Sunday, 13 July 2014

My First Broadway Experience

I have bored all you lovely readers on several occasions with my incessant diatribes about the significance (and frequency) of the dreams I see every night.
Sometimes the dreams are about long lost friends/ foes/ lovers, sometimes they are about angry elephants trying to kill me, sometimes about all my teeth falling off (a dentist's worst nightmare?), sometimes about swimming with dolphins, and oh-so-many more of such strange, psychedelic dreams.
Last night had a rather disturbing but memorable one in store for me that made me wake up with a heavy head and a tired mind. After a giant mug of brilliant black caffeinated goodness, I realized that I could recall the dream in exact detail as if I'd seen it in HD a hundred times over, despite having driven away my grogginess and properly awoken from my state of sleepiness.

I was in New York City, heading to watch a Broadway musical where my grandfather was playing the protagonist. I sat in front row seats of a grand auditorium, possibly in the VIP-section because dadaji was, after all, the lead in the musical. He looked at least thirty years younger, with a happy, heavy paunch and a smart navy-blue dinner jacket. He had a slightly bucktoothed smile on his face (of course I would notice a man's teeth even in a dream!) as he playfully chased two little kids on stage who laughed and appeared to be greatly enjoying his attention and company. The stage looked like a park, and the children-a little girl, and an even littler boy-sat on a swing set as dadaji pushed the swings forward and the children let out peals of delightful laughter. Dadaji was saying something to them, but unfortunately that's the part of the dream I don't remember now. And perhaps that's what made this seemingly happy dream a disturbing one.

I have written before about his Alzheimer's. His lucid intervals are now rare, and his speech is now more incomprehensible than it was a month ago. His gradual decline of cognitive functions is suddenly so apparent and so obvious, and a few days ago, it hit me how I don't even remember the last time I had an actual conversation with him where I was speaking to the man himself, and not to this horrible disease. He has launched a thousand careers in his lifetime, helped out anyone who reached out to him for any kind of assistance, built so many bridges for the sake of goodwill and kindness because he knew that he had been blessed with that kind of power and authority. The example that he has set for the rest of his family through his actions and greatness (there truly is no other word I can think of that fits in this context) is big enough for us to probably never be able to outdo. He has been one of India's most respected corporate names for decades with the most inspiring work ethic that I have ever seen in a human being; so much so that today, even though it's been over four years since he retired, and as I said before, he isn't exactly himself anymore, he still sits with all his paperwork on a daily basis and attends to his correspondence with a punctuality that you won't commonly encounter. 
It's so scary and unsettling when I think about this horrid disease, and how it wipes a man's memory and personality away, slowly but surely, like a sadist with nothing better to do. I fear the future more than would be considered a healthy amount, largely because of the regular changes I have unfortunately observed in dadaji.
But like always, he still has that inimitable spark of humour and positivity in him that we all know and love, and a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have experienced that.
I had been having a rough, tiring day, buried in paperwork and grad school applications, and sat on the dinner table with my head in my hands when he entered the room. In one of those increasingly rare moments of clarity, he didn't need to ask me what had induced this posture and seriousness on my usually goofy face, and said to me very firmly yet cheerfully, "What has to happen will happen when it must. There's no good in sitting and worrying about anything for so long. Have faith in your destiny beta!"
I was more than just taken aback by his words for so many reasons, but that's besides the point.
The words he said to me that night will always mean more to me than anything anyone has said or will ever say.
Those words were a bit like Murphy's Law, but with an optimistic little twist in the tale, in my grandfather's signature style. Everywhere he goes and anyone he meets, he lights the place up with his humility, cheerfulness and smile. Perhaps that's what last night's dream was meant to remind me of. Placing my trust and faith in a higher power and meanwhile, keeping my head low. Everything doesn't need to happen to everyone at breakneck speed, I suppose.
Thank you dadaji.

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