Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mindware

I just read something a FB and blogger friend posted. 

A must read ; please read this.

Today is the last day of the year. Some, looking back, thinking, and some, looking ahead, hoping, wishing.

And then it occurs to you that for some, there may not be a next year.

And so you try and think of what you and they have enjoyed together. When time wasn't an issue. And whether , now, so many years later, you can recreate that. And it really never has anything to do with the physical capabilities of the person, or for that matter, yours. 

L was in his late eighties. A whimsical determined person,  who was very fit till a year ago, and  had doctors begging him to get off the treadmill during a stress test, which he thought was a complete lark. At some point age simply caught up , and he was now bedridden . His mind sometimes played games, and he would notice people but not recognize them. Except those he saw daily.  He had tons of what he called walking friends, but not, say, a key close friend. And these were the ones he missed , along with the walking. Something he indulged in daily , in the nearby park. And he would look longingly at the park when they put him in a wheelchair and took him to the balcony, to enjoy the flowers and fresh air.  

So one  Diwali, when more family was around, they hired a stronger wheelchair, capable of handling rough pebbled roads.  He had to be lifted from his bed , onto a chair-with-wheels, and then carried down the stairs two floors, to the waiting new wheelchair. The cycle-repair man outside the gate offered to help in the lifting. And before you knew, he was settled into the chair, a monkey cap on his head, assorted  bags, and catheters hidden behind a warm shawl that was wrapped around him. The sky was getting overcast. And they wheeled him down the road to the park, much to the delight of the old fruit seller outside , and some of the neighbors. The former came over with apples, the latter smiled and waved. Some joined in.

A few minutes later he was in the park. He didn't recognize some friends, but there was a great deal of smiling and handshaking, and nodding .  There was a kind of smile on his face that you show when you smell something wonderful.  Maybe it was the flowers, the trees, the children.  And suddenly there were a few raindrops.  He came out of his dream in panic. Wanted to rush home. And one of the neighbor's kids rushed over with a huge umbrella, and held it over him. He was safe.  So many old neighbors came out to meet him, knowing that he may not recognize them.  One of them was his doctor. But it was time to go home. The raindrops , went away like they came. But the umbrella remained, and the kids. And so they reached home, and carried him upstairs.  He rested, happy , but tired. And for the first time in many days, slept well that night.  
 
And then , a few years later, there was T.,  a career and family woman,  unmarried,  herself in her 80's, paralyzed waist down after a massive stroke,  who had friends ranging in age from 30 to 75. Who would all come to see her and chat. Sometimes, she would get confused, and speak something repetitive. Other times, she would make a comment that would stun someone in her field of expertise, which was medicine.  What she really enjoyed in her fitter days, was going to one of Pune's best "hangouts" and enjoying excellent South Indian breakfast and coffee with her friends. This was something we did without fail when we met her on our trips to Pune. 

And so a day was quietly fixed when her family members would be there, particularly the young grandkids, and a whole bunch of us went over to the hangout place which made and packed everything piping hot and fresh for us. She was known to them, and I like to think the food had an additional special ingredient that day.  Her family was kept in the loop, and they organized the table ware. We landed up in her room, and she  greatly enjoyed her repast, amidst the younger kids tucking in , like idlis were going out of fashion, and the others doing a more sedate job, between unobtrusively trying to help her with a shaking spoon, and blaming it all on the size of the wada.  She lay back on her raised bed, tired, but happy at the scenario.  A niece-in-law came in with coffee for everyone.  T just had water.  She was really full. In body as well as mind.  The kids showed their photos and artwork, she beamed. There was a lot of ribbing happening. It isn't clear if she understood the references, but she listened, and looked at peace.

Life went on. And one day,  both L and T were no more. Their respective families  mourned and continue to mourn.


But what is remembered is not their sickness, inabilities, and  troubles, but the smile that played on their faces, their sense of belonging and fulfillment  of mind and small wishes, and the joy,  that they continued to be a part of all of us.       

I recently posted about a family friend in her 90's, who lies in a virtual coma, tubes through her nose , a prayer bead necklace clutched in her hand. Her son -in-law, regularly recites , at her bedside, some Sanskrit prayers that are her favourites. Nobody knows if she can hear. (She never responds when called). But the minute he starts the prayers, her fingers move across the prayer beads!  

And so it seems, that along with the anatomy Hardware and  the memory-managing Software that defines us, there is also something called Mindware.

Maybe all living beings have that.

This is the amazing  thing that fires up and functions, extra well, in one's  last days,  regardless of the analysed-to-bits anatomical and physical systems. 

Something that lights up the eyes, of someone , who may not see another year.

And creates wonderful comforting memories, for those who will

Mindware.  It was always there.  


Like the coming New year.  2012.

Greetings !

25 comments:

  1. This was a very beautiful and thought provoking post!

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  2. lovely beautiful post ..

    Happy new year to you and family and everyone around you ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Thank you and a very Happy New Year to you too !

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  3. this Mindware is there in all. Living or Non-Living.

    you can talk to stone, its your ability to see it is listening... may be responding in its own way.

    We have made living easy and life so tough.. :)

    Greeting! Njoy the Year.

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    1. ..."living easy and life so tough ..." Made me think!


      Greetings for the new Year !

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  4. What a moving post.

    We must seize the moments we have instead of longing for what we don't have.

    Wishing you and yours a year full of golden moments.

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  5. Heres wishing you the very best for this hear Suranga !

    May this year be the best year yet !

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    Replies
    1. Thank you ! and wish you many exciting times this year, specially in mid Jan ! :-) Happy new Year to you and yours ....

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  6. What a lovely post to begin the new year with...Happy new year to you!

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  7. What a very inspiring read!! Maybe we all have to get our 'mindware' tuned up and in use sooner rather than later. Here's wishing you all the best for the coming year.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you ! And wishing a very Happy new Year to you too....!

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  8. Thank you for this post.
    Thank you for your special
    online friendship
    Wishing you and yours blessings
    for the coming year.
    You have put many a smile on
    my face.

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  9. I was at work, when I read your must-read bit about the pet. Could not stop my tears.
    I have one at home...he turns 15 this month and is fortunately in decent health. However I know my time with him is limited.
    The post was heart-wrenching ...and healing...at the same time.

    About your post. Thank you.
    It reminded me of my grandfather whom I lost 3 years back. And my most precious memories with him are the days I got to spend with him...reliving my childhood...the long walks, the beach visits, the outings, all of it...
    I'm glad I was able to take time out for it.


    You might want to read this... whenever you get some free time. Just dropping a link...

    http://thatslifemyfriend.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/a-tribute/

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    1. Just saw your link. have left a comment ! Happy New Year to you !

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  10. thank you for the link and for a wonderful post!!

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  11. Happy new year! Me pahilyanda tumcha blog gelya varshi vachla. Stuck in traffic outside IIT and had the urge to wish you. Look forward to.your posts.this year :-)

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    1. That you could think of me in that traffic jam is such an honor :-))
      But welcome to the blog again and a Happy New Year to you !

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