Thoughts and other trivia...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


“So, why is it that a person like you hasn’t still found Mrs Wonderful?” asked this American lady, who was part of a group of sixteen I was at dinner with in Vizag a couple of days ago. She’s been in India for over fifteen years and runs an animal shelter with her husband and daughter. “Because, I guess, I’m not wonderful enough,” I said and she burst out laughing. This was one of the many incidents that has been, to my mind, leading up to a sort of realisation over the last few days. If I were the dramatic type, I may have even called it an epiphany! But, I’m not and it wasn’t.

Got back yesterday after a hectic four days in Vizag, where we visited the local SPCA and a sprawling organic farm-cum-animal shelter that’s being developed a little distance away from the city. I was very impressed with how well they’ve maintained the SPCA and with how well the animals are looked after there. Among other things, we also visited a school for the speech and hearing impaired and mentally challenged children. Seeing so many kids, especially those who were mentally challenged, just completely broke my heart. I have no recollection of what happened in the first few minutes after we were made to sit down for the show they had prepared for us. But, I do remember hoping that no one would be watching me at the time. I do remember that I completely avoided looking up.

I know how tough and difficult life is and how cruel the world can be. Some of them will continue with their education and learn greater skills to support themselves and to deal with life. A lot of them, however, will not be as lucky and will struggle. My heart goes out to the parents, who have to deal with this every minute of their lives. I felt such great admiration for the teachers there, who, bar none, seemed so committed and sincere.

Our trip to Vizag was, actually, at the invitation of this completely amazing, unassuming and humble man, an Australian of Anglo-Indian origin, who supports over five hundred animal welfare programmes around the world. Over five hundred projects! All paid for and financed through his personal wealth, which, like Bill Gates, he and his wife have sworn to give away during their lifetime. After dinner one night, when there were just four or five of us left, this man said he would run out of all his money in just a few years. “And, then you’ll have to build a room for me and T at the farm,” he told the man who’s in charge here. I felt so, so bad for him then. Incidentally, his wife, T, is equally wonderful.

The man is also supporting the school for speech and hearing impaired and mentally challenged children we visited.

It was later on the same evening that the American lady sat next to me and inquired about Mrs Wonderful. Continuing with the subject of marriages, she told me that the man who’d brought us to Vizag had absolutely no money when he married his current wife. She also told me about her own marriage – first for her, third for her husband – to a man who is 70 to her 51 years and with whom she has a teenaged daughter. “He’s like a small child many times,” she said of her husband, who was sitting at the far end of the three tables that had been joined for us to all sit together.

When I went back to my room that night, I wasn’t surprised that T had married P even though he had no money because, really, money has never been such a big deal for me. But, I did wonder about the people I know and how many of them would marry someone with no money. And, the answer was a surprise! Of all the people I’ve ever known, I could think of just three such people...maybe just two, actually. I guess a lot more people have sense in the world than one gives them credit for, eh? :-)

Talking about sense, I’m afraid not much is doing that these days. But, then, one lives in matter how small it may be. Anyway, up next on the agenda for the month...the bonfire! After that, the Jaipur Lit Fest and then Goa...


Blogger austere said...

8:00 pm  
Blogger GhostOfTomJoad said...


But, that piece from, and about, a different time :-)

11:45 pm  

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