09 September 2010
Talking to my brother this afternoon an interesting thought came up. For the last decade or so, whenever we, meaning my my two sisters, my brother & myself, have spoken to each other over the phone we've always ended conversations with 'love you's! And as a habit now I tell my close friends and family I love them at the end of each telephonic conversation I have with them. And this we owe to Ms Oprah Winfrey!!!! There's so much to thank her for even though I've never met her and may or may not ever meet her.
When the cable revolution began in India back in the 90s, it very quickly became one of our favourite shows. Whilst our friends were following the lives of the Forester family and the ups and downs of life in Santa Barbara, my sisters & I were immersed in the world of the talk show, very specifically in the Oprah show.
There's much to thank her for. Thanks to her shows, I learnt about the real hardships faced by the black American community in America during the post WWII era. I cried along with all the other members in the audience when the first Black American girl to attend regular school was on the show after so many decades. I watched in awe as brave firefighters shared rescue stories. I also learnt some very valuable lessons - there was one about heartbreaking accidents where a woman accidentally ran over her own grandson because she hadn't seen him in the rear view mirror - how could she; he was barely 2 feet high & had rushed out without creating any noise! After that I recall telling everyone to get out of their cars and checking if there was anyone behind as one can't see the entire view from the rear-view mirror!
The stories were always poignant and about the strength, the kindness & beauty of the human spirit. In one of the episodes, she interviewed people who had lost loved ones suddenly and it was saddening to see so many people's greatest regret was that they didn't get to tell their loved one how much they loved them. Oprah spoke about how important it was to let your loved ones know how much you loved them lest this be our last day in this life. It really hit me very hard and I decided right then that I shall do exactly that. Of course this was the most difficult task as I come from a family that is far from expressive about their feelings unless it was a feeling of anger or annoyance or something negative. Besides it was almost a taboo to use the 'i love you' words! Well it took time but now its become part of our family conversations. I recollect the first time my dad said he missed me... I was sad & happy all at the same time. Happy because I got to hear it for the first time form him. The tears wouldn't stop for a long time.
But I mostly want to thank Oprah for introducing loving kindness in our lives. For her we know about struggles of women across the globe and of pioneering women and men who have set out to change the world positively one stitch or one book at a time.
Dedicated to you Oprah, the most inspiring woman I've ever seen & hope to meet someday! I first saw your show when I was 17... I'm 31 now and I still love your shows as much as I did then! Earlier this year I learnt that her show was about to come to an end... I wonder if there ever will be another personality like her for a long time!