Every year, when it is about time to usher in a new birthday in my life, I am aghast, amazed , amused , baffled and confused about how I have lived life for so many years - ALI PETER JOHN
Going by the way I have lived life and life has treated me, I should have been dead a long time ago, what with my so many accidents, so many falls, so many dog bites and my endless bouts of alcoholism which was not my way of celebrating life, but to try and end my life as soon as I could, but I have survived all these enemies of my life to sing the praises of life , a life which has given me all the experiences to know life and as I draw closer to my 71st birthday, I still feel that I know nothing about life.
But if there is one time when I have been genuinely worried about not only my life, but also the life of my country, my favourite city, my old village, it was during the last one year when a worm has been tormenting all of us and has filled us with the kind of fear that is becoming a scar which I fear will last for a very long time to come.
Anyways , let me come to the acknowledgments section of my story during the year that is hopefully going to leave me soon and only leaving a crowd of memories behind.
At the outset, I must once again thank the good god for holding back this decision about my future and for the kind and helpful to me every time I have felt the fear of falling, my mother had told me that as long as I had faith in god, no problem or power could harm me and her words are coming true with every passing year of my life.
It goes without saying that I am not just grateful but entirely grateful to my mother for giving me the kind if life which has made me last so long, I am now the only surviving and the oldest member of my family and I don't know whether I should be happy or feel sad about it.
I am grateful to my caretaker (I am sorry , Pushpa , there is no other way to call you , I cannot call you my mother, because no power in the world can take the place of my mother), it is Pushpa who has been keeping me alive for more than a year and has been treating me like a child , she is giving me a feel of being a child which I never had after I lost my mother when I was only 14.
It was very difficult to think of life during this dark period of the unexpected enemy called Covid , but it was Mr. P.K. Bajaj and his team of his son Aman Bajaj and Ghanshyam who together with Chhavi Sharma added meaning to my existence when I started writing for Mayapuri and realized that my best writing was happening during the last one year, imagine me writing entire issues on Yash Chopra , Subhash Ghai and Shah rukh Khan within a year and writing some of the best of my articles in a single issue , it would certainly not had been possible without the cooperation of Mr. Bajaj.
And how can I forget all the lakhs of memories I have of the fifty years that I have spent that have become a motive to keep me going and even testing my abilities to write and the results have been that my memories have inspired me to write at my best and even write Hindi and even Urdu in my own way and succeed in conveying what my heart and mind command me to say.
And If there are some creations of god who deserve my gratitude, it is the birds who come to my window every morning with messages of love, peace and understanding, values which we human beings have forgotten or are on the verge of forgetting all because of the fear that a tiny worm has injected into us.
I have always been a grateful man and have been grateful to every breath that I take , every morsel of food that give me strength and every moment that is an unusual ocean of life, much more powerful than the ocean created by god.
I have spent time thinking about all those women who I have loved and who have betrayed me or cheated me , but life has taught me how to forgive them, but not to forget them because after all I have loved them and those who I have loved I cannot un-love.
I am grateful to Nitin Anand , a noted stand up comedian who kept typing for me, forgetting his own profession and sometimes even his life.
I am grateful to Bihaan Sen , a filmmaker by profession from Kolkata who has also been tolerating me and especially my anger and yet helping me with the painful job he does to keep typing for me.
And if even god asks me what his best gift to me in the last one year has been , I will be lying to god who is truth that the best gift he has given me is a little flower called Aarti Mishra who I once on an unexpected morning found in a cafe ( these days the world of the young seems to be found in cafes where a cup of tea costs what my mother spent on running her family for a month), this little girl who I call a nanhi kali will certainly grow into an unusual tree which god forget to create when he first created the world and on this tree will grow and flourish only one flower and the name of that flower will be a prayer for the future and her worldly name will be Aarti Mishra.
As I complete writing this note of acknowledgements , I cannot dare forget my old mobile without which life would have been one long walk in an unknown desert in the dark.
I used to hate mobiles at one time , I have fallen in love with my old mobile and have even proposed to her and am eagerly awaiting her response, I hope she agrees because I cannot think of life without her, especially when the noose of Covid is hanging around the necks of not only me , but on every single creation of god and I often wonder how god can helplessly watch the tamasha the worm has created and how she is threatening to destroy the world all the time.
EK SAAL AUR BEET GAYA AUR MUJHE PEECHE CHODH GAYA LEKIN USKI MEHARBAANI HAI KI USNE USS SAAL KI SAARI YAADEIN MERE SAATH CHODH RAKHI HAIN.