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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.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

My Brother's 100th Birthday!


Today I was thrilled to receive the following message from my niece Dolly, living in London with her Dad, Bodh Rishi:

“Hi Uncle, Dad is 99 on Friday the 12th Feb., would love to hear from you. Love. Dolly.”

Dolly is like the real life Piku, working woman with a very good career in British Airways, who sacrificed her personal comforts of life for the sake of her father to be constantly by his side and take care of all his needs ever since her mother, an officer in the Indian High Commission in London, died many years ago due to cancer. Hats off to her and all such Pikus on the planet.

As far as my brother is concerned, I do not remember much of him from my growing years in Lahore as I was still in school when he had already done his B.Com and taken job in a bank with posting in its Delhi branch. Like most mothers, my mother was always worried that away from home my brother must be missing the delicious meals she would cook to his taste and took the first opportunity to visit him in Delhi when the summer vacations in schools started and she could afford to be away for sometime entrusting her household responsibilities to my two sisters, specially Satya Behn, the elder one, who was doing her M.A., but was very attached to mother and always ready to help her in kitchen and otherwise. So, mother left for Delhi but not without me, her youngest child and the dearest one too. That was the only time I came close to my brother in my early years and he did his best to make our stay with him the most memorable. Seems he was determined to see that he made up for the missed opportunity in Lahore to love and pamper his youngest sibling where he was too busy with his studies and later in looking for good career break. While my mother was most delighted to cook for him his favorite dishes and also invite his friends and colleagues to enjoy her expert cooking, my brother was happy to take us around on weekends to see Delhi's famous tourist spots like the Kutub Minar, Red Fort, Old Fort, Birla Mandir and so many other sightseeing places. I will always cherish the memory of this wonderful visit to my brother, which provided the first opportunity to see Delhi of the pre-freedom era.

That was in early 40s, perhaps 1942 or 3. My next visit to Bodh Brother was in 1947 when he was the Manager in bank's Srinagar (Kashmir) branch and living happily with his loving wife and two very sweet children, Georgy and Dolly. This visit too was the most unforgettable but for the wrong reasons. Partition of the country was already decided when India was to become independent on August 15, 1947 and it had been declared that Lahore would become part of Pakistan, the new country to be formed after the Partition. Communal tension between Hindus and Moslems was increasing in Lahore and stray incidents of stabbing and arson were rising by the day making it less and less safe on the streets of Lahore. Students specially, enjoying their summer vacations moving about in the main markets were more vulnerable victims of attacks by the fanatic communal elements. Under such a situation my father decided to send the family away to Srinagar to live with my brother till condition in Lahore came back to normal after the new government settled down. We were warmly welcomed by Bodh Brother and his wife and looked after well in a separate apartment he had rented for us in the same building he was living in. However, as soon as we were settled down for a long stay in Srinagar till peace returned to Lahore, Kashmir was attacked by Moslem tribals with the help of Pakistan forces who in the absence of any resistance from Maharaja's army had reached the outskirts of Srinagar. They had cut off water supply and power to the city but before they could capture the airport Indian army arrived by planes and repulsed the attack. The army helped evacuate visitors and all who wanted to leave the city in their planes, which included us as well as my brother and his family. Unfortunately for my brother, as soon as he reported the sequence of events to his bosses at the bank's headquarters, he was dismissed from service for closing the branch and leaving the city without permission. As they say when one door closes God opens another one for the faithful. When my father's boss at the Oxford University Press in London came to know that my father had lost everything in Lahore including his job as Chief Representative of OUP, he immediately contacted father and offered to help him whatever way he needed. My father asked for a job for my brother who had recently lost it in Kashmir turmoil, and he got it. Bodh Brother left for London to serve Oxford University Press till his retirement and has been happily settled there since then with his children.

“DEAR BROTHER, 100 YEARS OF MEMORIES AND 100 YEARS OF LIFE... YOU ARE VERY SPECIAL AND SURELY HONOR IS DUE FOR ALL THE GREAT EXPERIENCES THAT LIFE HAS GIVEN YOU. YOU HAVE DONE MORE IN A LIFETIME THAN OTHERS CAN DREAM, AND YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING 100 YEARS OLD THAT MOST HAVE EVER KNOWN OR SEEN. HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY BODH BROTHER.”


1 Comments:

Blogger Aana Bilson said...

This is the really beautiful place





Regards
Aana

9:57 PM  

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