Odd coincidences find their way into the most impressive of our literary works. Where the literary work in question happens to be a novel most of us tend to shake our heads and decry “but for that sign of immaturity, this would have been a truly great work.” They are more fruitfully associated with an older form of drama, where such ‘coincidences’ were taken to be a sign of the dramatist’s capacity to tie up all loose ends before the curtain descends on the final act.

Continue reading “Coincidence”

India Blues

This is a one-act play my mother wrote. The point of it wasn’t whether it could be enacted though (which explains some of the supposed ‘stage directions’). She wanted to show how from one perspective (which could be portrayed in this medium), the relations between the countries of the subcontinent had come to resemble playground politics at a point in time when India was regularly portrayed as the Big Brother political entity. She didn’t necessarily agree with this, nor wholly disagree. But she could tell the effect it had on the media. Continue reading “India Blues”

A Poem. A Manifesto.

My mother was preoccupation itself. Much like a dervish entertaining a divine ideal of work (like her father, for whom work was worship), she was always in a whirl of constructive activity. She would come back home from office and almost immediately begin setting about the house.

Thanks to this ceaseless pattern of action and planning the next action, it was easy to forget that she was a person who had truly inherited her father’s creativity and taste for the literary Continue reading “A Poem. A Manifesto.”

Pooja ‘Lynn’ Tripathi, 1957-2017

My mother, Pooja Tripathi, who for some time after she was born was known by the stand-in name ‘Lynn’, assumed the mantle of Eternity on the night of the tenth of September, 2017.

It was a life of tribulations, all gracefully endured. She died of what the doctors at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences called a heart rupture. In other words, the denouement to her story did not bring the closure that some people get, though I admit this must be true of many. Given that it was sudden and absolutely random, it afforded her no avenues to display the staunch resilience that had characterised the larger part of her life.

Moreover, her death came at a time when, after a long period of undeserved suffering, she and I had taken the first steps at rebuilding our life after weathering a devastating storm. We were supposed to have many happy days ahead of us, because she was an active woman who would easily have lived at least a couple more decades.

I hope to use this site to document as much of her life as I can. This will be a long process, never exhaustive but continuously evolving, drawn from hints afforded to me mainly by family, acquaintances and personal correspondence, of which she has left behind little. At the outset, however, since I’ll be working backwards from the moment of bereavement, you might find some of my meditations during the time following her death. I don’t mean to add any emotional sensationalism to this site, but I feel that some of these records and observations play a vital role in understanding the person behind the quaint and understated poise that my mother maintained in her public dealings.

A day after her death, I was advised to accept her death gracefully. To be honest, despite the fact that the suggestion was in plain English, I do not think I am capable of understanding what it really means to do that. Not just yet, anyway. And besides, ‘accepting her death gracefully’ would seem to imply that I have some power of amendment or deduction on the plot of her life, some manner of authority to dispense the trajectory of her remembrance, but this is not the case. She lived, and all I can do is take a leaf out of her book and carry on the way she did when she suffered a bereavement like this, when she was two years younger than I am now.

That, and keep her memories alive.

{A note on the featured image: I know some of those who knew my mother will not be convinced that this is the image this post should bear. But my mother wasn’t one for photos, unlike her father. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she didn’t much like getting herself clicked. I think this was an effect of her testing preoccupations: she didn’t consider the frown lines on her forehead apt adornment for pictures, perhaps. I remember when I used to take a few snaps as she read the paper, we used to share a chuckle on it together, and then she’d say something along the lines of “but seriously, when will you delete it?” This was when we had the technology to capture light which was seldom. This was one of the few snaps I took, managed to keep, and found intact because I had been careful enough to save it on the cloud. This is the one we used at her prayer meeting, and the one I have in my room (though not in sepia). It’s also one of the few times she smiled for a photo.}