Gene, Imran 2nd June 2019, Shanti Dham, Sangam
70% of our DNA comes from the preceding 3 generations.
For me, Imran Ali Namazi, thats
MMJ Namazi, Father
Zahara Begum Namazi, Grandmother
Mirza Ismail Namazi, Grandfather
Uma Melarkode Sivaraman
Melarkode Subramaniam Sivaraman
and 1 Generation above – so 8 more people, thats 14 people in all, my pitru
I believe both my mother’s grandfathers were principals in schools. My grandmother’s father taught English to his daughter Vasantha who matriculated in Malayalam circa 1946, was married that same year and gave birth to my Uncle Subramaniam the next year. He was one of those special children born in the year India won her independance, carrying the hopes of a country proudly and valiantly forward. His golden days were short for he was shot down in his early 40s and has spent the last 30 years the shell of a man. What do we really know about the sum of a body’s life or have we tasted it to it’s dregs?
MS Sivaraman, or Sivam for short was almost the perfect human being. Even when he threw clocks at a glass cupboard. He would feed his wife and 5 children after a long day at work to make sure food didn’t go to waste. It’s a pity his children did. Waste most of their life, their talents, their potential and their education. His favourite child of 5 was my mother Uma, ibne Sivam. She was the most timid and strong of all their children. My grandmother lived a full joyous life and at 86 was still trying to get a break making cards to support her children. How many heroes and heroines have been produced from among parents? Or are they ALL heroes. I look forward to seeing the kind of man, husband and father my cousin V Advaith Shivram is going to make – his mother the most hardworking of my 10 closest family members. Save my dad. Hes the real superman in my family. Denied full emotional development at the ge of 12 when he lost the beacon in his life, my Grandfather Mirza Ismail Namazi.
My sister and I were lucky to have 2 fathers and 2 mothers. I mean my mothers 2 siblings Rani and Venka. Rani who married my Reiki Guru and Venka whose son Advaith is the kid I’m gonna look after. He and my sister’s daughter Inara – the two born but 5 years apart.
So yes, I don’t come with a lot of emotional baggage, I come from a family who has shown time and again what love can conquer. What the power of freethinking can yield and what unconditional love can do to foster children. They’ve all had hard burdens to face buts its burdens as build character and shows us what stern stuff we’re made of.
Venka it was who told me how high his dad set the “being a good father” yardstick. A challenge I’m prepared to accept as I try and raise my own “children of the kingdom”. I stand here today, the sum of all the hard won experience that is my family – Uma, Shayesteh, Laila, Vichu, Rani, Venka, Manna, Vasantha, Venu, Bhuvana, Advaith and Inara. I also have 3 brothers by love – Ben, Arvind and Aneesh. And hope earnestly to soon meet the girl I’m going to marry.
There Vichu stands, the man whose mystery I may unravel some day, who saw the best in me and gave me always his best. Who just thinking about causes me uncontrollable tears. Who stood ready to shoot down a Cheetah for killing his favourite monkey at age 15. Whose lived the least of this family I love so much, but whose knowledge is so vast, it dwarfs even my writer’s skill and adroitness. He once told me about the two men who met on the stairs. The youngster thought wow, here I am on the same level as my Guru, but the other scoffed and said fool, one of us is going up, the other climbing back down from the top. What summits you’ve reached with that brilliant mind of yours, only God can fathom!
How I wish 6 years ago I had the coolth and smartness to keep this family from tottering on the brink. It was afterall a childhood dream to see us all united again. Once I spent an entire hour visualizing how in the smallest detail, one February afternoon in Pondicherry in 2011. But it wasn’t mean to be, and now the fashion of the world is changed and my grandmother is no more [1 month after writing this, I would lose my father too]. The woman that set the bar in loving her family unconditionally. Who guides gently from behind the veil where she is united once again with the husband she knew 42 years before. Silly girl, I kept telling her he would have taken birth again, waiting to see her in the next life. Maybe I’m the fool and they were never partned.
Anyway, in their memory, I live on. At the crossroads in my life, waiting for that little bit of Magique to come along and save the day. I am after all the most precious element in this entire equation. Just like my sister Laila is the darlingest. Don’t worry, we will all raise Children of the Kingdom, just as it were meant to be.
Just like Aneesh is my brother by his father the late PJ Naidu, I have too another wellwisher and brother in Dr Mahdi, son of my teacher Mir Momin Ali. Arvind and Ben, I love you too.
Leaving us with the 5 year old who proves to us daily that the anachronisms sometimes win – my father. Tolkien says, reconciliation with the father is one of the defining moments in a body’s life. I’d like to think I crossed that stage today as I reached to the future and saw my own children mirrored in his image. That unrelenting faith, honesty and simplicity that makes him the superman in my life.
Somewhere in all this, I’d like to give thanks to Chalam and Usha for being there at critical moments in my life. It’s good to know someone’s got my back, with fresh perspective.
Thank you for listening patiently to the tale of my family.
I love them all very much. Am sorry for all the pain and disappointment I have caused in these 35, my teething years.
I now vow to be on top of my game every single day and answer the riddle that is life before too long.
Hari Om Tat Sat
J Shasa Shivram
PS: Venka, I told you I’d get there first 😉
I dedicate this letter “Gene” to Gene Roddenberry who taught us how to dream and then realise our dreams.