Each of us has, at some point of time in our lives, received life advice from our personal life-coaches – parents, siblings, teachers, mentors, kids, the vegetable vendor or the stranger sitting on the adjacent seat on the flight. Something that moved you, changed you or made a difference to your perspective forever. Indiapages brings to you these slices of life, shared by people from all walks of life … Writers, Photographers, Artists, Television Producers, Hands-on mommies, Entrepreneurs and Engineers …. Meet Geetha Balsara
‘Kitti sundar jeevan’ (how beautiful is life)
“Tudumbalelya panyat ubhya aslelya trunashi naate kadhi visru nakos”
(Never forget the relationship you share with that special blade of grass, standing upright in spite of being submerged)
These words said to me by Mrs Saroj Gupte, my Marathi school teacher have stayed with me. We had a poem back then, wherein a blade of grass fully submerged in water, struggling to survive, still maintains ‘kitti sundar jeevan’ (how beautiful is life). Thanks to Gupte teacher, this strong message got etched in my long term memory zone and made a mental appearance whenever a situation arose. And situations did arise, some seemingly insurmountable. But, I did overcome them and in fact, did a good job of it! Allow me to run you through a few of my life’s tough phases and how I emerged a winner!
Life was hunky dory, with a satisfying job, music concerts, travel… During the course of events, I met Neville Balsara through a common friend. It was ‘love at first sight’….yes, these fairy tale moments can be real for some! He, Parsi. Me, a hybrid version between a GSB and a TamBrahm. Amidst a lot of restrictions, clashes and tears, under tremendous duress, the relationship had to be called off. With sincere efforts to see my parents happy, I went ahead and accepted another proposal for marriage. 10 months into the engagement and we knew this wasn’t going to work. 2 beautiful souls but not ‘made for each other’. Engagement called off and a promise made to self to stay away from thoughts of marriage at least for a year, seemed the appropriate thing to do.
Mental anguish, but the attitude: ‘kitti sundar jeevan’!
Half a year of stoic resolution and life had other plans. A chance meeting with Neville and the chemistry came alive. Now there was no looking back. We decided to seek our parents’ approval and plunge into matrimony even if we had to do it sans their consent. My parents softened immediately having perhaps seen me go through the roller coaster ride of emotions. His folks, at least did not say no. We chose a date in the following month and preparations were underway. Venue booked, invitations distributed… The night prior to the wedding, at 11.30 pm the land line phone rings and it is a pain filled voice at the other end saying, “mummy is unwell. We can’t get married tomorrow”.
Did my world just collapse? I very gingerly broke the news to my parents. There was silence and the shock and anguish were palpable. Soon, a floodgate of tears opened up. My family was shattered. I don’t think any of us slept much that night. At some stage, I guess fatigue took over and I fell asleep. One of the most trying moments of my life was waking up next morning and looking at my mehendi-clad hands. Reality hit me as scenes of the previous night flashed in my mind’s eye and my just woken eyes shed tears unabashedly. Once the day began, I was ready to face life again. After all, I reminded myself, ‘kitti sundar jeevan’!
Neville’s fearless visit to our home on the supposedly ‘Shaadi ka din’ to offer an explanation, and seek forgiveness went a long way in convincing my parents that this choice he had made was purely under constraints, as at the eleventh hour his family chose to not support his decision to marry me. After much deliberation, my parents advised me to not be harsh upon Neville, as he had taken the best possible decision under the given circumstances. After some kind of sorting of issues, we finally tied the knot a month later. Yes, indeed ‘kitti sundar jeevan’!
17 years of bliss. And then, the morning of 2nd January, 2006 dawned, like any other morning. But, by the time the sun had set, so had our world. Without much warning, only complaining of a headache, Neville succumbed to a brain haemorrhage. For once, my favourite phrase could not console me. It was anything but, ‘kitti sundar jeevan’!
Then followed years of anguish and tremendous hard work. More challenges hit me…lost Appa, Amma developed dementia and subsequently passed away. I gave up my wonderful job, to be available to my young daughter. The years between 2006 & 2012 were the toughest. But, I accepted The Divine’s decision and allowed life to unfold, once again. Angels in the avatar of friends and artists touched my life, and showered upon me moments of bliss. Since, life has come around and I continue remembering the philosophy of that blade of grass, as advised by Gupte teacher:
“Kitti Sundar Jeevan”
(Geetha Balsara is an advertising professional turned impresario. Having spent over 2 decades in the profession, Geetha decided to pursue her passion for Indian Classical Music and began organising corporate shows presenting artistes such as Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, Smt. Shubha Mudgal, Sonu Nigam, Shankar Mahadevan and a few others. Geetha has written advertising copy besides penning sleeve notes for over 200 classical music albums launched by Saregama (HMV). Recently she has co-authored a bilingual book, having written the English synopsis for 101 Hindi poems. She has also been accompanying Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia ji on the Tanpura for over 16 years as also a guest lecturer at various colleges and conducts corporate workshops on Communication Skills.)