REFLECTIONS ON 31 DECEMBER 2014 (DOUBLES AS A NEWSLETTER)
Another year has come and gone, showering us with experiences good and bad. By the grace of God, it’s been mostly good. My daughters are happily married, the elder has given me two very bright grandchildren, and my world lights up when I’m in their company, as I try to be at least for a month each year. I’m carrying on with my twin occupations of politics (which keeps me busy) and arbitration in engineering contracts (which gives me money). And in between I try to do some writing, both in English and Bengali. Both my full-size books, namely My People, Uprooted and The Life and Times of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, are doing well. I am trying to write an abridged Bengali translation of the former – don’t know how long it’ll take. Politically my party is doing well, and the ground is slipping from beneath the feet of the disgusting Trinamool.
The next book I have in mind would be directed at disabusing the Bengali Hindu mind of what I call BengaLeftism. BengaLeftism is an attitude, a concoction of (a) defiance of authority without reason, (b) phaankibaazi (cheating on work) (c) getting party politics into everything, from poultry farming to teaching to ironmongery. (d) mob behaviour, and (e) a general attitude of rebelliousness and disorderly conduct, all of it made respectable by wrapping it up in a package of Marxist dialectic, whereby all the above can be passed off as instruments of class struggle. This attitude has been the undoing of the race I belong to, namely Bengali Hindu. The race which had given birth to luminaries like Rabindranath Tagore, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and count les others stands in danger of dying out. I am lucky I won’t be alive to see that; but while I am alive, I must do what I can to stop it.
I’m getting on in years – I’ll be 70 on my next birthday, i.e. 14th September 2015. By the grace of God, knock on wood, and everything, I’m physically OK. Of course I’m overweight bordering on obese (BMI 33.5), and all my attempts over the last 15 years to shed the extra belly fat have failed. This has been the source of some frustration, and I think I’ll carry this fat with me when I go to meet my maker. But all this pales away when I consider what I don’t have! No hypertension (120/85), no serious blood-sugar problem (HbA1C 6.3), no knee problem, no spinal problem, no stiff joints. A bit of sugar, a bit of cervical spondylosis, allergy resulting in a running nose through the year – these I can comfortably live with.
Politically we must work harder. Our President Rahul Sinha, whom I have supported and backed to the hilt, is working like a demon, criss-crossing the state, both making speeches and looking to the organization. I am not into organizing, but intellectual exercises, like writing party literature, drafting policy, etc. I have just completed the latest edition of a booklet titled “BJP Ki o Keno” (What and Wherefore of BJP).
On the family front Anuradha and I made our annual trip to see our daughters in the US in September-October 2014, and before that went on a cruise of the Western Mediterranean. Last year we travelled in Scotland and the year before that, Alaska (Anuradha stayed behind at Boston with the family on this trip). We began from Civitavechhia, a port near Rome, then on to Naples, then to Barcelona, Marseilles, Villefranche (near Nice, the port serving the famed French Riviera), La Spezia (port serving Florence and Pisa) and back to Civitavechhia. On the way, between Naples and Barcelona, we passed through the Straits of Bonifacio, between Corsica and Sardinia. Thence we travelled to Rome, Milan and on to New York. I missed the chance of seeing Florence, because it involved quite some uphill walking which Anuradha was not up to. I visited Pisa – the leaning tower was a disappointment, but was surprised to hear Bengali being spoken there, and found a whole lot of Bangladeshis. From Naples we had a look at the Vesuvius. But the real treat was Villefranche from where we visited the Principality of Monaco, saw the Casino at Monte Carlo (from the outside), visited a picturesque village called Eze, and had an unforgettable view of the Mediterranean from the mountaintop. A fantastic trip, all in all.