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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, June 16, 2016

At Times 'Ignorance Is Bliss'!


‘Ignorance is bliss’, as they say!
Reminds me of one of the first observations I made on moving to the U.S., ‘the greatest country on the globe’, as proudly claimed by the people of this country:
Average American's ignorance starts from the first grade in elementary school he goes to. So that his mind is not burdened too much, school syllabi is simplified--no counting tables, no spelling drills and of course, no geography or general knowledge. In higher classes, grammar gets the go bye and old classics can be skipped from reading. In adult life, media adds to his ignorance by ignoring the world outside of the US. But all his ignorance does not bother him. General knowledge is generally out of any conversation, even from career oriented interviews. Average American truly feels that 'GK' is fine only for those who aspire to be in 'Jeopardy', the most prized program on TV. And he also knows that lack of it is no hinderance to him in enjoying a satisfying life style, with the minimum means he is able to manage with his limited learning.
Talking of ignorance, the topic also brings back memories of my sister Toshi (Santosh), now in heaven but enjoyed heavenly life when living with us on earth. When she was young and still a school student, she fell from the first floor balcony of our house in Lahore. There was no visible injury to her body but it affected her ability to understand and retain what was taught in the school. Medical science was not very advanced then and doctors could not diagnose what really was wrong to have resulted in that condition of hers. They, however, advised to let her lead life as she feels comfortable with and not to press her to attend school if she didn’t like to. That they opined might improve her condition if not cure completely. So, she was a dropout from school and was free to enjoy life as she liked best, ignorant of whatever serious situation there might be around her. Being next to her in age, I was quite close to her and always tried to do everything possible that would keep her happy - accompanying her to movies she liked most or for shopping of things she desired to buy, especially the dresses. In fact, all the siblings - six brothers and elder sister - did their best to please or even pamper her when we were living together in Lahore with parents. After the partition when we had left Lahore and settled down in New Delhi, one of our  elder sister was already brothers, a forest lessee, arranged on Toshi’s asking a special tracking trip for us from Shimla to Mussoorie through the interiors of Himachal, with all facilities including horses and stay at forest guest houses arranged by Lalji, a senior staff member of his lumber company, who accompanied us throughout the trip. It was during this trip that Lalji was attracted towards Toshi, irrespective of her health issue, and within months after the trip they were married and lived happily thereafter. Wasn’t Toshi a true example of the saying - ‘ignorance is bliss’!
“If ignorance is bliss, there should be more happy people.” -Victor Cousin