Meeting an old friends’ parents
Last time I was in India, I had a chance meeting with an old classmate from nearly thirty years back. I said chance meeting because a completely fortuitous phone call revealed that we were literally a mile or so apart at that point of time. We rearranged our schedules to have lunch together that day. You might remember Sibapriya from an old blog article. Among various other topics that day, we discussed my parents’ health condition and realized that his dad and mom were not keeping well either. And he was going thru the same phase in life that I went thru a couple of years back where I had to push my parents very hard to move out of the house they lived in and get closer to a place where they could get a lot of support. In my case, we moved them close to my sister and in his case, he was trying to move his parents to his house. And he was meeting with as much agreement and cooperation as did I with my parents 🙂
In any case, I had contemplated at that point to visit his parents next time I got a chance. I got half a chance this time and capitalized on it. As I mentioned before, I had gone to my brother-in-law’s house in Kharagpur, after a rather long car ride, to check on my father-in-law’s progress for one last time. After I said good bye, called up Sibapriya in Midnapore – which was about another forty five minutes’ ride away – and arranged to come and see his ailing parents and himself.
Meeting his parents’ in his house was a very powerful moment. For one, sitting with his mom and talking to her reminded me of those early days of childhood where I used to visit my friends’ houses and their parents would welcome us, sit with us and chat with us for long times. Admittedly, a lot of that was about studies – which probably my friends and I wanted to avoid at all cost 🙂 His dad, unfortunately, was not in a physical or mental position to hold down a conversation with me.
These days, I have started making a point to visit elderly parents of my friends, relatives etc – just to make sure I get to see them at least one more time before I am robbed of that possibility. I am not sure whether it is a generational gap or it is just me. I will assume it is just me, at this point of time. But there is a natural, spontaneous hospitality I find in pretty much all my friends’ parents that I don’t find in myself. I cannot remember when is it that I saw Sibapriya’s mom last, I certainly had not seen Amitesh’s mother ever before (see a previous blog article from a few days back) and I saw my uncle after 27 years (see another blog article from a few days back). There is a level of heart felt caring and openness in these conversations that always makes me feel like I have known them all my life and am meeting them after a month or so. I know I am not capable of that .
Finally, I took a lot of pictures of uncle and aunt. I was so excited to take their pictures and keep them for posterity, that I completely forgot to take Sibapriya’s pictures!!!! I still can’t believe that I walked away without taking any of his pictures!!!