Off the shores 19
Year in Year out
Life mosaic unfold
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
It was though a late thought-out plan for the last day of the year to be doing so going there. It was sunny day that made Rachna and her mummy to venture out for some groceries as the weather otherwise had been rainy and they did not wish to spoil the joy of the Florida vacation dampened. We would rather lazy around ruminating the wonderful things experienced often shared with our relatives back home in Sikkim and Nepal. Though the fun was over yet the thrill had not subsided as yet and such was the joy of taking your time out for such outings in spite of busy schedule. It not only helps escape the usual lifestyle in routine manner in the mundane affairs but also invigorates to take the life ahead whatever tidings in the store during the year throughout.
Sometimes one may feel what use is the fun of going out on holidays, spending a lot of hard earned money in such trips in the name of vacation. Instead one should be happy and contended accepting the life as it comes having enjoyed such a wonderful trip just the previous week. When Vimal proposed for going out to Philly I was hurrying through my article for the coming Sunday and asked him why not enjoy with their friends only for a change. This was not the way to do things when we were here as Rachna too wanted us to join them to see something new for ushering in the New Year – the way the people here in this part of the world in the US do. More the merrier on such occasions and more so when it is this time that most of the friends and relatives have planned their own way. We were not prepared to go out to join family members at Woodbridge Virginia or Piscataway New Jersey after that hectic week-long vacation that we were still under hallucination. Ranjana simply mentioned that she was still packing-unpacking our baggage for the trip next checking out of the hotel after a hurried breakfast or even escaping it to have a brunch later at some another wonderful place Rachna found out for searching over in her cellphone best for a stopover. It took days to come out of the hangover. Over-enjoyed could not be appropriate for us and we were under our limits well realizing that good things must come to an end and we were, therefore, quick to go for another found waiting for us all the while at one place or the other to enjoy altogether. This made our trip more enjoyable for the group that comprised of a young lad and old one like me and all in between happy together. If anything came on our way enjoying thus was the free Wi-Fi available to take our time, attention and company away from the common purpose of holidaying together. Yet the fun had to be well insured even if each of us were taking all the joy-rides and parasail at our own risk. They got our individual signature in a page full of pre-conditions to taking our lives into parasail at own risk. Unless it was snap off of the rope we were tied up to the boat which itself was slippery that even one of the operators trying to take some photographs of ours slipped down and while boarding the boat a wrong step on to the parachute was found slippery. Thrilling was the trip down the Kali River Rapids or some down the virtual tour rides, horrendous was the roller coaster ride for the Expedition Everest that Ranjana still feels like enjoying once more. There she was sitting eyes closed as the trip was through pitch dark caves inside to open her eyes when light came to see that to be from the huge Yeti in front but me enjoying all the trips with a smile to be captured on the picture they show us after the tour. You have to pay price for that too, its digital copy and even the whole episode beautifully captured in different pictures for the parasail. For a few dollars more, it was worth the buy as a memento or to share some on the Facebook or show family members back home. These joyous moments are now memories to cherish and treasure lifelong and to well remember such opportunity does not come always unless slotted in your destiny. No risk no game is the sole principle of life, we were to realize this time again. It depends upon you alone how far you wish to go thus.
Life as expressed in the Season’s Greeting and Happy New Year message posted by NOA friend Mahindra Pradhan on Facebook that I like the best to share with to give a mosaic full of words to unfold what to expect and look forward in the year ahead. Words chosen carefully by whomsoever to create this wonderful mosaic had well thoughtfully compiled but yet some might like to add more to it that would not, however, make the definition of Life as such complete. Nor would it express fully the concept as it would mean different words here and there as one passes through the journey called life. So, try finding out for yourself what words were missing or needed to be added to make the collage more meaningful and fulfilling to your own. Words to find in it were – Wish, Joy, Luck, Beauty, Happiness, Family, Peace on Earth, Hope, Wisdom, Trust, Memory, Dream, Patience, Faith, Creativity, Friends, Freedom, Success, Prosperity, Courage, Muse, Purpose, Love, Gratitude, Compassion, Curiosity, Motivation, Thoughtfulness, Laughter, Inspiration, Forgiveness and Confidence. Underlined words were the words shown enlarged emphasizing more on what one could wish out of the life in the year ahead to be the dominant factors to lead towards achieving the best. It has a word ‘muse’ included that you may do to ruminate as you steer through ahead in the coming days, year in - year out.
A cent has its own value and unlike in our place, balance is not ignored to return while making purchases. It is converted to beautiful memento in most of the tourist places with installed machine squeezing it out paying 50cents extra but the nickel I found just stepping out of the car on the New Year meant more with little serrated edges for the reasons unknown. With a few Nepali and other currency notes were seen many such coins offered wishing even at the symbolic waterless pond before the temple dedicated to the Yeti in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom and another one added was from Ranjana out of habit to wish for every one of us in the family. A worldwide phenomenon and what a joy to see them all turned emerald green, like the Statue of Liberty, in the waters inside the well-lit Luray Caverns in Virginia. Many believe what goes around comes around. My most loved coin is the rare paisa minted by Taksari Chandrabir Newar for the Sikkim Durbar in 1860s shown as profile picture of the Newars in Sikkim on Facebook.
Believe was the theme displayed during the season around and a closer look in the Macy’s carry bag had a complimentary line in the magic of giving to complete. Our belief took us to give a good start to the New Year with a fine weather and get blessed visiting the Guruvaayurappan Temple / Sri Krishnaji Mandir run by the Hindu American Trust and Culture Centre (www.krishnatemple.org) at Morganville in New Jersey. Achyut Bhai had mentioned of this temple we should visit when here. The main door of the beautifully constructed huge ornate Gopuram was kept closed to manage the crowd that composed mainly of south Indians others even if present there were well blended like us. Arrangement for keeping shoes and coats was sufficiently made inside. Hall had long lines of devotees to offer pray with a Darshan of deities and we too join to have our share and get blessed with Prasad of tika, holy water and raisins. We take a customary rest for a while seated on the floor. A family with its new born baby was also seen there. Vimal showed us the place outside where people had their new cars blessed with a puja done earlier. Canteen run in the house, where the temple used to be previously, was overcrowded and we leave the place to have our food elsewhere. We reach Mithaas which we find similarly crowded but to enjoy quite a number of savouries that this eatery is famous for. Coming out of the place I collect complimentary copies of New Year issues of the community colors Desi Talk in New York (Volume XX No. 1, 36 pages) and The Indian Express North American Edition (Volume XVI no. 29 priced US 60C 32 pages) that comes out weekly here from New York, California and Toronto. Desi Talk headlines read “2015: A very Good Year Indian Americans in the Tri-state and nationally kept on the trajectory of achievement” (www.desitalk.com) while the other had “2015: A Year of Hope – As the sun sets on 2015 and the world welcomes the New Year we take a stock of this year and what it meant for India” (www.iexpressusa.com.)
We try contacting Ranjana’s cousins there and visit Rajesh’s place as Bikash were on their way to Boston for the weekend and Bhushan elsewhere. Quite excited was the baby Aanvi as buhari Archana mentioned her waiting us. It took no time for her to be familiar and soon she was familiarizing us show playing many of her toys in hundreds in the living room and some more in the basement. The best, however, was when she took out a number of books one after another from her library to show us and started reading one herself. Archana finds these books quite expensive but the visit to the neighbourhood library had them for a lesser price. As regards toys many were gifts from the generous elderly neighbours, who sometimes leave them at the door when not home. What could make a mother more proud when her child fetched the medal for being the Best Reader for a young baby yet to celebrate her second birthday even! So, the future of books is in safe hands though Aanvi was also quite familiar with enjoying the comic characters in the iPad her mother gives to keep her engaged as she did when busy in the kitchen preparing food or with us. Rachna shared with us to have accomplished one more making 41 books against the target of 40 she had as a challenge set for the year 2015. She is yet to get her copy of Chetan Raj Shrestha’s The Light of his Clan but interested in the talk by Andrew Duff back home this Sunday at Rachna Books on his Sikkim: A Requiem for a Himalayan Kingdom after going through the copy we brought for her along with my another favourite from the previous year The Newars of Sikkim: Reinventing Language, Culture and Identity in the Diaspora by Dr. Bal Gopal Shrestha. ‘There is no friend as loyal as a book.’ said Ernest Hemingway.
Year in Year out I wish I could bring out one mine too and let us hope my prayer is answered before it is too late and the book I would like to see the light of the day would have the name The Newars Worldwide: Connecting the Dots – Backdrop Sikkim though many of my enlightened readers like my stories published under the Thinking local column here in this popular news-daily Sikkim Express every Sunday come out with a Nepali version as well! Let us all hope for the best in the year ahead.
This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life while in the US. Some names, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org