The Year That Was

2018

“Whither is fled the visionary gleam
Where is it now the glory and the dream?” Wordswoth

Autumn in UK

One more year has passed. I am one more year older and that’s worrying. It is all the more scary when you are the data centre for not just you alone. As you get older three things happen, the first is that your memory fails and the second and third you can’t remember.  But thank God for the blessings that come with aging.

Is there anything that can be said in favour of getting old? Yes. There are many silver linings. Even as mental skills decline with age, the mind gets sharper at a number of other vital abilities. And also people learn to deal with social conflicts more effectively as they grow older. Negative emotions like sadness, anger etc. become less pronounced in old age than in those drama-filled younger years.

At the Ta Prohm Temple Siemreap

Though the year was stormy for the world outside with Trump-Kim Jong un standoff with their thumps on the nuclear buttons, Teresa May’s Brexit, and back home unprecedented floods and the Sabarimala crisis, it was mostly uneventful and leisurely for us. During March we had a much laid back and unhurried trip to Vietnam and Cambodia taking the countries, its sights and sounds at our own pace. Though one has to spend a little extra it is better to make travel plans on your own than joining those hectic group tours. September brought with it some additional responsibilities which I consider as my tithe of time to the faith I uphold.

Jason dressed up for the Halloween rounds

We were fortunate to be with our son’s family in UK during October/November when the English countryside was a riot of colour with Autumn in all its beauty. The thrill of the trip was latching on to Jason, our grandson, during his Halloween rounds in the neighbourhood. There is nothing like meeting up with old acquaintances and a surprise rendezvous always adds spice to an otherwise dull routine. November was generous that way too.

I do only the back seat driving since quite sometime while going on long road trips. But then, I wanted to prove that I can take on the wheels as of old. This month I drove about 700 kilometres(in two days) that gave an excellent opportunity to tone up my driving skills and the mayhem on the roads taught enough patience too.

But still your overall pace slows down, your golf drives do not get that far, your memory fails more often, your body finds it tough to keep pace with the mind and attention becomes disconnected from perception.

“The things which I have seen I now can see no more”

2017 (Facebook post of December 2017)

The year that has just a few more hours to go has been kind to us in more than one way. It closed many chapters and opened new ones. Many things that we were looking forward have come through this year that included Jaisy’s retirement after a long stint in the medical profession, a holiday in the US and a resident Ayurvedic restoration therapy towards the closing days. The very fag end found Jaisy reinventing her one-time passion for sketching and painting taking lessons from a skilled teacher young enough to be her student. Golfing continued to be my main getaway and travel taught us to appreciate the little things you have and the things you never realized you did. Yes, indeed travel opens up your eyes, your world and of course your heart. Feeling relieved that we did not insist on staying longer than necessary at one stage so that we do not lose the thrill of other stages awaiting us. “Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished” (Paulo Coelho). As St.Paul said “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”…

2016 (Facebook post of December 2016)

At the Gethsemane Garden during our Holy Land tour in February

The year 2016 has taken us personally through good times and tough times. As Dickens would put it perhaps it was an year of belief as well as incredulity, a season of light and season of darkness. Though a believer all through, the year had more than its fair share of troubled times triggering bouts of loss of faith. That’s ok as I’m in glorious company of our very own apostle St.Thomas who had doubts on the risen Lord. Again when things fall in places I’m back to my stubborn faith“The lark’s on the wingThe snail’s on the thornGod’s in His heaven And all is right with the world.”Ironically troubles of life make you both a believer and agnostic at the same time. You ask questions like “what on earth I am here for?” (even after reading Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life) and in the same breath will not hesitate to make all kinds of vows, Friday fasting, charity donations, pilgrimages and what not. 
That’s how we put on our religious robes for the faith journey to the land where Jesus lived and died. In spite of both Jaisy and me going far and wide across the globe, the guilt trip of not visiting Holy Land was weighing heavily on us for quite some time. March found us in Mount Sinai, Nazareth, Galilee, Jericho, Bethlehem and Golgotha and lo and behold it was indeed an occasion for reaffirmation of faith. Faith often begins where reason ends….”hidden from the wise and the learned but revealed to infants”.  Kneel down like a child and your are healed.
June saw the second bereavement in the household since we moved over to the present house in1992. As my daughter has scripted about her grandfather “he has left nothing unsaid”, a true military man till his last breath. 
The September trip to Rameshwaram, Dhanushkodi was rewarding in more than one way…the long drive through the parched Ramnathapuram District, the rail-road sea bridge to Rameswaram island and the ghost town of Dhanushkodi reminding one of the ephemerality of human nature.
The year end took us to England and the winter was too unkind perhaps to make you understand Shakespeare better.“Blow, blow, thou winter wind Thou art not so unkind As man’s ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude.”
Golf took the back burner this year as I wasted more time on social media…fighting against fears which are of no concern to me. Jaisy and me are planning many more journeys in the years to come, if health permits. Unfortunately time seems to go faster as you grow older.

Author: Mathew George

Another slipshod writer under the Sun

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