Friday, October 22, 2010

The September of 2010

By the end of September, I wanted September gone so badly. September took away from me--my biggest admirer, my mom. If this was not enough, there was a sudden loss of another dear family member, and it became the month of mourning and consoling. All phone calls started with or ended with sobs and tears. Anyhow, on October 1st, I purposely sat down to write the date on a nice blank white page. I wanted to be very conscious of the act of writing that date, of seeing it there, and of thus being very aware of its having come. I was looking for a new beginning to the new reality of life.

As each moment I go further from that fateful month, I also try to rationalize with what happened and how it must all somehow fit into a larger picture already prepared by the Almighty. It is not at all easy. I want to somehow forgive that month and look for a silver lining still. After all that is the basic requirement of living, as opposed to not. And while I rummage through the snapshots of time spent in that month--of first learning of the the parting, of the following ceremonies, of so painfully sitting down to take care of things that were the person---the spectatcles, the packets of bindi, the medicines, the telephone diary, and the book of bhajans, of not being able to talk two unmuffled sentences with Papa while looking at his watery eyes, of that incessant sniffling with siblings, and of pointing up towards the sky to tell the little children that their grandmother had now become a star ever ytime they asked why one chair at the dining table was empty, I find very little to forgive that month for. Or wait, there was one event that was sweet, and honest, and actually had a very happy ending. It was not one that decides life, but surely one that allows one to feel connected to a larger humanity, and thus to a force of life that must keep the living moving and working and making the best of what we have.

So one evening I was taking a walk with my dad, both of us remembering the beauty and courage that mom had displayed all her life. It was dark already, and we walked briskly, in order to avoid the sprinklers that would soon start in most lawns. A few of the errant sprinklers, sprayed water on the pavement too, and made it difficult to walk on the bordering footpath. Emotionally charged and with a swift gait, we walked through this otherwise quiet evening, in the tree-lined neighborhood of Palo Alto, CA. Thirty-six hours after that walk, I realised that my wallet, a compact leather bound pouch with all my cards--credit cards, ID, debit cards, library cards, discount cards and so on, was missing! It had already been that long, and I panicked. I first called the money card companies to put the cards on hold or cancel them. Luckily, till then nothing suspicious had happened on the cards. Next, I called hubby to courier my alternate ID to me, in order for me to be able to travel in a couple of days from then (I was at that time in CA, not in NJ--the home). Then I called the police, and then I just flopped on the sofa tossing a coin to see if I will find the wallet or not. The loss of the wallet was not something that gave sadness, but it surely gave a lot of inconvenience. From just plain mourning, I was now also jolted into critically thinking of how to navigate this worldly existence without the basic currency of ID and of money! Additionally the thought that some stranger may be merrily going through my personal information was creepy at the least, and scary at max. Another day passed with not much hope in sight.

And then, my husband called from NJ asking me to call up this gentleman--Mr. Sugar (this is a real name) at this number. He had found my wallet! To cut the already long story short, the very interesting part of this lost-and-found episode is the circuitous route that Mr. Sugar took the pains to go on, just to find the rightful owner of the wallet. He first googled my name, but did not find any e-mail or phone info. He then looked through my cards and saw an insurance card with my husband's name as the primary insured. He then googled his name and when he did not find any info there too, he looked him up on Linkedin. He found his e-mail address, and then wrote to him, and then rest is history. When I met him up with a bouquet of flowers of gratitude in my hand, he told me that had I not contacted him within another day, he would have handed the wallet over to Palo Alto police, and would have also written a snail-mail to me at the address given in my driver's license.

Now isn't that a WOW story! Mr. Sugar's genuine honesty and desire to be of help to a total stranger, was not only inspiring but very touching too. His returning my wallet to me gave me a reason that month to re-discover the goodness of being in an interconnected world, to look for bright happy flowers to give to him, and it gave me reason to heartily use the word 'thank-you'. These were no matter-of-fact occasions and thoughts for a child who had just been told that her mom was now forever a star, beyond the reaches of her hands. Mr. Sugar's act of good citizenry will forever be one reason why September 2010 for me will not just be about despair and tears, but also about good old goodness of mankind!