Once upon a time there was a grand multi named Cee-m-cee. She was a well respected Alma Mater, which translated in latin means “a nourishing mother “. A pivotal figure in the community, she was of immense help to all around and far away.
Cee-m-cee lived in Lore-Lore-Land with her mother D-ida, the kids grandmother . They had homes on 2 separate campuses a few kilometers apart , connected by shuttles on 2 bus routes, the No 1 bus route and the No 2 Bus route.
Cee-m-cee had hundreds and hundreds of kids, despite all the attending complications. Even when she reached 100 years, she did not stop. Initially, she had a string of girls. Then she had a string of girls and boys. Sometimes even twins. The kids were of all shapes, sizes and temperament. They all grew up on the ancestral homestead exposed to the same values and opportunities. When they had organized sports or music events on Cee-m-cee’s or Dida’s birthday, they were divided into 4 houses to encourage healthy competition. The Houses were named after famous figures in the annals of medical history, Cochrane, Findlay, Scudder and Lazarus.
You could pick them up anywhere in a crowd, anytime. They all wore ribbons and ties of Silver and Blue.
Some kids stayed with their mother Cee-m-cee on the green, wooded, serene ancestral homestead, set among hills, one of which resembled the silhoette of a Toad, especially at sunrise on Easter Sunday. The girls stayed in rooms built in a quadrangle they called the Womens Hostel and the boys stayed across the road, in a house they called The Mansion of Gods.
The older kids stayed at the second campus in the crowded and dusty epicentre of town, with their grandmother D-ida. The boys and the married couples lived in a block of Flats they called MIQ. The girls lived in a block of flats they called LIQ.
Some of the teenagers who came of age, were taken in batches to visit and spend time with D-ida in her campus, for a few hours every day. Cee-m-cee, the Nourishing Mother always sent her kids on their day trips with packed lunches from home. The older mature ones stayed overnight with D-ida, sometimes for weeks on end and helped her with her lifelong work of tending to the sick and the suffering, brought in by road, rail and air for healing, increasing the rising footfall in the corridors of of D-ida’s house. Some who needed long term care were given beds to stay in D-ida’s large rooms. D-ida, with her unwavering commitment to a Living God and Risen Saviour she served devotedly, had with loving dedication, built up a trusted reputation of caring with compassion, over the years .
All the Cee-m-cee Kids were given identical smart phones to learn from and communicate. Some of the kids were content to use it for basic stuff like incoming calls, outgoing calls and the occasional emails. Others were more adventurous and went beyond the basics and learned and excelled in all the apps on the smart phone, winning accolades and recognition from all the sites and service providers.
With time, they all grew up. Some stayed at home. Some went away. Some crossed the waters to distant shores. Some buried themselves in oblivion to serve the poor and needy in resource poor settings, serving the outcast and the marginalized. None of the kids ever forgot all that they had learned from their Alma Mater, bouncing on their Nourishing Mother’s knee.
With time and age , Cee-m-cee could not keep up with the whereabouts of all her kids at home and scattered over the different continents. One of her illustrious kids, Pee Zee , compiled a Directory, a chronological ready reference of Cee-m-cee’s kids with their birthdays, current addresses, telephone numbers, names of spouses and kids. This was a stroke of genius to let the growing family keep in touch. It served as an extensive and interesting data base for a quick and go-to-guide for B&B across the Globe. There was a Cee-m-cee Kid in almost any place in the world, at any point in time, be it the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas, or the deserts of Africa. The Cee-m-cee kids were an exclusive gene pool, a coveted kinship that many envied and would have given their right arm to join. A protective band that looked out for each other, often welcoming them and their families warmly into heart, hearth and home.
When news came in of success, recognition and accolades, Cee-m-cee celebrated with her kids . When news came of their passing on , Cee-m-cee and her family mourned and lit a candle in their memory in the family chapel.
The family chapel was a dome shaped unique piece of grey granite stone architecture with brass and wooden fittings. The resounding acoustics that do not need microphones is legendary. The Chapel is set in a picturesque sunken garden, landscaped as a well manicured green oasis with a pond and lilies, dotted with a burst of magnificent and scented colorful blooms. This is the epic spot where playful duckings were held. This is the epic spot where jasmine chains were carried in celebration, through the years on proud shoulders. This is the epic spot in the homestead that housed a treasure trove of memories. This is the epic tableaux every Cee-m-cee kid embedded and nurtured in their hearts,fondly,when remembering one of the happiest and most carefree periods of their lives.
The homestead was never empty of Cee-m-cee’s kids. The babies and toddlers continued to sit at the dining table of the homestead long after the older ones left. They kept Cee-m-cee the Alma Mater, the Nourishing Mother, young at heart with their playful chatter,their repertoire of entertainment,their innocence, their youthful ideals and their eagerness to take on the world.
The kids who went away were homesick and missed Cee-m-cee and D-ida terribly. Some more than others, especially when they interacted with other families outside and compared them to their own family. Many of them kept in touch with each other through emails, Whatsapp and the Facebook on Social media. Wherever possible they made little groups and met as often as they could if they were in the neighbourhood. When they had organised annual events as a retreat,in a idyllic resort, they called it the GOTC, the Gathering of the Clan. These meets were steeped in nostalgia and the music of 100 years on the campus would find its way with veteran and young musicians leading the group as they danced to the gypsy tunes , the lilting bailas of their youth. A must sing at the closing service, was a favourite from the Sunday Vespers at the Homestead Chapel, the haunting 7-fold Amen.
The ones who stayed at home with Cee-m-cee and their grandmother D-ida all the time, looked after them with the utmost care. They tended to all their routine and mundane daily needs conscientiously, very often hard worked, undervalued , unappreciated and perhaps even taken for granted. Some of the Cee-m-cee Kids who stayed at home, took time out, on a sabbatical to travel to far and distant places of learning, to upgrade and rejuvenate.
The kids who went away to work , came back for short visits, usually around the second weekend in August. Those who had the same birthdays came back in batches together.There was a lot of fun and games at the Reunions, when they met at the homestead and reminisced. They even had organized entertainment steeped with Nostalgia-and-Remember-When’s, set to music on stage.
When the kids who went away, came back, they were excited to be back home, bright eyed, bushy tailed and rearing to go. They picked up details that the kids who stayed at home could not see, as they were seeing it all the time and had, with time, adapted to accommodating whatever they saw and were living with it, for a multitude of reasons, both cultural and financial .
Neither kids could be faulted. Circumstances had altered and with it, outlook, perspective and priorities had changed.
The kids who came back to visit their Alma Mater, their nourishing Mother, brought newfangled ideas that they had seen, heard and tried out during their stay away from home. They were eager to implement them at home and herald the global winds of change.
The kids who stayed back at home and kept the home fires burning, while they looked after Cee-m-cee and D-ida sincerely day after day, were a tad sceptical and cynical about the changes suggested, as they, undoubtedly, knew the operational problems better at ground zero. They were not impressed with the fly-by-night advisors who left after stirring the water and ruffling feathers.
The simmering resentment between the kids would have escalated, if their Alma Mater, their nourishing mother Cee-m-cee and their grandmother D-ida had not interfered.
D-ida and Cee-m-cee gathered the kids lovingly around them and with great wisdom and patience, they explained it thus to all the kids, the ones who stayed at home and the ones who went away.
“We know that you love us dearly, as we love you.
We have no differences between any of you.
Each one of you is precious and much loved.
We cannot and will not allow these divides.
It pains us to see you disagreeing with each other.”
“Learn from each other.
Respect each other.
And please live together,
Happily ever after.”
“Remember that the kids who went away, love us no less.
Nor do we belong ONLY to the kids who stayed back”
“We love you ALL and belong to ALL of you.
Even the ones who never EVER came back ”
Disclaimer….Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental,