Gone... but not forgotten

If you should grieve, if you should pine
When I am gone and just a memory,
I cannot hold your hands, alas, in mine,
And if you weep, your tears I shall not see.
And should you mourn for dreams that could not last,
Beseeching them in vain to reappear,
Should you lament the days forever past,
And if you rage, your cries I shall not hear.
But if, my love, you happen to recall
Some magic moment shared once long ago,
Some sweet surprise, some bliss however small,
And if you smile, be sure I then shall know.
For Death shall not prevail when I depart
As long as I still live within your heart.
John T.Baker

<-- Pass your mouse over this photo to see Deepu

<-- Pass your mouse over this photo to see Sriram

The Lessons They Taught Me

I didn't get a chance to say a proper good-bye. Or any goodbye. To tell them that I love them and they mean a lot to me. Maybe there is a lesson in that. The lesson is not a very deep one. It is that I have to tell everyone right now how much they mean to me. But why we had to pay such a heavy price for this lesson, I will never know.

I now desperately wish it was not true, but the fact is that I took them for granted. They were my cousins. They would be around. In just one moment, that wasn't true anymore. The lesson for me is not taken anything for granted. It is because of Sriram and Deepu that I treasure my moments with Rupal and with others so much more.

The two lived for a combine total of just over fifty years. But they crammed a hundred years of enjoyment in the fifty years ! Nobody had to tell them that in Latin there is a phrase called carpe diem. The idea of "seize the day" came naturally to both of them. There is no such thing as too much enjoyment. The other things can wait, but the important thing is to enjoy. To relish. And to savour. This is the lesson I like the most. Even if I forget everything else, I must remember to remember this one.

Why simply eat when you can be a connoisseur ? Sriram taught me that to enjoy something with totality is deeper than meditation itself. Why be silent when you could be smiling ? Deepu taught me that if my attitude was right, everything would be perfect. I can simply close my eyes and imagine that they are sitting next to me. When I am at the dining table. Especially at the dining table. I put both my hands at the back of head, lean back and imagine that we are all sitting on the same bed, talking simultaneously. Heatedly debating this or that while an old Ilayaraja number is playing in the background. When I am driving back from work and it's dark outside and there are all these Yesudas numbers coming out of my car's cassette player, I can easily imagine that Sriram or Deepu is in the passenger's seat next to me. Why must I let something as silly as reality interfere ?

I have all these glorious memories. Of childhood fun and games. And laughter. But there is only one problem. One significant problem. I will have no more new memories. And that fact burns me up with frustration. Makes me want to clutch with a tighter grip, the memories that I already have. Because after even the photos fade, I will be alone, left with nothing but memories.

The lesson is that I must treasure memories. Over everything else, I must collect memories the way a child collects colorful shells in a beach. Collect them and tuck them away someplace safe. To be brought out and enjoyed whenever I wish. This is the final lesson that Deepu and Sriram taught me.

Prasad (cousin)
November 1999

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