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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Back On Line!

Back On Line!

After our prolonged trip to India for a period of over two years we are back in California to live the life everyone is expected to live today – On Line! Before leaving for India we had decided to do away with internet during this trip and live the natural life we lived all our life. And what a thrilling experience it was to be with old friends and family members back home who had never felt the need of social networking to nurture their old and everlasting relationships. We let all human emotions flow freely not letting the present day 'on line' life rushing us through our reunions with old relationships. We soon realized that it was no waste of time to seek personal touch simply on the possibility that as many more contacts can be created and maintained keeping oneself on line.

When we took the flight to India it was for our usual trip to spend some time on the sacred soil we had spent most of our life with so many beautiful memories all around. We had never thought it would turn into a prolonged trip for over two years which we could not curtail as things kept happening on which we had no control. As soon as we arrived in India we got the news that our best friend, MD Sb as we call him, living in Jaipur was critically ill. He was the one who actually made me move to Alwar from New Delhi in the eighties to manage the most modern foundry he was setting up as a joint sector project with Rajasthan government in Alwar. It took him many months for doctors to declare him out of danger and it took us all this time to be concerned for him and concentrate on all that we could do to see him out of his serious health condition, mainly praying for him at many temples in which we had faith. Thank God, ours as well as his family members' prayers were heard and the miracle happened. We were happy to leave our dear friend driving on the fast lane to recovery and recouping. I may mention here that ours is a unique relationship which started purely on professional basis, he as my boss being MD of the company and I reporting to him as GM. The company did wonderfully well in the initial years and the factory was fully occupied executing orders for tractor engine parts with 300 workers and over a dozen engineers working three shifts a day. But the good times did not last long and it all came to a stand still with 100 percent power cuts for the factory due to failure of the atomic power plant at Kota which was the only source of energy to the industrial area of Alwar where the factory was set up. The nuclear power plant never revived nor did our factory come to life again. The company closed down and all parted company, engineers as well as workers, except two of us, me and my MD. During the few years we worked together we had developed such a relationship that both our families had become the best of friends and come closer and closer for over 40 years since the closure of the factory and there is no doubt whatsoever that we will remain close for ever.

We were now ready to receive our most favorite and ever smiling niece, from my wife's side, to spend some exciting time with us at Alwar which she was always the first to do during our every trip. Her visit this time was first delayed because we were busy dealing with our dear friend's serious health condition and thereafter due to her daughter's marriage which we had to miss for the same reason. Now when all the wedding ceremonies were over and we too were free, we were expecting her call any moment to inform us when she was arriving to give us the lightest moments of our life with the inbuilt laughing machine her beautiful body was made of. The expected call came without making us wait much but from her husband - “Bittoo cannot come, she passed away last evening while going through surgery....”. The rest of the call could not be heard properly partly because it was drowned in her husband's cries at the other end and mostly because Jeet, my wife, was too shocked to hear any more of the message. It turned out that our dearest niece had been suffering from some severe kidney problem for some time but had asked his family to keep it a secret from us till the surgery was over to avoid spoiling our trip. She had rushed through her daughter's wedding ahead of the scheduled date to oversee the ceremonies before going for surgery. Such was our Bittoo who would never want to upset anyone whatever the cost to her, even if it was her life as it happened at last. We are sure she must have changed the mood in heaven with her infectious smile and ever happy spirits.

The above are just two examples from the many incidents that took place during our trip which prolonged our stay in India beyond the plans. Elaborating on all other incidents may become too boring so I would like to conclude here my feedback on the trip but not before making mention of the finest lady we were lucky to befriend towards the last few weeks of our trip. We met her for the first time in November last year around Guru Nanak's birthday. Mr. Gill, who had recently retired as senior bank manager and was now managing the neighborhood Gurdwara, introduced her as his wife. Mr. Gill knew us since Baisakhi celebrations at the Gurdwara last year when we made big donation for the Langar on the occasion. Jeet was instantly attracted by her simplicity and sincerity and they both bonded like they had been life long friends. She soon brought her beautiful daughter Priyanka to meet us. She was studying in Noida and and had come home to spend winter vacations. Mrs. Gill's selfless love and affection was so obviously visible when we both became bed ridden being victims of some virus that had spread in the city. Mrs. Gill not only visited us everyday to render whatever help we needed but also would feed us daily with her delicious home made meals which she cooked keeping in mind our health condition. This continued for more than a fortnight till we were fit enough to take flight to USA. The mother daughter combo even came with us to New Delhi to see us off at the airport. We will always remember Mrs. Gill as a God sent angel who suddenly appeared in our life to see that we left India fit and fine to be with our children in America. God bless her.

All said about the wonderful experience in India living life without the internet, the best thing is we are back with Alok and Ranjan, our most loving and caring son and daughter-in-law and, of course, that I am back 'On Line'!Back On Line!


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