Celebrations


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 16; the sixteenth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

She had the same vicariousness as Kaya. Actually the more I observed Juhi the more I felt that I have known her since a life time.

Her very presence made my home come alive. It was not just me but everyone who spent some time with her felt a kind of positive energy transcendent into them.

I often wondered what brought her here. Compassion, a need to do a good deed or just a pure zest for life. She never talked about her life , about family or anything remotely related to herself. All we knew about her was that she loved spending her weekends and holidays with us.

“Oh! Come on Uncle John, there is more to life than the mundane. Life is a passing circus we got to enjoy it while it’s there.” And she would give me her warmest of smiles and a warm hug.

I would nod my bald head in agreement and hug her back muttering my heartfelt blessings for the child.

We all made guesses about her age. Some thought she was past thirty but Kanta amma was sure that Juhi was still in her twenties and treated her like that. Kanta amma was eighty-two herself and the second oldest among the mates of Utsav. The oldest being Lakshamna who was eighty-nine.

A rough man who did not interact with anyone but a bright smile appeared beneath his huge mustaches the moment he heard Juhi singing voice , “ Uncle Lakshmanna, care for a game of corrom” ?

He would become a child for that one hour and Juhi let him won all the games.

He would pat her back and say, “ One day you will win and I will happily die that day. You still have to learn a lot my girl”. Juhi would just smile and hold his soft wrinkled hands in hers.

At Utsav we knew how to celebrate old age and in a way Life. All 20 of us , six women and 14 men lived a much fuller life than those who had abandoned us.

We lived with dignity, freedom and happiness. Although some of us were fighting with various old age ailments , we never let that come in our way of celebrating life.

We went for picnics, played cards, carrom, read books from the ones donated by Juhi and her friends, held musical evenings and shared stories from our life. Mary Francis had again started to write short stories for children and Juhi often read them out to us making us laugh like little boys and girls. She promised to get her work published when the collection was ready. Everyone obeyed her like a good child and she made it a point to look after our needs.

She even instructed Chef Rajam ( we all lovingly called him Chef) about the dietary needs of each one of us. We had a beautiful loving family.

Many a times when someone felt the pang of separation from family( which seldom happened), we gathered in the Blue Room and sat near the picture of Budhdha tried to bring the calmness back.

Blue Room was Rahim Khan‘s initiative and Juhi furnished it with a soft lights, a carpet and a large picture of Lord Budhdha where a lamp burned all the time. There was no other puja room. Who ever wanted to connect with God or self went there.

In my sixty-five years of life I had not seen a bunch of elder people so much in love with life as this one .

Death lurked around the corner for many of the residents they were in no hurry to meet her.

Juhi had filled our lives with fragrance.True to her name. She taught us to combat pain and suffering , emotional as well as physical.

I noticed how in last three years all of us had become a little younger in our mindset even if our bodies showed the signs of aging.

I often said a little prayer for this loving soul who brought back life into the world of sad and lonely senior citizens of Utsav.

One day Juhi brought some young children with her and we all celebrated the festival of light together. “They are children from an orphanage “, she told us. The lady who ran the orphanage also came with them. A tall Parsi woman who then made it a point to drop in now and then and spend time with us.

The children would sometimes come during festivals and then there would be dance, drama, music and lots of fun. These times filled my heart and with moist eyes I would watch Life celebrating in all its glory. Their innocent smiles would linger on the wrinkled faces for a long time. Their days and nights filled with joy of togetherness.

A newly painted board in the living area made by the children reads:

“To be alive, is a miracle and a cause for celebration.”

Last week Juhi left for further studies but the ‘celebration of being alive’ continues at

Utsav.

Hey, did I tell you who was Kaya ? Well, she was my beloved wife. She passed away during the birth of our first child.

In fact both mother and child decided that the world was too much for them and continued their journey across the universe.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Celebrations

  1. 🙂 Celebration is every day of our lives, very nice story. poignant, simple and charismatic…good luck for batom!

    Thank you Saro Sena and welcome to my blog. 🙂
    I believe in celebrating life to the fullest.

    Like

  2. Tikuli my friend,
    :O)
    Everytime I vist your blog, I leave it elated.
    You always bring in something worthwhile to read and cherish 🙂

    Juhi epitomizes everything one ideal person would want to be.
    I really hope there are many such Juhis to help celebrate life

    Good luck with the contest and Shubh Diwali 🙂

    Thank you so much for appreciating my writings . I t is a pleasure to receive praise for the effort I put in. Yes, If even some of us would learn to live life instead of just existing :)life would be great.
    Thanks again and Shubh Deepawali to you too.

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  3. “To be alive, is a miracle and a cause for celebration.” – So beautiful Tiku 🙂 Loved it 🙂

    Luvv ur header too. Happy Diwali 🙂

    Thanks Swaram. I write what I believe in. Header doe festive season 🙂 thanks for linking.

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  4. Celebration of life…yes, the best of all celebrations…:-)
    This is beautiful Tiku…and wondering how you churn out beautiful stories like this, I found in your sidebar that you’re a published writer already…wow…I tip my hats off to you!
    All the best for BAT dear!

    I am touched by all the appreciation by my readers. Thanks so much Amity . I just write what comes to me naturally. Ripples is a collection of short stories by 26 women writers. I have two stories in it. Do read 🙂 .
    All the best to you too.

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  5. That is such a beautiful story and an equally beautiful lesson woven into it.
    I have always loved your blog and all the stories that you create. (I am not a very frequent commentor though)
    All the very best for BAT.

    Thanks Parul. I wish really that young people would go and spend time with those who have nobody to call theirs. It is a great feeling when you visit them and see the smile creep up on their gentle faces.
    Thanks for appreciation.
    The very best to you too.

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  6. Hey Tikuli. The board painted by children was magical. That sentence brought a wow feeling in me. Very very pretty I say.

    In fact, I am taking something away from your post… I will remember – to be alive calls for a celebration itself. Life is beautiful.

    Great post. Very simple but effective.

    I thought the last bit on mother and child could be done away with… or did I miss something? Was there a connection (errrr)… (not reading other comments and demanding individual attention) 🙂

    Am always never disappointed here. Good luck Tikuli.

    Thanks for the appreciation Kshitij. With all the controversies going on in the blogging world it is great to read such warm words. Well if you read the first few lines you will notice the name Kaya is mentioned. The narrator sees the similarities between Juhi and his dead wife whom he loved lots. That’s the connection. 🙂
    Thanks Again buddy and good luck to you too.

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  7. A very touching story with lucid and excellent narration. I really wish that such institutions of the abandoned geriatrics could be brought to life by young boys and girls who can bring the smile back to their faces in their noble service to mankind. Wish we could all play a part in sharing our happiness with the destitute. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful feeling of celebration.

    Thanks Cherry Blossom 🙂

    I hope your wish comes true. Amen!

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  8. Part 2 –

    Oho, I know it’s connected to his wife. But… chalo kuch nahi. Hehe.

    You’re welcome Tikuli. Good read.

    Just thought it may convey a part of his own lonely life and the reason behind this venture 😉

    Like

  9. each time I visit ur blog, I go back with good vibrations, love ur writing :))

    It is my pleasure and a honor if I can make my readers so happy Pushpee. Thank you so much my dear.

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  10. celebrating life amidst all sorrows and pains….i think u have touched the most vital chord of this topic through your post…really liked it 🙂 al da best for contest 😀

    I am glad that so many of you could feel this way and connect with my cause. Hope some of you will visit the elders and celebrate life with them
    All the best to you too 🙂 .

    Like

  11. Very touched with the story and I loved the character of Juhi and wish I could be like her.Thanks for sharing such an inspirational post.All the best for BAT.

    Thank you so much Prathibha . Pleasure is all mine. I always feel that somewhere writers can make a difference with their work. All the best to you .

    Like

  12. Story was fabricated with an excellent narration apart from it what I loved the most was the chosen scenario. Keep it up. 🙂

    Thanks Prateek .I wanted to write about something very different this time. Glad you liked.

    Like

  13. Beautiful story, very well narrated.After reading this, I feel am feeling something that I can’t express…i mean i have been to the old age home and although the residents live independently and happily in a world of their own but still their face lights up when someone visits them..I have felt that happiness in them and I so loved you story-Very touching tale. Absolutely loved this quote “To be alive, is a miracle and a cause for celebration.” -so true but most of us usually forget it.
    All the best for BAT! 🙂

    Like

  14. A truly positive narration–a gripping one. What charmed me most that the message you have given.Happiness is an intrinsic factor and we must have awareness to create it and live with it.

    Like

  15. Very touching, and not just the last few lines where you reveal the truth about Kaya and her child or word those beautiful words…”continued their journey across the universe”….
    The entire post brims with optimism and inspires us to look for reasons to celebrate beyond the obvious ones-reminded me of the adage that old age needs very little but needs that little very much.
    Great piece of writing.

    Like

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