Sameer’s Father

Did you ever get an email from someone you knew was no longer living? Well, I did. And I looked again at the From line to make sure my eyes were still working. There it was. Sameer Grover had definitely sent the email.

Sameer was a new friend I met in an extreme editing class. He read his work with a certain joy and just seemed to relish the class and everyone in it. His prose was almost poetry, his style was so soft and delicate. The words slipped over my senses like the silk I brought home from China. I had thought he might spice it up a little. But that was not Sameer’s way.

For our class he brought in sections of his novel, which we diligently critiqued. And the fact that I remember what his writing was is a measure of the impact his pleasant, philosophical words had on me. Sameer didn’t seem very old, maybe 25 or 35, (I don’t know) but his ideas were well thought out and I learned a lot about his religion. It was impossible not to like him.

For our final class lunch, he brought a delicious seaweed dip, and we enjoyed it so much he promised to forward the instructions to us. True to his word, a couple of weeks later the recipe arrived in an email. Finding the exotic ingredients was a story in itself, but I did, and the result was great. Now my pantry always contains sheets of seaweed and I actually know that a vegan mayonnaise exists.

Sameer published one book, at least, before he died. I know because I was one of those he asked to read it. Soon after he died his father sent notices to Sameer’s email contacts, a sad duty, I’m sure, but one I appreciated. Sameer’s father didn’t say what had taken his son, but I replied with kind words I hoped would help.

A year or so later, another email came. Same address, same odd ripple of sadness at seeing it. This time Sameer’s father was announcing a collection of his son’s essays soon to be published. What a wonderful way to keep Sameer’s memory alive.

Sameer taught me about joy, about daring to get his work out there, and about making a fantastic dip with seaweed. His father taught me about keeping the memory of a loved one alive in the best way he could.

So today I encourage you to remember people you’ve met, whose lives have ended. What have you learned from them? How do you remember them now? Do they enter your own writing in some way? Share in a comment, if you will.

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19 thoughts on “Sameer’s Father

  1. Elaine,

    I remember Sameer, his fabulous dip, and his writing–an extension of his philosophical and tender soul.

    I’m so glad you posted about his father’s communiques and Sameer’s latest publication. I hope he knows how much his son was affectionately thought of, and respected.

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  2. Elaine, you asked that we comment about someone who has affected my writing. I have one person especially whose inflence infuses everything I write – my Mother and yours. Mom’s constant correcting of our grammar whether spoken or written, has had an ongoing, positive effect on everything I write; everything I say.
    Two former teachers also had a very beneficial effect on my writing ability, these two being Miss Hossack from grades five and six at Baynes School and then Mrs. Alice Jacques, a venerable high school English teacher for both of us.

    Thanks for sharing this anecdote about Sameer and the letters from his father. Have a great day.

    Brian

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    • Interesting how those early years make such a difference to who we are now, isn’t it? By the way, I didn’t have Mrs. Jacques. The English teacher who had the most influence on me was Mr. Toon, for he was the first one who recognized that I could write. How we love the people who appreciate something about us. And tell us! Thanks for commenting, Brian.

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  3. Hi Elaine,
    Thanks for post. I have so many people who have played a vital role in my being who I am today. One of them is my grandmother on my father side. I had an experience directly after her death that will stay with me forever and it is not only a good feeling but it is an encouragement when I think about it, and it keeps me going.

    Ciao,
    Patricia

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  4. Hi Elaine,

    This is indeed a great post. It is more of an eye opening to the people engrossed in their own world that they forget to acknowledge those people who have played a vital role in their roles. I too have such people in my life. One of them is my maternal uncle (my mom’s brother). His zeal of life, wisdom and words of encouragement are going to my guiding force in my entire life.

    Many Thanks,
    Pooja

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    • How nice, Pooja. Have you written anywhere about your uncle’s effect on your life? some of my most meaningful writing has been just for me, where I’ve remembered my mother and my brothers, who are gone now. That is one of my most enjoyable ways to write. I cry, I laugh, I giggle and I remember them. So good.

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  5. Hi Elaine,

    What a touching memoir for Sameer. One would think we would lose more people as we get older, and I’m sure that will happen again at some point, but most of my losses were when I was young. High school we lost four fellow classmates and two more of them went in college. I kept expecting to go to a funeral every year when I was in my twenties, but I only went to one. And that was for my friend Mark, who died at thirty-two, from complications after his bone marrow transplant. Mark’s transplant had been four years earlier and we had celebrated what we thought was a new lease on life, but turned out to be a slow fight with unpleasant drugs and his own body’s urge to reject. Mark taught me many things, but the main one was to smile through it all, he was upbeat and fun despite everything and if you ever wanted to see an optimist, it was Mark. Even now, many years later, I still feel his enthusiasm and remember his smile. And I think I’ll be remembering him well into my eighties, because when I’m dealing with difficult things it’s Mark’s amazing attitude that comes to mind.

    And I would love to try the seaweed dip recipe. Can you send it to me? Something like that sounds like it was meant to be shared. (I even have seaweed in my pantry, although I’m not sure it’s the right kind.) I’ll think of Sameer and his smiling face when we enjoy it.

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    • Oops! I went looking for the recipe and can’t find it. I’ll put out a call and maybe someone else has it. I think I was in a cleaning mood and tossed out some stuff. You know how that goes.
      What a lovely way to remember Mark. People have no idea what they mean to others. it’s something I think we should be better about mentioning while they’re still around to hear it. Thanks for your excellent comment, Jess!

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  6. What a beautiful posting, Elaine. My memory of Sameer is of a kind, quiet soul on his way to discovering enlightenment. To me, he is a reminder that I need to take time every day to quiet my thoughts and sit in contemplation. God bless.

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  7. Hi Elaine, Thank you for sharing this lovely story. When I get overrun with blogs I’d like to read and my browser becomes swamped I move them to the taskbar as new windows. Needless to say sometimes I close them down without reading them because I just run out of time. ‘Elaine’ has sat on my taskbar since it was blogged, I was just going to bin it unread when something whispered have a look.
    I am so glad I have, thank you for sharing this with everyone and sharing Sameer’s memory.
    My close friend, Giuliano, died tragically before he was 40 and whenever I am finding it hard to cope I think of him and how he would love to be there coping now. Maybe Giuliano whispered in my ear.
    What is Sameer’s book titled.
    Thanks Elaine 😉

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    • Hi Nigel! I just decided to check my spam email box and along with a whole bunch of unmentionables, I found your comment. Not sure why it was spammed, but I rescued it and am here to thank you for commenting. I totally understand your being overrun with posts to read–it’s a real quandary which to add to your feed and which to just bypass. And I, too, sometimes just can’t get it all done and delete without looking. As I look up right now, I have 5 sites on my taskbar that I’m keeping open, just like you.
      As for Sameer’s book title, you can find it by following the link to his webpage in the first paragraph of my post. All best!

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  8. Thanks all. Sameer’s legacy is alive at sameergrover.com. His second book has been published. Hindi translation of his Prince and the Potter has been published as Rajkumar and Kumbhakaar (prince and the clay artist) by Atma Ram and sons in India. His LOVE lecture is also now in Hindi at sameergrover.com. His poems have been narrated and posted as videos on this site.

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  9. I found your beautiful words when I was looking for his website again because I have been thinking about him. Sameer was a good friend of mine at McMaster. In answer to your question, I have written many poems about people I have lost, including Sameer. I think about how wonderful it is Sameer left us these words, especially since many of the other people I lost did not leave things for me to read, watch, listen to etc. They only live in my memories.

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    • Aha, your comment on this post written a few years ago now caused me to come back and think about Sameer again. Thanks so much! You’ve caused another “ripple of sadness” but this time sweeter because of the distillation time brings. All best!

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