Paro: Waiting for Devdas

Devdas is a Bengali romantic tragedy written by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee in the year 1900. After the novel was published in 1917 it gained tremendous popularity. In the following 100 years it has been made into 19 movies in 8 different Indian languages including a silent movie in 1928.

This love story of two star-crossed lovers is set in a rich orthodox Bengali society under the British rule. However, the novel transcends the barriers of time and tradition and truly becomes the message of tenderness, longing, torment and craziness of young lovers who are doomed to remain ununited like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Paro is patiently waiting for Devdas with her heart overflowing with love, but her mind is filled with innumerable worries and misgivings. She finally surrenders to the depths of her emotion to guide her through the journey, inwards. We see her waiting eternally for her true love as she transforms into the embodiment of LOVE itself!

Reminder that never hurts but ….actually hurts

In the light of the sudden demise of Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter, Gianna, due to a tragic helicopter accident, it is clear that the next moment is not guaranteed for any of us in life. It does not matter how talented, how influential, how rich or famous that individual is. What matters in the day-to-day life to a living person may be rendered pointless in the bigger picture. We don’t recognize that there is another dimension where matters of life and death are dealt in a way, beyond our comprehension. This event came as a painful reminder that threw many of us into shock and retrospection.

I will shift gears to a picturesque landscape painting. Sometimes we have artists that are detailed oriented and others who approach the bigger picture. There is no single correct answer but it helps to sometimes step back and re-evaluate the overall picture. It helps to focus on the overall message, without getting caught up in the minute details that get lost when you step back 5 feet or more. Yet, there are little areas that do make an impact in relation with the bigger picture. As long as the overall picture is meaningful and pleasing, the artwork is considered a success!

We don’t know when our time comes to put down that brush. We hope we focused on the big picture so the audience can derive some meaning and pleasure from looking at it.

Mother

From the time I was born, I knew love and compassion by looking at her face. Always brave about showing her emotions — a frown, never lasts on her face more than a fleeting moment. She might even have a tear drop lingering on her long lashes from some hurtful words, but she wipes away her sorrow not with a harsh retort but an optimistic laugh. I have seen my mother’s face lacking makeup but never lacking a smile. Still remember her fingers over my forehead, trying to straighten out the scrunched skin. She will not have me frown!

She does not have a lot of advanced degrees to prove it but she has a super intelligent brain. She is very perceptive about people’s behavior. She lives and breathes thinking out of the box, experimentation and innovation and applies them to daily problems. She does that with enthusiasm and a few occasional failures never dampens her spirit.

She is the Florence Nightingale I know. She has cared for my sick grandparents better than professional nurses. She also acquired a significant knowledge about Homeopathic medicines, through caring for my brother, who suffered from asthma at a very young age. Besides, she happens to have a melodious voice of a nightingale!

She was a pillar that supported me through the most trying times when I was growing up. Yet she is not blind in her compassion. When the time came, she let me go explore the world as an adult. She has honest feedback for me that is never sugar-coated. It feels harsh but helps me grow. My parents made me what I am today.

Last week I prepared a favorite Indian snack, for my kids. The two high schoolers munched happily, talking about their day. I resisted the question “Do you like it?” In my mind I had countless images of my mother cooking for us, mixing her love and innovation in her delicious creations. My brother and I had relished them, often forgetting to acknowledge the gastronomic party it created in our mouth.

Most human beings find their mother to be the most beautiful lady in the world. I know it is a reality, in my case. When she was bedridden with a bout of debilitating sickness, I feared I had lost her. Fortunately, she recovered well and is still going strong with her indomitable spirit. I drew a sketch that captured the picture etched in my mind. Here it is – presenting my Mother:

Magnolia

As young-ling, she hides her hue

Purity within revealed over time

Patient fairness blossoming new

Noble virgin bride at her prime

Divine beauty in poised elegance

Pulling towards fragrant freshness

Charming attraction at first glance

Embodiment of pearly tenderness

Enriching heart’s perpetual wealth

Rekindling our dormant anthophilia

Symbolizing happiness and health

“Love you” my irresistible Magnolia.