Spice of Life: A memorable leaf from my book of experiences
The past is gone, the future is uncertain, the present is a blessing bequeathed by the universe to make the most of. So now no more long-term rules, no distant goals, only plans for a day ahead.
Every experience, good or bad, is a priceless collector’s item, says American writer Issac Marion.
As I don the garb of a septuagenarian, many changes are taking place in my mind. I see the coming years as a bonus, a gift urging me to graciously accept the time I have and use it judiciously. The past is gone, the future is uncertain, the present is a blessing bequeathed by the universe to make the most of. So now no more long-term rules, no distant goals, only plans for a day ahead.
My activities are centred on accumulating experiences, mostly happy and pleasant, the others to be taken in the stride without much ado. Recently, some truly memorable interactions occurred which were enriching. My nephew decided to get married in Seattle where he lives, disappointing the family as it was the last wedding of this generation and much awaited. Only a handful of relatives could make it, the others had health and visa issues. A small affair as compared to a big fat Indian wedding, it was nevertheless great fun.
All of us, including the parents of the couple, were the guests as the planning and arrangements were done by the bride and the groom. An outdoor wedding, the venue was selected with much thought to having different functions at different levels of the lawns. The ceremony, the snacks and the drinks, sit-down meal and finally the dance and DJ were sorted.
The day dawned heavily overcast and rain was imminent. All of us were running trying to do things that as children we had heard grown-ups do to somehow get the rain to stop. I’m not superstitious but it worked. An hour before the guests arrived, the rain stopped. The plants looked lush, newly washed and rejoicing, and the heaters strategically placed kept the place warm. To beautiful music the procession started, in trotted Roger, their pet, an important part of the family in a shimmering jacket, followed by the groom resplendent in an ivory sherwani and then the bride in a pastel lehenga, everything standing out against the lovely background.
The ceremonies began and amusingly only those rituals were followed which the couple liked: The ring exchange, the jaimala, and havan, a short and sweet affair. Cake-cutting, the eats and then celebrating the event with dance, bhangra, whatever. It was magical!
After two days, we drove down to Vancouver, a scenic bonanza, the people we stayed with very Punjabi and ever so warm. We met so many simple, affectionate, welcoming people on that trip, I had even forgotten existed. We seemed to have stepped in the old warm and welcoming Punjab.
As American scholar Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
An occasional visit to the dentist and the doctor are a necessity that I choose to forget and not add to my book of experiences. Life is a blessing; I decide to keep it so.
The writer is a Ludhiana-based freelance contributor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.