How do I feel the contentment of reaching in this moment-
You stopping to hold my holding of You. You not laughing, not You:
here there is zero derision/ judgment. Here, we receive that Touch that alone can reach a wound. Only You, of the Cross where no pride rules, only You could Hem the Streets of my Hannah,
I begin to shed all need of social acceptance. As I breathe, I understand this isn’t as bad a place as we thought it was. Humiliation can wear a crown of thorns. It can disgrace vanity: its stronghold. Rejection bears wounds you cannot receive in courts of honour. Being hated too: ah this one can teach us one or two lessons in freedom. Freedom from that race for supremacy.
There is a State of man, woman, child: a State that is freed from the clutches of skin-deep power. You lose the craving to be loved; you can still love, perhaps more! There is no bitter. There is forgiveness, there is a certain letting-go of all other hems.
You walk valleys and climb mountains barefoot till the mountain becomes you. You cannot be a plateau anymore. Or you sink sink in waters so deep, the river takes you: here, you cannot be anything else anymore. You understand the power of that very tide that towed you off limiting shores.
Or you walked a desert so long now, its acres speak in a voice you couldn’t have heard any place else. You’re grateful for that, for the way it could run without showers or oasis for as long as it took. If you’ve run to the Hem of His garment you meet these wastelands in the Hem. You hear the voice of the Humiliated, the cast down. There is no other place that holds it all, like here. Here there is zero pride of performance, of amassed wisdom, here, you are freed from the whip of laughing scorn, it cannot tug its hook in you anymore, how I don’t know. Ask The Hem.
I woke up this morning with all that. Like I’d met Ruth and Hannah here in the Tattered edge of This. I asked a few things, He will answer in ways we will understand later. He always gives us what we ask for, or something better. (Anonymous quote)
Cover me with Your garment Lord; spread Your shield o’er an earth keeling. There are things we do not know to see. There are Secrets in these Edges , as invisible as a virus, as potent, virulent. Here I kneel my inner being, grateful for the privilege of feeling a certain ‘lowliness’. How beautiful it is, to come apart and rest in the secret place of This Freedom.
Do check below Poster: is a Live Concert, Vihan D. featuring Originals. You’ll need to be there, 6 pm to 8 pm tonight, April 23rd- Indian time, to know what else goes on. Please do.
Yesterday we put together a video of the Fellowship that has currently just the five of us, at home. It was past lunch time when we finally began: our son on his little keyboard: we had a new song= new lyrics😳;
Kitsy our angel finally sings though! Me I hate cameras, never liked them, but there’s a daughter with lens in this house. Sigh … I love God, will do whatever it takes. Besides it’s been 2 years of intense Love that kept us going. We’ve had family and friends pray over us and that’s no small thing. Gratitude!
Title of this Post is from the Word in Video: …death too is also a state of mind. We rise above the Things that hold us back, dead places of the heart and mind that cause us to die inside.
we are surrounded by physical death and associated shadows, but Life is what we are within and beyond all of that. Which is what makes this celebration more meaningful this time than any. Yes Uncertain Times! The only certainty is that nothing can take away our Peace, no matter what, nothing shatters the bonds broken at the Cross, for Free….
we’re packing in warm greetings from our home and homes associated with Haven friends here in India, to yours:
may you have the Peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, and the Joy that comes from staying with Him.
I do not know that all like such words, but it’s the thing within me and it’s why I write. I wish you ChristJesus, like you did not think possible, in these times, this life, these days. These are those Absolute Essentials we cannot live without. We all may never see each other in this life, but it is my prayer that after all these words here and there, we will oneday truly be family together, eternally.
Images from yesterday’s news refused to leave but this morning a tree full of thumb- sized black birds, white chested (what are they?) they greet with rowdy song… what are they saying?
Last week we saw a family of Peacock. I thought it was a whacky dream….
….glistening blue preening in the few meters between our home and Gulmohar trees….. all lounging around like that? Was too much to take a close pic but brief video below.
Can say with some confidence- we’re all a little more than numb; even beautiful things take time to process. My heads jumbling …..
startled by visuals in a world gasping with disbelief at its single cruel global event. Along with unavoidable casualties, will geographic justice prevail?
Yet these Beauties arrive: random signs of a Normal still here, after centuries of war & peace- while one is still gagging over lakhs of us hurting in ways we shouldn’t.
Last night our son wasn’t too calm: aggression surfaces its head with random punctuality…
this morning he comes to where I am with my empty diary. Joh, 19, used to be the gentlest creature…. but the past 2 years were a dark valley. Now he reaches for my hair, and starts playing… his fingers gentle gentle….I remember an old song Ma and Dad used to sing ….He touched me… it feels selfish to be this Touched, not just in my skin by suddenly gentle-d son, which is a miracle in itself, but deep within raggedy heart, mine;
haunting images of migrant workers scrambling for a way back home to their villages follow me as I turn away from those tiny black birds I’ve not noticed before in trees we never planted… all yelling a song I wish I understood. My thoughts scramble ….
as our Govt. does it’s best, please let everyone stay in, help each other stay in, not go helter -skelter, not arrange a public meet like a very irresponsible group just did in lue capital city endangering an entire nation/earth.
Joh’s fingers now so gentle in my skin, what can I say. Words halt…
He Touched me….
when I was just starting out in life, 25…. newly married, a spinal defect that had been developing suddenly worsened. Spinal cortisone injections (a 2 year nightmare) only helped short term.
One day a stranger prayed for me, and in 24 hours I was totally healed. This isn’t easy to talk about because few would believe but I’ll never forget that fire in my bones and the touch of healing. Who Touched me….?
I never forget that day, and today after our 19 year old touched my heart like that, like an angel…in a time when hands must stay 2 meters away, and distancing is a new kind of love…. yes we are getting Touch- hungry and will look for Soul – Touches more than we guess now.
It is April already, the sky is a startling blue, yes I am startled by life;
am persuaded to believe against all odds that today will be nothing like yesterday, no matter the news. Woke up today feeling numb, but there were these chirpy tiny white chest- black birds outside; how must I stay negative? (As I wrapped this post, we saw Peacock again, this time a lone one…distancing? Kitsy our daughter yelled ‘Penguin!!!!’ How isnt that funny? She was mad at me for laughing that hard).
It’s a strange time, an unusual life: the whole world on the same page. It is harsh and unreal, and yet any little/ large blessing looks/is larger than life.
Outside white cottony clouds go busily away. April feels beautiful in my Indian window: it is getting warm, gold light filling green leaves. I want to cry but the colours are too many. Want to pray but there are no words. Joh’s fingers still gentle in my temples: I treasure, store them away along with little black- musical- yelling birds & other kinder action.
…and had the feeling we’d seen him over and over in places around. Take a look.
A million things go through the mind as Eye receives images of this tiny creature’s liquid bones in the confines of that tube…. playing solitaire, 😃 but more! He’s hoarding……! Think we’re the only ones who think so? Nah its there in comments already, and how I LOVE this Personality..
he’s playing Humans, in the winter of their spirit. He knows the weather forecast, he knows he will get hungry, and he knows the ways of his kindred creature, he is aware of exactly how to stash, scramble, and twirl around in a tight corner. He races time. He does not give up or stop. When he cant take anymore, he adapts! He’s built for duress, is creative and quick no matter the route/ the confines, he stays cute. Notice he is in the presence of a mightier force than himself (the Lab!), does he know? Maybe, but he’s intent on fulfilling basic instinct.
There is a major difference between him and us though, many.
He doesn’t have a human mind, for one.
I’m guessing we can fare better than a Hamster, you think…? 😅
If you’re looking for some music, this also happening @ my home, “Good good Father,” do listen …HERE
by what held us all these years: I’m touched, by the power within us that is greater than fear,
touched by how new leaf and bud appear, relentless of germs & sickness, they pout at my quick disbelief of personal endurance,
Touched, where I am rinsed by storms of cleansing…. I believe you and I and us are more than these days,
dumb founded by my own capacity to be afraid, I’m touched by the power of prayer, gratitude & praise:
This morning it went on and on in my head: the astounding fact, the act of prayer…. its healing ways, no matter how we used to think it didnt work, this morning It touched me, like a Glove, a Mask…. It held us in the secret place of Its hiding, not just me and mine, but you and yours: locked doors, sealed yards, borders, nations, hearts and minds….
May we wash our spirits, with the cleansing power of leaning on the most High. Man is wired to lean, on meds and safety measures: and that’s a sign a good one too…that by ourselves we are not enough. Together with the Leanable-On, we are stronger.
Choose Stronger, dear one, we aren’t alone. There is a Power beyond this,
I was touched by It this morning. Grace, Strength...call it a big word, let’s be touched by the One thing that can save us: The Hands of God that made us and flowers new every morning, I send you these, as Reminders,
Last month I wanted to look closer at this legendary masterpiece of Auguste Rodin’s, and found that it was a Type of Dante’s Poem, gazing at the portals of hell…. am I wrong?
There wasn’t time to dive deeper into that, we’ve all been flung a little further in at a new kind of emo/physical torment with Virus related issues. We’ve never been closer, in this new kind of loneliness, all of us together in a new kind of isolation, we’re like a Shadow of yesterday going into tomorrow, staring at Us all as through a glass, gazing at each other as if we’ve never seen us before, sans all the action. It’s a new kind of day. We’re unafraid of words we used to be afraid of. A friend who never asks for prayer, asked. What are we all thinking as we face another 24 hrs, an extended Lock down, or more news coming in from frontlines, where people are facing way more than emptied food shelves….
I got this ( pl see below Thinking Man). It isnt all gloomy. In fact, in it’s own heart rending way, the following words change me….
Pray for Italy🙏🏻
“From Dr. Julian Urban, a 38 year-old serving in a hospital in Lombardy, Italy:
—LIGHT IN A DOCTOR’S DARKEST NIGHTMARE—
Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine that I would see and experience what has been going on in Italy in our hospital the past three weeks. The nightmare flows, and the river gets bigger and bigger. At first, a few patients came, then dozens, and then hundreds. Now, we are no longer doctors, but sorters who decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, though all these patients paid Italian health taxes throughout their lives.
Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. It was normal because we are doctors. We learned that science excludes the presence of God. I laughed at my parents going to church.
Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor was admitted into the hospital. He was a kind man. He had serious breathing problems. He had a Bible with him and impressed us by how he read it to the dying as he held their hand. We doctors were all tired, discouraged, psychologically and physically finished. When we had time, we listened to him.
We have reached our limits. We can do no more. People are dying every day. We are exhausted. We have two colleagues who have died, and others that have been infected. We realized that we needed to start asking God for help. We do this when we have a few free minutes. When we talk to each other, we cannot believe that, though we were once fierce atheists, we are now daily in search of peace, asking the Lord to help us continue so that we can take care of the sick.
Yesterday, the 75-year-old pastor died. Despite having had over 120 deaths here in 3 weeks, we were destroyed. He had managed, despite his condition and our difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer had hoped to find. The pastor went to the Lord, and soon we will follow him if matters continue like this.
I haven’t been home for 6 days. I don’t know when I ate last. I realize my worthlessness on this earth. I want to use my last breath to help others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow men.
Pls pray for Italy”
And may I add, pray for our neighbours, each other, ourselves. For international wisdom and tact as we go forward.
What started two years ago with a few young people across Bangalore city, today was just Family, oweing to ‘Janata Curfew’: people’s voluntary curfew where every Indian stays indoors all day till 9pm this evening.
So we got together for today: our daughter Vihan who made our Haven call come true with her heart of steel and love for Jesus & every soul ever; our son Johann (I’ve written about him here, he’s recovering so well. Thankyou all for prayers). There’s the one and only NoelJeff without whom this family would be an awkward lot. Our second daughter KitsyRuth, the Bijli(electricity) of us (and Chef!). Then me: still catching my breath from some weird sort of illness- that’s-not-Covid🥴: glad for the grace of God that’s brought us through a strange 365×2 days, hallel! It was worth it all, to watch Family grow this way. Do join every Sunday, Subscribe for Updates, Share with people who might appreciate company, comment so we know you’re there…
Trusting these Vids are understood for the purpose of Sharing God’s Comfort. None of us are Pros., just extremely ordinary -everyday- veggie- chopping- hassled over nitty gritty- kind of people with an extraordinary Father who loves us all no matter what we think of Him, no matter how dark the road might seem. You are not alone.
This one is for the loved ones and those who have succumbed, or might, to Covid & other reasons humans and nations do not always thrive,
& too, for those of us who die a thousand deaths in lives that could be be lived out strong,
those for whom Love loses Its Light with eye dulled for fears they needn’t weep: we are freer than we imagine;
for all of us: Tomorrow is that gift we cannot see yet: we do not walk Its fields of harvest, we do not yet inhale Its aroma of rest, we do not hold It in our fingers, but we believe It too will arrive like yesterday,
we know in the hours before dawn that when we peer thru’ grey satin whispers of sunrise, we will walk into Its rays of hope,
Some said it well... ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning‘; so walk, walk on. Brave Heart, walk on, till tomorrow comes…
I just received from the Netherlands, a poem ‘Written v.appropriately; like to share it with you…’,
forwarded by my dearest friend and cousin sis. We were The Twins when we were little, as in school- little girls. I wore pig tails, she wore a mop. She was fun and gorgeous, a Beauty with brains, she still is. We connect now and then, as she did just now. Thankyou darling person for the Intercontinental hug & verse.
“When we thought we were all powerful and did exactly as we pleased, when we treated the earth with contempt a virus brought us to our knees.
When we prided ourselves on social media with photos of places we roamed a microscopic virus decided to bind our feet and keep us home.
When the whole world seemed divided and no one could see eye to eye We needed a tiny virus to show where our connection lies
We need to wash not just our hands we need to cleanse our thoughts we need to elevate humanity before the virus is fought.”
Also sent in by our dear friend in London, one we haven’t physically met in 20 years but who makes an effort to catch up:
thankyou P.A, for being kind and eternal in this changing world, too for this BBC Video clip with refreshing skies.. clearing in the wake of Covid, even in Wuhan. The best is yet to come!
Yes, it is a good time to connect, even remember we are fragile creatures of a Life that can go faster than It arrives every morning: Its’ breath- the sheer will of God.
Do share anything you might like to, in pics, or a thought, a sketch, photograph, a clip: would love to hear from you in comments or Idialects@gmail.com.
So, no random wheeling around my city. No touching other Humans, Malls, or Theater, stay in!
I’m basically a hermit, but when asked NOT to go out, ah the urge – the urge to watch sunset from anyplace else but here. And where are we these days: an entire globe @home?
My own window fills ~ with papers, books, younger elbows, easel, plants;
I wonder what life is like for you. We learn new words like Social Distancing, we stall some die hard 9-5 habits, dawn walk, handshake, warm hug, oh do not even whisper words mask & sanitizer to me🤧😷🤒.
All across Italy people are turning to music in an effort to beat boredom, socialise and keep their spirits high as the country battles Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus. Video: David Dunne.
In the minutes before six o’clock, Jessica Phelan climbed the stairs to the roof of her building to look out over her Rome neighbourhood. All day on social media, a hashtag had been trending: “sonic flashmob”, spreading the word that something would happen when the clock struck six.
Phelan saw neighbours emerge at balconies and windows, from apartments where they have been living in isolation under government orders to curb Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus, which has been killing more than 200 citizens a day in Italy’s overwhelmed hospitals.
“People started waving to each other, calling ‘ciao, ciao’,” Phelan recalled. “A bunch of people started whacking tamborines, people had maracas. It was just noise at first. But then somebody started singing Bella Ciao.”
The “sonic flashmob” or “flashmob sonoro” began in Rome with the 18-member street music band Fanfaroma …
“We were saying on our chat group, what will we do? How can we play?” said the band’s saxophonist Luciano Belvilacqua. “Then someone said, ‘let’s go out and play on our balconies’.”
“It was madness, it was like New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Similar initiatives flowered spontaneously in other cities. Clips of apartment buildings producing impromptu choirs lit up social media over the weekend.
Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance. At noon on Saturday, one Bologna neighbourhood filled the with sound of applause after a resident broadcast from their window the Evening of Miracles, a song that recalls the town squares filling with people again after the second World War.
Comedian and musician Francesco Cicchella changed the lyrics of the traditional Neapolitian song Luna Rossa, or Red Moon, to tell the tale of the masks, disinfectant, and solitude of life under quarantine.
“Let’s make this go more viral than the virus!”he wrote on Facebook…
“We are trying to make this period of quarantine less sad, a bit more fun,” said Cicchella.
Children can call a telephone number to be told a story. Theatres stream drama. Opera house the Teatro Regio di Torino, founded in 1740, began broadcasting performances of Verdiover YouTube. The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna is publishing videos from artists showing their work….botanic gardens launched virtual tours…..
“The theme is ‘what you see from your window’. Perhaps we have more time to take notice of things, now that we are all shut in our homes,” Sanzo said.
“You need to respond in some way because otherwise people will feel too alone. Going onto the balcony to sing with other people gives you courage,”Belvilacqua, the saxophonist says.
Windows locking in on our lives, and perhaps more than windows..
I’ve read this somewhere: that we each have a Stairwell running from the roots of us to a zone above our present time, our present tense…… routing us to Things we cannot know exist even just moments ahead.
My Ma had a song about that. “There’s a stairway that winds up to heaven, and it takes but a moment to climb. It’s a stairway of prayer and you’ll find it, anywhere you may be, any time.Whenever I pray I climb a Stairway….“
Don’t you wonder what the past few weeks may be preparing us for: how a Season like this one could re-route you, me, all of us through to healthier or otherwise, co-existence in our respective communities?
Who knows how this will all pan out, but let’s please not let one Window stay shut, not miss one Step if we can. Tough call, but we are a Tougher Generation than we dare suspect. Did I just say that?
One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it.”
“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?“
“It has powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.”
Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?”
All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!”
As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: “gimel, zayin, yud”, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” — “This too shall pass.”
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
I found this rather telling story as our city faces total shut down – yours must too? Our international community has never been this undivided in a war against an intrusive force as this Virus. May peace and healing overwhelm every last strain of this thing they call Covid. May life be restored again with new immunity to illness: body, soul, mind. ‘This too shall pass.’
Am I mistaken in saying that it is the same Solomon who wrote the book of Proverbs and this quote: “A merry heart is like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
Another blog post I’d love for you to read: found it truly heart warming,
like the fierce Santur Pills our soft voiced aunt had in thumb-sized steel box: bitter herb that scared whooping cough, sneezes, hiccups…
tiny round terrors that could cure malingering children of tummy ache before school. Ma just whispering, ‘Sant,’ could bring instant relief…
our Santur dear relative lived alone in Mangalore where I was born. Her laughing tiny frame & white cotton sari all in stark contrast to her pill box! I thought of her this morning after a local silence at 8 am; there’s a School next door but today its all shut up. Our apartment kids aren’t at any school either these past few days after a health care warning. Streets are not falling over with wheelie- bikers, dog- walkers, joggers. Where do you go when they ask you not to go out too much?
You watch more movies at home, read, work new recipes, search out cobweb/ stars @ night, monitor each others’ sniffles, text/ do letters, check news…for nice news … like sports, but they’re cancelling tours? We even had breakfast together this morning.
“Don’t touch elevator surfaces,” Rish next door says, “…not staircase railing..”
His wife Jaruna is not as worried, “This will leave like it arrived, suddenly. Summer will burn it up; be happy and it boosts immunity, releases endorphins, kills stress..”
I feel a sneeze begin and run to the safety of our front door. We’ve had a morning of putting away older paintings for few more in theme with the Season.
It is Lent. Some of our friends are on a veg. fast (which for some reason includes fish).
Our Chinese neighbour Pinna had 2 days of “velli ba’ cough y’know,“. Gingko cured the thing. Pinna was born and raised in Kolko’a, “but people are ‘ellified of me. I don’ like go ou’ more much!” she grins, her darling eyes dissolving into wrinkling skin.
While I enjoy local kids not playing cricket in available car parking lot and we drink up lemon- ringed water,
I scour the news for mice cured of Covid, and this photograph shows up in Google search along with an Edvard Munch bio. possibly after yesterday’s Post.
For anyone unfamiliar with long suffering Job and his infamous wife who said, “Curse God and die!”,
this was a good man, so good, it made Satan do a strange bargain with God:
“You put a hedge of protection around Job, won’t he sing happy the whole 24×7, why won’t he be your star disciple?!
So. Hedge & favour withdrawn now, Satan gets God’s consent to try Job by fire, in Epic test of faith.
One by one, Job loses everything: children, wealth, health. His few friends taunt him, as he sits in the market square in proverbial “ashes & sackcloth”, but nothing shakes his trust in a God he calls his Redeemer.
“Oneday I know I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” Job tells his friends who insist there must be hidden sin for him to be sitting in the dust, running sores like that. Is when his wife asks him to curse God and die,…
is when Job does the ultimate antidote to dis- Ease:
He asks God to not let his ‘friends’ perish. This shocks any further Satanic mutation. Sigh. What can succeed like that kind of Immunity against evil: absolute Love. It is death to destructive forces.
A Contagion deadlier than the vilest Pandemic, is my mind mutating with Things opposed to your wellbeing.
Fearless Job believes he will see Goodness in the land of the living, and he does. There follows a time of Restoration in which he takes back all his friends. Check here, for more on the ‘Patience of Job’ if you like.
What’s it got to do with Corona- care: maybe it does have a lot more to do with us than we know.
Maybe Fear invites things we do not know yet, to know:
maybe when faced with mortality, humans get Perspectives right.
Maybe I’m bargaining a bargain with my Maker: that we will ask good lives for each other. That you and I will not walk away from this experience, indifferent.
Maybe it is that time to ask in the open, ask redemption of lost time, lost life, lost peace. Maybe I believe we the human race aren’t as gone as we think we are, maybe we can still be shocked into restoration:
Masi Kuma rang our door bell, 20 minutes before the 2001 earthquake in the neighbouring State of Gujarat rocked our 5 storeyed apartment building in Mumbai, India.
I lugged both our little ones down three flights of stair case, to the one wide-open window over first floor landing.
It was like the deadly thing Uncle Masi had been prophesying all December; was he surprised?
I was. I’d rubbished his forecasts about the Malad Fault running right below our Building he said, and how at any time It could decide to do what Earth faults do.
“We survive by sheer chance, y’know!” He’d muttered 20 minutes before we quaked! Epicentre was miles away in Gujarat, what we had was just .. aftershocks?
I was tired of his imagery… and it was pretty vividly decorated, his whole body swaying from side to side, showing me how we (Mumbai) escaped each quake, and that there were many to come, he muttered, his eyes gleaming with the tragedy already.
When Gujarat was hit, Uncle M. asked me why we were in Mumbai at all. He was leaving with his wife and son, they were going to Australia and he was at least happy about that. “As it is, this city Mumbai is just made-up reclaimed land, oh we are not a proper island made of rock, you know that, nah?”
Mrs. M. his wife sighed.
She loved Mumbai city, she’d lived here all her life: what place was safe on earth, she said in the flat tone of one who now forgot how to hope.
Their kind-faced son Raji, a curious meld of his parents + 24×7 half smile- Raji looked forward to the prospect of a ‘nice Indian girl’ in Australia, I wondered about that…
“Oh and there are other things,” he said.
I didn’t ask, but after all our quakes died down, Aunty Masi told me their son Raji worried about allergens, apparently caused by holes in the Australian sky, that’d affect migrants more than others. Uh?.”What…? ” I asked.
Aunty M. screamed, “Don’t ask! They’ll not stop talking about it.”
I didn’t understand.
They were buying up Anti- histamine, Ayurvedic powders…swallowing vitamins…
why were they migrating then?
It was puzzling. I had my own busyness with two little ones gearing for PreSchool.
On the day they were leaving Uncle Masi came in and sat a few minutes. “Thing is, I know this city will not stand anymore pressures,” he said with hooded eyes.
Oh my. He loved it too. Yes, here in this sprawling maddening reclaimed city called the Gateway of India, he’d met Aunt in college, here they’d got married, had their life …
He nodded. “Beta (child), run while it’s safe. You got your kids and nice husband to think of. Just imagine a city this vast, in any quake, or war. Or epidemic. Specially an epidemic.“
Years have gone by, our Faults all over India show up now and then.
I hope Uncle M. and family survive and thrive where they ran to.
We moved from Mumbai back home to Bangalore City, South of India when there was a job change;
today, we face a new threat, Coronavirus.
For few years here now, I’ve been running from my cousin-in-law, Letti- she’s like Uncle Masi, a Prophet of Doom:
to never be visited if there’s an epidemic, or news of anything that triggers alarm, even rise in price of the onion.
The last time she & I had a terrible meet it was about Chikun-guniya fevers. Letti was at her worst- best. She had the symptoms she said, it was worse than labour pain. I went home and actually got the virus. It ate my thoughts, ran fire down my spine, then turned my cells to batter.
When Dengue hit our city, I refused to answer Letti’s calls. She left messages about Papaya leaf extracts for cure and said to please not hang around in any garden, even our tiny balcony not till 5 pm, these mosquitoes wore black and white pin stripes in their evil legs and to wash every vegetable with soap. Not eat outside, not go anywhere unless you had to.
Then H1N1 (or something else?) arrived; cousin Letti ganged up with a WhatsApp group and I hadn’t the presence of mind to block myself from grouping.
By now Letti & Co. were a force to deal with: they were making powders to drink first thing in the morning, cleansers, even types of prayers that went in a chain link and God forgive you if you ignored that link to seven others. Letti and her group knew if you’d read them, WhatsApp blue ticks gave you away, “why didn’t you respond? Get the powder! Tell your neighbours.“
This was worse than neighbour Tupperware women who made you buy oversized Salwar Kameez you “couldn’t get anyplace else for their rates.”
After that, Letti ached about drought, non-existent rains, farmers, and the rises of prices. I thought life would have worn her out by now, but Coronovirus begins.
This time, I’m worrying,
but Letti isn’t calling like before.
Is she sick? Scared to ask, I worry that her forwards are too spiritual these days, about the end of our times, and how we must not be afraid. Why waste breath worrying….?
We met two days ago, she not wearing any mask like some other friends are, and no familiar odor of sanitizer: her eyes large with peace, no panic.
What’s with you Letti? but I don’t ask.
She spills it.
There was a dream in which she gave away masks.”These masks are my prayers,” Letti whispers, like a Corona- Whisperer.
“It is all in our attitude.Fear, anxiety, these things break down immunity.”
I search her face for negativity but there’s only the aura of well-being. “Eat well, sleep well, wash your hands, forgive all enemies.There’s more death on streets from people not wearing helmets, than people dying from Corona! So. I’m pouring out prayers to rinse the air around. Do it.“
Her spark has more fire than before.
Back home and just in the door, a new neighbor asks if we know a good doctor; I’m scared to ask why, while he chats on about persistent cold and weakness….
I admire this new – free of worry cousin Letti. And sigh, I miss her fanged zeal for disaster management. This new fearless woman makes me feel alone in my quest for remedies: I was hoping she’d have a solution to newspaper headlines everyday. I miss her WA group prayer ammunition and powders. She has too much peace, it is stilling: we’re supposed to be at least a little apprehensive?
(Um. Want to give to give him Letti’s advice but the words aren’t forming yet):
must meet Letti more often, her spirit is catching…