Total Pageviews

November 12, 2017

Memories, memories and memories - Ethiopian Journey - Post Blog no - 28

I am getting many queries as to how I am able to remember so many details and that too so graphically. I am letting ‘the cat out of the bag’. Right from my childhood, I was fascinated by things and had a gifted memory to remember and reproduce the same dramatically.
Muscat, Oman 
During all my trips I had maintained a diary of some sorts and even for my Oman trip (my first foreign assignment) I have copious notes. These are not notes parse but very elaborate letters that were written to my wife and parents.
Letters were a life line to sanity in those days. I was a forced bachelor and talking on phone was exorbitant, so sending and receiving letters were the only way to get connected with near and dear.
It was quite frustrating when our man Friday (the person who got us the letters from the Post box) pass my cabin and look at me and say “Anil Bhai, aaj aap ke liye letters nahi hai”.

I used to type out my letters and send them to India. During one of the phone conversations my sister Dr. M. Uma whose family was staying in Yemen wanted to know about Oman and its culture.  I took a copy of one of the letters and posted it to Sana'a, Yemen. She liked it very much.
Sanaa, Yemen 
I started posting all my earlier letters too, starting from the first letter to Sana'a, Yemen. To make it exciting for her family, I posted one letter per week. Later my sister told me that this gesture of mine made her family the cynosure of the entire medical fraternity in Sana'a, Yemen.
Non Resident Indians very rarely get letters and even if they receive they are mostly aerograms and that too very irregularly. Getting a letter in a month itself was very rare. Sana'a hospital had a huge display board where the letters would be displayed and all the Indians would eagerly go and check if they had got a letter.
So a thick cover that arrives every week and that too with the name of M. Sandeepthi (My niece and now a budding Cosmetologist) made my sister’s family and especially Sandeepthi a minor celebrity of sorts. The medical fraternity were quite envious about the entire thing.

But the real chronicler of our journey is my wife M. Padmavathi. Padma with all her busy schedule of being a full time home maker, managing the kitchen with only one Kerosene stove for nearly four months, no maid (she was scared that the local maids would be of an inconvenience), a small kid of two years, taking care of all the washing and the cleaning, trying to home school a very naughty seven-year boy, taking care of the garden and writing laboriously for hours together late into the night, OOF! I think it was a super human effort – Padma a one woman army, a virtual super woman.
Padma wrote so many letters and that too, with so much detailing that it makes for stunning reading. The letters remain fresh, even after fifteen years! So much of history and memories captured on paper. Reading these letters is an amazing experience.  We had completely forgotten some of the incidents. The detailing is helping me make the journey more accurate and getting my time lines more in sync with reality.
The letters that we have sent both to India and USA were lovingly preserved both by my father Sri. M.C. Anjaneyulu and by my mother-in-law Mrs. Anasuya Devi in USA. These letters which were preserved over 15 years-time are worth their weight in gold. They arrived from USA and we eagerly received and we read them with anticipation.
To our utter dismay the prima Donna, the first letter from Ethiopia was missing. The entire set of Padma’s travelogue came to a whopping 440 pages (A4 size paper, written very closely and compactly to squeeze in as much matter as possible). We consoled ourselves saying “it is all right if the first letter was missed, we have all the rest”!
The next day, there was an email from M. Sai Prasad, (Padma’s brother who stays in USA). He has send me a scanned PDF of the first letter and it was 28 pages long! Apparently Padma’s mother by mistake did not send the first letter and asked her son to scan and send us the same! Knowing us, she was pretty sure that we would be doubly anxious.
Nannagaru (my father Sri M.C. Anjaneyulu), Mrs. M. Anasuya Devi (my mother-in-law), M. S. Sai Prasad (Padma’s brother) and Padma, I owe you people. You were instrumental in clearing some of my mental cobwebs. 

No comments:

Post a Comment