to turn away.

Those were times of pain, nothing is more painful than to have to watch some one you love suffer without being able to do anything to reduce that pain. We all experienced that closely and somehow it changed all of us for better or worse.

When I thought of buying a car for myself, my brother had already left for his other home but my parents rejoiced at my ability to do something ‘rather elite’, on my own. So did I too, feeling empowered and blissful as I cruised around the city, cheerful, even in the most peak hours of Bangalore traffic, enjoying the feel of the steering wheel in my hands.

I liked it when I could pick and drop my parents who came visiting from Kerala, or drop my daughter or take her around or sometimes though rarely be privileged to drive around my friends or colleagues. I must say, I did thoroughly enjoy those moments.

In fact, I even fancied turning into a cab driver for the sheer joy of driving and some good conversation.

But then something changed and I started questioning the need to maintain a vehicle for myself, adding to pollution and traffic when enough cabs were available at reasonable cost.

Thoughts were soon followed by action and I decided to go ‘bekaar’ , and sell off the car… And it does feel good.

Sometimes, selling off, getting rid off what is not useful creates more space for what is productive, creative and more happy….

Will I regret this decision, may be, may be not but it is good to change equations and see how life turns out, how you respond and how you are perceived…

So long, as I enjoy being ‘bekaar’,what is that you would like to let go of?

PS: Of letting go!

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With a twinkle in her eyes

She spoke to me with a twinkle in her eyes. Listening to me intently, brushing off every excuse and filling me with positivism.

She took me down the memory lane and around her life with its own struggles and how she finds joys in between and how it is all worth its while. I made excuses complaining of the generational gap, but no, she would hear none of it, till I finally just sat hooked to my seat and to the twinkle in her eyes and the lilt in her voice wondering where does she find all this energy from!

As we talked I could feel myself getting recharged almost visibly and smiling with absolutely no reason, surprised at her spirit, in awe of her enthusiasm for life and in admiration of her ingenuity.

I looked at her in surprise when she said, “I got it from you, mam’, ‘you do that to me every time’.

I was surprised, shocked even, really, how? I wanted to ask her but I kept quiet because it was so good to just have her talk so animatedly, sharing her life story, punctuating it with suggestions for me, a decade and a half older to her but still so unsure and lost…

We had a mixed meal of random items, then she asked, ‘so what do you do on Sundays?’

I said, ‘Like I do a lot of cleaning, scrubbing, rearranging, washing and stuff’. ‘Oh,’ she said mockingly, ‘what an interesting life you have’ and I blushed crimson in embarrassment!

‘There is a world outside your little universe of cleaning and scrubbing, go get ready to explore, travel, watch movies, read books, go’ she said, ‘I will ask you next time!’

I sighed thinking of what would I do without these souls of pure love and nodded my head not even able to thank her for her time and her timeless wisdom.

There is always a way, if you want to find it… hmm I thought to myself.

We find excuses only because we want the excuses even more than the way out! Strange then that we complain so much!

Ps: of friends and friendships!