I believe that the moments in each day make our life what it is. Of course, the unexpected always happens and whatever preparations we make, Life surprises us. Many a time, we think that nothing happens in our life, but things do happen. I started writing to my Doddamma, my father’s elder brother’s wife in October 2017. She is 88 and is not able to hear properly. I post my letter to her every Tuesday. Both of us enjoy the letters. These letters have made it possible for me to appreciate the ordinary moments of life. I edit the letters and post them as Slice of Life every Tuesday.
In the last Stream of Consciousness prompt I had mentioned my father’s maternal uncle (CSN). He lived in a small hill station in the Western Ghats. His family live in that old and beautiful house which is about 150 years old. This house was purchased from a Rajput family in 1931. My father’s mother had three sisters and one brother. My grandmother, one sister and brother were affected by Retinitis Pigmentosa and became blind by the time they were twenty five.
CSN was one of the leading lawyers in that town. He was respected and loved by all who came in contact with him. Our son Aravinda has Retinitis Pigmentosa. He completed his PhD in English Literature in 2016. He studied the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Stephen Kuusisto and John Hull for his PhD thesis. All the three were blind. I had always told him about CSN. Aravinda wanted to know more about him. We went to Madikeri two years ago. CSN’s elder son-in-law, R, (the elder daughter passed away a few years ago) and younger daughter, G, (who is of my age and a close friend) told us all about CSN. For two years our son was busy. A few months ago he talked to his teacher who had taught him a course about Disability Studies. She suggested that he should interview people who had known CSN. We were not sure if there would be anyone as my father’s maternal uncle passed away in 1980 at the age of 71. But uncle R told us there were three people who would give us some information. Two of them were Kodavas (people belonging to Kodagu or Coorg) He talked to them and took appointments.
We reached Madikeri on the 8th morning and were welcomed with love and affection. This home is one of my favourite places.
That evening we visited Mr Vasudeva who is 82. He was very happy to tell us all that he remembered about CSN. And he remembered a lot. On the 9th the rains started in Madikeri. On our way on the 8th the sky had been so blue and we did not see a single dark cloud. The next day the weather changed completely.
That morning we went to Mr Ponnappa’s home. He is 93 and was a lawyer. He and his sister live in their home. Just before leaving I asked him whether I could meet his sister. She is 82 and so beautiful and graceful. When she was a child the doctor who operated her tonsils damaged her vocal box. She cannot speak. My last glimpse of them was waving us goodbye. I think that scene will remain in my mind for a long time.
That evening we visited Mr M A Ponnappa who lives in his coffee estate called Lalithadri Estate about half an hour away from Madikeri. He is ninety seven and so alive. It was a pleasure meeting him. He lives in a very old and beautiful house. His son and family live in a house adjacent to his house. CSN had been his lawyer. When uncle R told him that we wanted to talk about CSN, he said with emotion that he was like God for him and there was no person like him. CSN had helped him a lot during his younger days and twice he became very emotional while telling us about those days. Mr Ponnappa follows cricket and tennis and loves to play bridge. He enjoys the company of his friends in his club. I wanted to his house and he showed us all the rooms with great pleasure. His prayer room was a serene and soothing place with the pictures of many Gods and also of Jesus Christ. A lamp was burning. Two ladies live there to help him. His grand daughter made coffee for us. We were there for an hour and it was memorable experience.
On the 11th morning we started after breakfast.On the 11th morning we started after breakfast. Uncle R loves gardening and has a vegetable garden. He gave us a lot of vegetables. 😊
We went to my parents’ house where they had lived for nearly thirty years. There are two acres of land with cashew nut trees, coconut trees and many other trees too. The place is being well looked after by tenants who live in a small house near my parents’ home.
We reached home at 2.30. It was the day we were to get corporation water. We had a wonderful time going back to the past.
“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” ~Søren Kierkegaard
“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time. Perhaps we become aware of our age only at exceptional moments and most of the time we are ageless.”
― Milan Kundera
Kodava people – Wikipedia
Kodagu district – Wikipedia
Western Ghats – Wikipedia