Is life a question mark,comma,semicolon,exclamation,puzzle or a full stop? [This snippet is inspired by HariLakheras recent snippet analysing life as Biology,Geography or History] I am now looking at life in a different dimension, inrelation to the incidents in my life] It was 8.00 AM and location Bombay hospital, the year 2004.My second daughter was wheeled into the labour/surgery room.She was carrying quadruplets and for just thirty six weeks against the stipulated forty two weeks.My wife,I and my son in law were waiting in the attendants hall with hearts in our mouths. We could not see each other in the eye.9.35 AM,a sister rushed out of the room carrying a baby to the neonatal room.This continued at 9.36,9.37 and 9.38 AM. with the last one, the weekest, weighing 960 grams.Doctor came out and announced the arrival of three girls and a boy.”The three girls will go to the ward after two days and the boy,the weakest will be in the neonatal till he needs support”.Life started for these children with a question mark,They are sixteen now and OK but for two girls diagnosed with spectrum disorder. Two,of them ,the boy and a girl are appearing for tenth board exam.The other two diagnosed with spectrum disorder[autism] now attend a skill development center ,an NGO started by my daughter in Bombay,learning baking,making paper plates and other jobs[togethersee.org] Their life started with a question mark but my daughter talked to them when they were in her womb that all the five,including herslf should together survive or perish.With such determination I am sure that they will tide over many question marks in their life. Life is uncertain with so many changes taking place.It is uncertainity that makes us earn,save,worry and offer prayers to God.Will I get admission,get a job,get a promotion-the questions haunt us at every stage of life.Planning and persevering takes out the lethality of the question mark.”Be like Mercury,not like glass when unsavoury changes take place,”a sage advised. Life is definitely a comma unless you want to give up. Classic example is that of Amitabh Bachan,who was refused a role because he was too tall.Similarly he got out of the financial mess and resurrected himself as a phoenix by sheer will power,perseverance and of course a little bit of luck. Fortune favours the strong.Have we not come across persons who clear CA in the seventh or eighth attempt but make a stupendous success of their career.”Life is a bunch of commas.A comma can change the interpretation of a sentence-so do we have to look at life as a comma. “Failure is a comma and not a full stop”. Is life a semicolon.Yes and nur wants and desires are increasing.Many are not satisfied with what they have but worry about what they do not have.Wants go on changing at different times.Position,wealth,good family life,heath and peace assume different priortiies at different stages of life.It is said that peace prevails with those who control their wants and not vice versa. Life is not perfect . Tragic instances or happy tidings following one after other in a short span of life indicate a semicolon.Many of us still ruminate on some thing we did years ago and say that given a chance we would do it differently.”Happiness is like a butterfly.Chase it-you will never catch it.Stand still-it may land on your shoulders”. The year 1995.I had a call from FAO of united nations Rome whether I would accept a consultancy role for a project with the Government of Ethiopia,Hiding my excitement I said yes.A month later when I was on the flight to Addis Ababa,it was an exclamation mark in my life as I had never dreamt that some one would spot me and suggestt my name.Later on I realised that my lectures in an international training session in the presence of foreign experts had resulted in this exclamation mark in my life.Recently when Sunder Pichai was elevated as the CEO of Alphabet there was exclamation from all in the entire country.It proved that India is a land of shakers and movers..There are pleasant surprises in our lives and each such surprise is an exclamation mark. The other Eureka moment in my life was when a collection of our snippets in IL was published as a book[ A DANGEROUS PREDICAMENT BY SLN AND MITHILA KANNAN-]We became instant heroes in our family and friends’circles. These are incredible moments cherished for ever in ones life. For this “we have to try to live our life as an exclamation rather than an explanation”´. The biggest puzzle in a mans life is the woman in his life.”To men,,women are endlessly fascinating as they are a puzzle that can never be solved.To a logical creature like the human male,that is an irresistible challenge” My wife never liked my best friend,knowledgeable,articulate and known for refined manners.One day on an impulse she donated an expensive silver lamp to the temple in our complex.There was no explanation. On our twentieth wedding anniversary I had forgotten the occasion.My wife had told my daughters not to remind me.I however felt that some thing was wrong,from the way in which mother and daughters were exchanging glances.Suddenly by evening I remembered the occasion.I called her and told her that it was our wedding anniversary that day.Oh,she replied.I told her” shall we celebrate this in a different way.Let us go the garden ,look at the birds returning home together,hold our hands and gaze at the moon and stars like the good old days?”I thought that she would flare up but surprisingly she laughed heartily and said”don’t try these tricks with me-I prefer cash”. Few days before her demise[she was bed ridden] she dictated a snippet for IL[Mithila Kannan] extolling my role in her life.On the day of her demise she refused to let go of my hand for four hours.When my daughter suggested that she would take over, my wife refused and said “your Appa was and will be the greatest security in my life” So saying,she passed away within an hour.That she was cruelly snatched away from me at the age of sixty four continues to be a puzzle to me even after eight years. That was a full stop on the endearing relationship we enjoyed together for forty two years.