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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.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Life's 84th Year !

Life's 84th Year!

Belated thanks to all my friends on Facebook, EF on Amitabh Bachchan's Official Blog and others, who greeted and wished me on my 84th birthday on Jan 25. I could not respond in time because on the day I was flying back to USA after our extended trip to India for over two years and thereafter the extra long jetlag. God bless them all.

When I was getting their greetings I was reminded of the similar occasion about 10 years ago when I called my dearest brother Prith in Washington D.C. to wish him on his 84th birthday. His spontaneous response really made me speechless for a few moments - “Thank you Tilak but you know what the statistics say, most elderly people passed away at the age of 84 years.” And he started giving examples of some well known global celebrities who died during their 84th year. I cannot recall all the names he then counted from a long list of such people but as far as my memory goes they did include Thomas A. Edison – inventor, Gloria Swanson – actress, Greta Garbo – actress, Red Skelton – actor, George Montgomery – actor, Tony Randall – actor, Pope John Paul II – Pontiff and Andy Williams – musician. As soon as I gathered myself to continue the ongoing conversation after being overwhelmingly shocked by his response, I replied, “Oh brother, by no stretch of imagination you can include yourself amongst the people you just named because none of them could ever match your physic you have always been proud of and you are definitely not going to die in your 84th year or even many many years thereafter. My brother did survive his 84th year hale and hearty and died eight years later at the age of 92 years, when he was still healthy and in very high spirits. Remembering him today, I know for certain that his response was just a reflection of his style of speaking which made the other person simply surprised or sometimes even shocked and not from fear of any untoward happening in his 84th year. He was never scared of death and kept smiling till the last moments of his life. Only a day before his death he sent me email congratulating me on release of my book “Bless You Bollywood!” This email is the most precious parting gift from my great brother, who was always my most favorite amongst the five of them, all elder to me.

“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”
- Steve Jobs


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