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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

My Mother's Castle

"I'm back!"


For the past four weeks, indeed for the four weeks before that, work has been excruciating. So much that the time I've taken for sleep breaks every night is only slightly more than that for lunch breaks! Indeed I simply forgot that I had a blog, and that it had readers, and they wanted me to resume normal service. The one thing that has spurred me on suddenly is this. Over the weekend, one of my friends asked me if I blog. I was tempted to say "I used to!" That was the last straw.

Over the last 2 months, I have learnt a lot of things. Firstly, that I can be a workaholic. That working 18+ hours a day isn't that tough. And that work can be fun. The one other thing I've learnt is that there is no limit to the love and devotion of my parents.

Picture this. Every single day, I used to come home at 2, 3, and sometimes even 4 AM, and I won't be needed to even ring the bell to wake up my parents. They won't be lying awake for so long, but the moment I open the gates of the house, they will rush to open the door. Sometimes I've wondered what is it that our parents want. I've wanted to ask "Why are you being so nice to me?" Why should two tired people in their late 40s fall prey to my workaholicism, and at such unearthly hours? I now understand why our forefathers placed matha and pitha before guru and deivam.

In the whatever little time I've had to think about things other than work, my thoughts have been occupied by Provence, one of the most beautiful regions in the world. I don't know why / when exactly I started thinking about it, but once I did, there was no going back. Provence has a special place in my heart because, of all the movies I saw last year, the one I liked the most was "My Mother's Castle", which captures the childhood memories of the celebrated French author Marcel Pagnol. Based on Pagnol's own book "Le Chateau de ma mere", this simple tale of the life of a family in Provence haunted me to no end. I've seen the movie and its prequel, My Father's Glory, half a dozen times now, and I'm amazed how a simple tale, something as simple as a recollection of one's enfance, can leave a viewer spellbound. Surely, there must be something about Provence that inspired Pagnol.

Suddenly there was this brainwave in me - I should live some part of my life in Provence! Never mind, I get such brainwaves often. If I had to implement all of them, I would have to travel across the globe, and across interplanetary space, and I would need a few lifetimes too. However, Provence stands out - why else would the entire world want to backpack to the south of France for a holiday?


I've just started reading Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence". One good thing I like about myself is that I don't envy anyone. However Peter Mayle is fast becoming an exception. His experiences in Provence are all I've dreamt of.

Mayle, a British advertising executive, left behind his job, and settled along with his wife near the Luberon Mountains in Provence. His experiences there, and how he comes around to be come a vrai Provencal form the theme of his books, A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Yes, I would give anything for a decade of anonymous existence in the PACA. Provence, here I come!

There is a link here. Marcel starts his narration by saying "Every single day, dawned before me a new chapter in the life of Augustine and her three men - myself, my father and my brother Paul." Judging by my own experiences of the past month, my own life is similar. The love and support shown by my parents is similar to what Marcel describes.


I may never get to live in Provence, nor may I acquire a castle, as did Pagnol, but I've realised that parents are the greatest gift God bestows upon us.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anon Arumugam said...

So very true about the selfless love of parents. I very often think if I can be half as good a parent myself, though my conscience is ready with a big, "NO". It is an utmost duty of a child to respect his/her parents. The modern world is moving away from the gazed "kootu kudumbam" type of lives our forefathers were lucky to enjoy. Its a pity that the discoteques and late night cinemas have encroached on family dinners and enjoyments.
The movie "Thavamai Thavamirunthu", in the right sense brought out the nuances in our daily lives.

1/31/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger Venkat Ramanan said...

HI VK!!
Good to see your writings after quite sometime :)). And, yes I agree with whatever you have said about our parents. But, looking at it from a different perspective, our parents are very concerned about us, which leads us to a point of too much dependance on them. So, I am not sure as to what 2 say!!
Regarding you working for 16-18 hours, I have a lot to say!!! Please don't do that, and it may end up spoiling your health in the short, medium and long term. Even if you enjoy your work, resist the urge at least for health reasons, and also for the reasons that an IT industry job is not rocket science to be so passionate about the job. I am speaking from my experience from the job. Or, If the work demands so many hours from you, take as many logical breaks from work, wash eyes with cold water and have a refreshing cup of water in regular intervals. Let us not ignore our future for the sake of present fun, that too I am wondering how you enjoy work in an IT company??!!! I am not being cynical about your work, but reflecting my experiences and thoughts about the industry!!
Cheers,
Venkat.

1/31/2006 04:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie70 said...

Myle is a very good writer, and I do not know if you would really like the life in Provence, but going there for a few days or, better weeks, would be already interesting!

I thank you work visiting my blog, from so far!

1/31/2006 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous DAD said...

You did not have to so emotional. There is no fun in sacrificing your current good health in the name of fun (?) and regret in future. Tips from Venkat could be useful. But then if this continues the same way, the threat (you know it) may have to be implemented.

2/02/2006 08:28:00 AM  

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