Sunday, September 27, 2009

A comment from Shimp...

My blog does not entertain guest posts. Ususally. So this is the first one, and probably the last one. But I was so touched by a story Shimp put up as a comment to one of my posts, that I just had to put it up. Thank you Shimp for a touching story. Sometimes when I feel that my troubles have become so bad that I cannot take it anymore, I read such stories of struggles much greater than mine, and get inspired to achieve greater things in life. Because my troubles are miniscule compared to what other have had to go through, and I feel lucky and appreciative of all the good things that I have.

Here is Shimps comment:
"The nomadic life has its charms. "I'm not tied down. I never have to turn down an opportunity because my roots have grown too deep." Like you, every wanderer I've encountered comes to a point where they crave roots. I think, in part, because all of the places that they end up going, they are surrounded by, essentially, a root structure.

Just like when you were in India, and craved going elsewhere, eventually the difference of being settled is the difference that is craved. Being settled starts to become the "different" structure that appeals.

I'm sure there are particular concerns when living outside of your culture, and that informs your choices also.

We did know a man a little bit like you in terms of wandering, nothing more. He was Indian by way of Australia, then Canada, then four different places in the U.S. before he landed in the same company with my husband. He had a family, and when his kids got to be school age, he sent them to boarding school within India. He and his wife eventually made the decision to return to India to be closer to their children.

There were a lot of farewell parties for him, he was a very well liked man, but it did turn out he had a secret. As a young child he had strep, and it went untreated for a bit too long, not through neglect it was just one of those things that happened.

Twenty years later he found out that his heart and kidneys had been irreversibly weakened. Eventually there came a point where he knew his heart was failing. He didn't tell anyone that was part of the reason for going home, but he did die within a year of returning to India.

His wife still had affairs to settle here, and we saw her several times. She eventually told us that was the reason he had returned to India,

He was a lovely man, and much missed by all who knew him. I did find it fascinating and heart rending at the same time. He left India as a teenager but there was no question in his mind that he would return home.

There's no real point to my telling this story, nothing profoundly revealing or anything of that nature. I've known a fair number of people from different countries, and a fair number of people from India. The Indians I have known have, for the most part, tried to convey that there is a complexity to being from India that you don't necessarily find in people from other countries.

A sort of love, plus distance, and fond irritation. I'm absolutely terrified of misspelling this man's name, because it's been several years and I really only ever heard his name, vs. read it. Anyway, the reason I'm bringing it up, is that a huge part of Vinkata's (please forgive me if I'm butchering the heck out of that) decision to return home?

He wanted his son to be able to make an informed choice. He assumed his son would basically repeat the pattern.

I can't define this well, but that pinpointed the complex relationship to home better than anything anyone has tried to explain to me. Being there wasn't the goal, as much as having the love engendered, so it could be taken with his son (and he also had a daughter) wherever the journey ended up leading. "


  1. Thank you so much for doing that, Merlin. It made me very happy to think that, even in a small way, Vinkata is remembered today.

    You know the old saying; no man is truly dead until he is forgotten.

    There's something very comforting about the fact that several years after his death, people can stop by here, and think of him, even if it is briefly.

    That's a very kind thing for you to do.

  2. that was so touching...I am speechless...