Friday, October 23, 2009

A Dedication To My Love - Part 1

Dedication :

“ The greatest purpose of human life is to be acknowledged for what you are – Nothing more, Nothing less ”, said one of the most inspiring characters of my life.

And looking back, 24 years into my life now, I am writing this blog, not for any acknowledgement from anyone but as a dedication to my love. I am writing this to leave to my love's, God's and time’s judgement on what sort of a person I am. I am writing this to offer an explanation to my self on why everything I did was worth it at all. I am writing this wondering how will the times and people of the future look at the actions of my past.
This blog is actually a confession. A blog that describes me, a little part of my life and the characters involved in it. A blog that hopefully will, in the times to come, will keep inspiring me and people like me to pursue what we want and love the most no matter what.

27th December, 2007,
Night 1 a.m.,
Waiting lounge,
Begumpet Airport.

I was feeling devastated. It was as if my heart was torn apart and left on an icy grave. I could only feel tears and not blood running through my body. If ever there was a moment in life wherein I was looking for atleast one reason to live, this was it.

My ipod had been playing the same song since an hour. And everytime the song finished, I wanted to hear it again.

“ Aankhon mein sapnay liye,
Ghar sey hum chal tho diye,
Jaaney yeh raahen ab le jaayenge kahan.

Mitti ki khushbu aayi,
Palkon pe aasun laayi,
Palkon pe reh jaayega yaadhon ka jahan.

Manzil nayee hain – Anjana hain karavan,
Chalna akele hain yahaan,
Tanha Dil, Tanha Safar,
Doondey tujhey – Phir kyun Nazar ?
Tanha Dil, Tanha Safar
Doondey tujhey – Phir kyun Nazar ?
Tanha dil !

- Shaan, Tanha dil

The more I heard the song, the more it was tearing me apart. As I kept hearing it, i was reminding myself of every moment of my life. It was reminding me of all my friends, my family, my college life, my dreams and my love. All my challenges, criticisms, opposition, hatred, pain, tears and indifference.

“ Sai, you can stop it even now.. No one can question you. Your friend is really right. You are someone who can’t swim in a pond and yet you are ready to jump into an ocean full of sharks. Your Perima is really right. You cannot walk through a platform without the support of someone and yet you want to do every task on your own in a place where it snows for 8 months of an year. Your friend’s mom is really really right Sai. You can never ever live without the help of someone. And so even now there is time. Just call up dad and let it go. You cannot stay all alone in a totally foreign country. You cannot risk all your dad’s earnings on your talent. You cannot risk your life. The doctor said it can begin any moment. So,stop it all sai.. stop it.. Please ! The world is not going to change because of you and what you do”, said my mind.

My heart did not answer.

“Are you even listening Sai ? Please call up dad.. You are burning hot because of fever. You must be running close to 104 F. Do not be arrogant. It is a matter of life and death”, asked my mind.

My heart was dead. It hasn’t spoken since 4 days now. And it was yet to recover from what my doctor uncle told me 7 hours back.

December 26th, 2007
6 P.M., Premier Hospital,
Langar House, Hyderabad.

“ Sai, I am sorry. I cannot hide this from your dad. He has to know and take the decision”, said Dr. Vijay uncle.

Dr.Vijay uncle knows me and has been serving me for almost 7 years now. Mom says I am indebted to him all my life. And she is true. His skills and his skills alone have ensured that I physically survived many times.

“But uncle please.. Its for my love.. Its for my dream ! The flight is at 2 45 tonight. And it is the only chance I have to get my love and add meaning to my life. Please understand uncle. Do not tell this to dad. I request you.”, I pleaded.

“Sai, I told you many a times.. Going to America and studying there is not the only thing you can do to prove that you and people who are disabled are worth love. You can do that as well with Infosys. Infact, you have done more than enough now itself. When I saw you first 5 years back, you weren’t even fit medically to get into an engineering college. I supported you then. And I have served you for 5 years now. I have been inspired by you for 5 years now. I know you more than anyone else. But I cannot do this favour. You have no clue of life in America. And I will not let you go there.. Not atleast today. You are running a temperature of 103. You are not medically fit to even fly. ”, said uncle.

“Hmm.. Ok Uncle.. you can only certify me as physically unfit. But, I believe I am more fit mentally than anyone else on this planet right now. May be I have not seen America. But I have seen myself and people around me. I have studied and worked my heart out during four years of my engineering. In a class of the most brilliant, I ended up as one of the top 5 students. May be I am egoistic, may be I arrogant, may be I want people to acknowledge my abilities, may be I just don’t care but beyond all this may be’s – I know something. It is the fact that I am in love. And I want my love no matter what and no matter at what price it is.”, I finished

“Hmm.. Ok dear.. You go your way. I will go mine. I will speak to your dad. You decide it with him”, said uncle.

“Fine then. But do bandage my leg tight enough. Its going to be a 26 hour journey to Madison”, I said.

Uncle smiled and said “Sai, you are impossible” as he bandaged my leg.
I smiled and said “Thank you uncle. I learnt to believe in the impossible from you”.


December 26th, 2007
7 P.M., On my scooty
Langar House to ECIL

“Sai – The doctor told me everything”, said my dad waiting for me to reply.
“Dad !! Please..I think this is the final time I will be driving my jaanu scooty for a few years now. So, let me concentrate.”, I said.

“Hmm.. But sai, do you know the implications of what he said ?”, asked dad.

“Hmm.. Dad, Do you remember my first day to CBIT ? I was driving this scooty for the first time in my life.. The first time, I was ever driving something.. The first time, I ever was traveling on my own.. The first time, I was trying something alone.. You and mom were so very scared that day.. Infact remember dad ? Mom prayed at Chilkur temple that day so that I drive safe and get confidence”, I said trying to change the topic and feeling a little cute of my mom’s infinite, innocent and selfless love for me.

“Ya, and I also remember Sai, on how one day you and suresh came home after hitting a road divider and getting hurt badly. You were bleeding all over that day”, said dad.

“Ya dad.. I fell but I did rise again and drove it.. Didn’t I ? So, I won in the end”, I said.

“But life is not the same as driving a scooty Sai. And I believe you still have enough time to take back your decision”, said dad.

I didn’t reply to his words. I stopped at a gas station to fill in my scooty with petrol.
“One last time I am filling petrol to this love of mine”, I told my dad with a forced smile on my face.

Dad looked at me with a strange sense of pain and support in his eyes. I still remember the question his eyes were asking me.

“Do you think all this pain is necessary ? Do you think you will pull this off ? Do you think you will win your love Sai ?”, his eyes were asking me.

I had no replies to any of his questions.
My heart wanted to hug him then and there and cry for a few min. But then boys don’t cry !


December 26th, 2007
10 P.M., Home

“Amma.. Please pack all the gifts I got in a separate bag. Especially the statue of the cycler given by Suresh.. Be careful with the chandliers given by Sreenhija & Kavya.. All the greeting cards separately.. I’d be wearing the sweater given by Sathya and the watch given by Veera, Avi, Raki & Kiru gang. So keep them on my table.”, I said to my mom

My mom was motionless. Her eyes were swollen and red. She had been crying for almost three days now.

“Amma.. Please ! Its time.. I have a flight to catch in 4 hours from now ! Our friends’ gang is waiting at the airport. We need to call periamma and all our relations before I leave. ”, I said.

Mom didn’t speak. She hadn’t spoken to me since 3 days now.


December 26th, 2007
10:30 P.M., Home

“Not to worry mama.. You will rock ! I am sure you will.. Send me an email as soon as you reach U.S… No, call me ! If not for my dirty manager, I’d have dropped you till America itself.. But unfortunately, I am stuck in this train back to Mumbai”, said Veera – one of my best friends.

“Thanks mama.. They are the most encouraging words I have heard all this week. Will definitely call you as soon as I land”,

“Ya and call me up every week.. Email everyday.. Our gang is already at the airport. Everything is taken care of. Rock on mama.. You will get what you want ! And wear the watch we gave you”, said Veera as the phone got cut with the train going into no signal zone.

“Ya sure.. Thank you mama.. Thank you !”, I said as the phone got cut.
I was smiling for the first time in a week although it was only for a few seconds.

“Here’s the paracetamol and the antibiotic. Hope the fever comes down before you take the flight”, said dad.
“Thank you dad”, I said as I took the tablet.
I could hear mom sobbing in the other room as I swallowed my tablet.


December 26th, 2007
11 P.M., Outside my apartment

“All the best Sai.. You will rock.. We are proud of you”, said all my friends and neighbours in the colony.

“Thank you”, I said.
My friend pradeep joined my family as we began to drive to the airport. My mom hasn’t yet spoken to me.


December 26th, 2007
11:45 P.M., Outside Begumpet Airport

I got down the car. And as soon as i got down, i was hugged by Avinash, Rakesh, Suresh, Santhosh and Kiran tightly. They had been waiting there since an hour.

We all had a party only the previous night. I cut a cake at the paradise hotel and we had a bang till 12 in the night. I was wearing the watch they gave me.

“Mama, here’s your trademark coca cola.. Have a sip”, said Santhosh.
Mom took the coke from my hand and kept it aside. She was still to speak.

Suresh realized the situation. And said “Aunty, don’t worry.. Our sai will rock. He has decided and he will back it up. When he returns the entire state would be clapping for him.”

“Ya aunty.. He will rock”, said Avinash.
“Why even doubt amma”, added Rakesh.

And my mom began to sob again. Dad took her to the side and was consoling her. I wasn’t sure what to feel. My heart had gone totally numb by now.

I kept speaking to my friends. Took some photographs. And a small video.

And as it all happened, the greatest love of my life, my sister preethi sat down by my side.

“Sai, I want to give you something”, said the angel of my life who was the only reason I was even trying to put a brave face and inspire myself into a smile through those moments.
“Ya.. What is it ?”, I asked excitedly.
“Well I saved 45 rupees of money since last week. And I bought this greeting card and pen for you. I want you to write all your university exams with this”, said my preethi.

To say that I was touched is too small a line to describe that feeling I felt then ! I always believed people live for and dream about certain moments in their lives. And this certainly was one of those moments of my life ! It was like a sweet dream come true.

“Thank you”, I said with a wide grin on my face.
I put the pen in my pocket carefully and kept the card in my carry bag.

She hugged me and said “you will succeed in your love Sai.. I know you will”
“Ya, I will.. For you and our family.. I will succeed in getting my love”, I said.


December 27th, 2007
12 15 a.m.,
Begumpet airport

“Time to check in”, said the airport authorities.

My mom began to cry unconsolably as soon as she heard it. The pain of that moment still haunts me. My friends tried to console my mom. Over the years, to say that everyone of my friends were a friend to my mom and dad than to me wouldn’t be an understatement here.

“Sai, do you think you will pull this off”, asked my mom.

“Amma.. I am your son. Like periamma says “Vasanthi’s son”. And I have been born, brought up and fed in love. You have taught me to fight out for what you love the most. To silently suffer for what you love the most. To silently work towards making your love the best. To believe in the spirit of the impossible. So, there is no doubt I will pull this off. When I return, the entire India will know my achievement and what I did for my love. I will succeed in this”, I said.

Am not sure if mom heard all of that. But she, like me, had lost all ability to feel anything.

“Sai Prasad Vishwanathan, you are requested to check in”, said the airport authority again

“Just a min”, I said as I went to dad.

“Sai, I am not going to say anything. I trust you. I trust your abilities. I couldn’t earn a lot in my life. And I am sorry about it. But whatever I earned, I gave it to you. 15,000 $ is what I have given you. That includes the house’s loan amount. Your first sem’s fees is 12, 500 $. So, if you do not get the funding in first sem, you will be only left with 2500 $ for 6 months with rental for a month being 700 $. I am not sure on how will you manage. My only belief is that you will pull off the funding or some odd job within the first month of your going there.”

“I will dad. I am the best C programmer my college has seen. You know that I found my love in C++. And I am sure, I will pull my funding off within 15 days of my landing in the u.s. One opportunity is all I need. And I will put my heart, blood and soul into it. And trust me dad, not only will I get funded to study, I will also ensure that simultaneously another student like me studies in the same country”, I said as I took final blessings.

“Hmm. And do take care of your health. Baba will protect you”, said my dad.
“You take care of mom”, I said.

I took leave of my friends and sister. Looked into the eyes of my mom which were dry and lifeless to capture one last memory. And began to leave to check in.

I turned the ipod on. And it began to play the first of the 30 songs I had carefully selected to hear throughout my journey.

“ Aankhon mein sapnay liye,
Ghar sey hum chal tho diye,
Jaaney yeh raahen ab le jaayenge kahan.

Mitti ki khushbu aayi,
Palkon pe aasun laayi,
Palkon pe reh jaayega yaadhon ka jahan.

Manzil nayee hain – Anjana hain karavan,
Chalna akele hain yahaan,
Tanha Dil, Tanha Safar,
Doondey tujhey – Phir kyun Nazar ?
Tanha Dil, Tanha Safar
Doondey tujhey – Phir kyun Nazar ?
Tanha dil ! ”

- Shaan, Tanha dil

- To be continued -