'TO ME THE MEANEST FLOWER THAT BLOWS
GIVES ME THOUGHTS TOO DEEP FOR TEARS'
- Daffodils, W Wordsworth
Why a Postcard in the age of Blogs?
Its romantic. The romance of pen on paper - the feel of pen on paper when writing, and the romance of holding the postcard in your hand when you get it. Its almost like holding each others hands.
As I waited at IGIA my teammate and 18 year old friend in profession Rakesh Negi looked at an old couple helped by bored airline staff - sitting on the wheelchair. Negi says - Ye Hamaara future hai..inevitable growing old.
In the plane my thoughts return to my father, my best fan and critic, he never misses a bulletin. Once a fit Armyman, a senior medic during Kargil war, Brigadier CP Soni, is now bedridden due to Parkinsons. One of the several reasons why my wife Shaila and I decided to leave a job at BBC in London and returned to India. Flying over Vienna, cruising at 500 mph at 11,856 metres outside temparature minus 65 degrees celcius I make a commitment - I will buy lots of postcards and write one to dad everyday. He waits for my calls, my bulletins..I can't always call everyday...the postcard will keep us connected. Good man you say? No, my friend Arouba tells me one of her clients, a GM in a major firm finds time to massage his father and feed him food with his own hands everyday..my guilt increases. I am a newsman in Noida, father bedridden in Bhopal. Good son - that's my brother Alankar and his wife Vanya, my mom Shobhana taking care of dad for years now.
I wonder - how will it be if dad, whose world is his room in Bhopal, whose window to the world is IBN7 because his son works there - how will it be if he can go with the family to Uttarakhand and dip his feet in the mountain stream..water cleaning his feet. I can see that smile on his face..with sunshine dancing on his cheeks. Its an unreal dream, travel for him is very tough.
Anxiety. As I stand in front of the mirror in the Airbus 330 toilet. Will I live up to the expectations of telling the PM's story from Canada. I see a aingle eyelash on my cheek, make wish. No, if you share it - it may not happen, they say. My naani - first Deputy Mayor of Indore city, Mrs Nirmala Rani Potdar, bua ji to many in Indore tslks to me in these moments - Bhagwaan ne sab shaktiyaan tumhein dee hain...bas Mann ko sheeshey ki tarah saaf rakho - apne aap sab theek karogey. Barely does naani leave me and Mr Parigi, Group CEO barges into my mindspace out of those gruelling 7 hour sessions - 'Audience! Don't forget him..he is the tip of the pyramid. If he is happy we are all Happy.' A Sikh gentleman sits next to me. I wonder if his petname is Haapy
Back to my notes. Canada. About 6% of the population is that of Indians - around 12 lakh, 1.2 million if that's what helps you understand better. Half of these 12 lakh Indian Canadians are Sikh, many in influential places - from the Canadian Navy to the Parliament.
I am reminded of the Sardaar from my last Kenya trip. His name- will remember shortly..he saved atleast 40 lives from the Al Shabab terrorists in the Nairobi mall, carrying many wounded on his shoulders even as a bullet shot past close to his ears. He could have run away, he was close to the exit - so why did he not escape to safety? 'Sikh dharm bhaagna nahin sikhaata - he tells me.' That day I decided to read more about this anazing religion.
'Chirian te mein baaz tudaun,
Gidran to mein sher banaun,
Sawa lakh se ek ladaun,
Tabe Gobind Singh Naam Kahaun.'
...and here I am on a flight to Canada..will send a postcard to you everyday and yes tune in to IBN7 - 'Har Pal ki Jaankari ke liye'..hahaha.
Approaching Brussels en route to Canada.
Next postcard from Canada.