Random Ramblings Series: Guest Post #2 By My Sister Sudha Somanathan
This is the second guest post by my sister Sudha Somanathan in the Random Ramblings series. I am sure you would have enjoyed the Random Ramblings I presented last week. This week she speaks of festivals and what friendships mean to us as children and as adults and a few other things. She also touches on assisted living and what it means in these modern days when children live in one corner of the world and the parents in some other. I am presenting Random Ramblings numbered #5, #6, #7 and #8. As usual, these write-ups make you think about life and its frailties. Some will put you into a pensive mood while others will make you smile. They are extremely thoughtful write-ups and make very good reading. Read on and enjoy!
Random ramblings #5
We Hindus celebrate many festivals, averaging one a month at least, including a nine days long Navrathri (to celebrate women power, of course!). And we celebrate with even greater fervour when living abroad, for various reasons… our families back home want us to remember our roots, we ourselves feel a greater (rebound) attachment to our culture and we want our children to know our tradition.
But there’s something very very special about joining in the celebrations when the whole country is rejoicing. In fact, when the new calendar is brought out- the first day marked up is of course Xmas! (by a very excited youngest family member).
And with two birthdays AND Christmas, Dec is a very special month indeed.
Merry Xmas, all!
Random Ramblings #6
There comes a time when parents are too frail to live on their own. In India, previously we used to have the ‘joint family’ system- where the younger and older generations lived under one roof. Like everything else, there’s good and not-so-good aspects to this.
But times have changed and so have we. Younger lot now move to various corners of the globe for jobs and life choices. And the elders’ needs have changed too- they value their space and privacy.
Assisted living is still a new concept in India- approached with trepidation by the young and old alike… but an open mind and discussion could help us find the novel solutions so desperately needed, for the golden years too! As ultimately, it is all about caring for our loved ones.
Random Ramblings #7
I learnt something the other day, talking to my GP trainee. Apparently, the type of social media you use predominantly, defines your age! It’s not just skin and hair changes anymore- this is the digital era, after all. So if you use a lot of Instagram and Snapchat- yes, the ‘insta’ and ‘snap’ in the name gives it away- you are a teen. If you have a lot of opinions and want to ‘discover something new and interesting everyday’- you are young and you Tweet. Now, if you are a professional climbing up the career ladder and use a lot of LinkedIn- you are still not old. But if you don’t recognise half the things in the picture and use mainly Facebook and YouTube, you are practically a dinosaur like me!!
Random Ramblings #8
‘Best friend’ – the word conjures up sweet memories of this very important person during our growing up years and if we are lucky, those few who stand by us in our adult life too. My first memories are of Anjali and Harpreet Walia from my primary school in Delhi. All I can remember is nonstop play and pestering my father after a long weekend at 10pm on Sundays, to take me to Anjali’s house to copy some homework which I had forgotten!! (remember, this was before even landline was a part of our lives!! All interactions were in person).
Middle school was spent in the company of my dear friend Usha.V (the initial is important as Usha.N was a friend too but just not in the same league:) Then came Prabha Ramanujam- my soulmate of a friend! It is very difficult to express how much she meant to me and influenced me, in those teen years. Those 4 years of friendship will stay with me forever. Undergrad days suddenly became sweeter when Meena asked me to join for lunch, and 30 years later- I can still pick up the phone anytime and have a rant.
But as adults, friendships are slightly more complex as we are quick to judge, misunderstand and less forgiving. I am indeed lucky. The joyful efforts to nurture and cherish this beautiful bond is well worth it. As in the words of the poet Kahlil Gibran “friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity“.