Tag: Family

My daughter a grandmother at 20!

Yes, our second daughter. Sits stunned Cross legged in bed, her entire person shocked, electrified; every ten minutes she goes,”Ma, how do I come to terms with this?”

We’re stunned too. Ivory, our daughter’s daughter hadn’t shown. Last week when we met at the gate, her shaggy white ears and tail all waggly with joy, she didn’t show! Though Kitsy says she did. I couldnt tell. Now what… I’m a great grandma??

My daughter and her grand daughter. Life is beautiful.
oh this is K’s daughter a few months ago. A gorgeous stray darling that followed Kitsy and stole our hearts. After a prolonged meeting we named her Ivory Gabriella. That last name for the angel she was, is to our little one who adores all animals. Now she says God heard her prayer cuz she asked Him to let Ivory have puppies! She had 3 this evening. Shaggy headed little 4 legged scamps with wet noses and tremble paws. No way they’re getting in my heart. The last time I melted and we had six fat paws growing by the second all over our sitting room, with neighbours kids taking turns to feed them and pet! Sigh. We are an urban farm. Lockdown very esp has turned my four here into serious birdwatchers, squirrel feeders, cloud watchers, sun set watchers. They also read the news and weather. They eat, pray, venture out a bit, then eat and sleep and encourage the animal kingdom.

***

Borrowing my human daughters words, “I must come to terms with all this!”

While our world battles fresh batches of this and that, life goes on.

What dyou do. You want to growl but cuteness overload here caves my heart in. Thankyou Lord for days that can still delight us in ways we might not ask for, but here they are, new every evening. Bless our earth dearest Father, with health and safety and peace.

Like an angel

To all the mothers that bless our earth

This Video is a Serbian greeting from my beautiful friend Maria Rajicova: “Dear Rayla, I wish on Mothers day: health & happiness. God’s presence be with all of you. You are beautiful. Love you all. Bye.” Maria.

****
Lil poem for my own Momma Grace:

Momma, you kneeling in prayer – I remember you ~ mornings night, noon days of heart and song

Unsplash.
*
**

you in the fabric of our earth & heaven & us three lil girls, you – now a Piece of Thel & Li & me & all the children…

THANKYOU is such two little words but it’s all I have: like the young ones’ sweet stammer wishes, hush- baked cake late last night for Mothers day, I grin out loud; there’s you in me/ us ‘telling songs & wishes in the fabric of an earth you birthed…

you in our hands and feet, in the way we see things;

they’re going to stumble out their rooms now, there’ll be hugs and kisses, I gaze at this like you used to go speechless unsure how to say Thankyou when we said love you – it’s such two little words.

Early morn surprise coco-vanilla
from our terrific 3! They just sent me
this pic

You surprised that even I had three, me saying when I was 18, saying I’d never have kids Haha…

I know I know… there could be no mothers without our fathers and they are there strong in the brick of us, our dads and Sam and Jeff… and their mothers and fathers…and new sisters and brothers…your siblings with your face still here Uncles Sunny & Godfrey, precious aunt Bess miles away who just sent me a message, oh all their children …Ma…family roots spreading wings like angels

speechless now with our new selves ~ mothers all, even Joh our son tucking me into bed? Fixing my hair, his fingers a new tender last night; Vi whispering midnight hug, Kit with secret cuisine shopping list, hearts on their sleeve; and Anu and Sam and Akash across an earth not far at all from the heaven you birth every day anew thru’ all of us

thankyou is such two little words as I stare at them looking like you ….

Love you forever Mum

***

P.S.

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You are your own brand!

This Post is for anyone celebrating their birthday today, (and everyone else) I have this urge to celebrate you, and offer a tiny prayer too from my son who’s incredible gift is prayer. If you’ve been following posts you’ll know he’s not just blind but recovering from a series of disturbing issues, but this isn’t about him;

whichever part of the world you’re in: what a ride this is, and yet we are still the same people we were born as…

Was my birthday couple of days ago: “..no fuss,” I warned them, but there they were @ midnight, cake and candles, hushed whispers: in the morning among mysteriously bought gifts, was a Heart full of blue crystal stars from Kitsy, and Perfume from our eldest, my first name ‘Diella‘ hand- crafted in with scores of words like “Light”. (I got that name in a dream, after a long crazy illness. While I healed, there was a dream: it had my name written on a white stone. Diella means Worshipper);

mid- birthday joy, now there was announcement of national 21 day curfew; our entire street & surrounding areas went quiet, no bustle of traffic or twitter from Myna in trees running between our home and army acres across.

Within our walls, my family had strung out little lights, there was music and the smells of great cooking,

(I have officially surrendered cooking baton to second daughter Kitsy, who is master chef! (On left is how she used to be), now 👇….sigh, they grow so fast.

Kitsy in our last visit out in a park…. why’d that seem so long ago?






D’you sometimes feel guilty to feel happy? You know it’s a mess out here with virus and anxiety attacks, but now and then there’s a celebration,

so here’s the thing: we were going thru’ all our pics, and my Jeff he rounded off everyone’s words with, “Ray, you are … you are… unique….” ….words that make me stare at everyone else now…..

that, there is no one like you either!

No matter the news, nothing changes who you are, your essence is unique, novel! Yes they say ‘novel‘ for all kinds of things, but here we are, citizens and strangers and basic people born to mothers and families and lives that can change in the twinkling of an eye. We been warned of all that, but when it arrives it’s a thief in the night, it’s a touch between life and death…

We got two bone chilling letters from people we love, one from our precious nephew in a hospital in Germany, he’s a doctor; and the other from a very dear friend in the U.S. They wrote loving notes, asking family to pay attention to how deadly this Covid thing is, the pace at which it mutates, its silent stealth. These precious ones lives are at risk because of their professions: I can’t tell you enough what it felt like, to be gazing at/ celebrating life in all its hues: to hug across the miles, and cry tears of love and pain;

to know that we 7 billion are strong and yet we are this vulnerable. We are beloved and fragile, our life is like grass, and yet we are one-of-a- kind- each, Designer made, no matter that our breath can be whisked away; we are phenomenal, a Force to reckon with. The day we were born, people paused or clapped, kissed? …. wept.

We can die, and even that occasion is phenomenal. It causes chaos / maddening grief, because humans as a race cannot be ignored. If one of us is attacked in any unusual ordeal it is News. The entire planet of us under siege is another thing altogether, nothing competes with the vastness of that: the fact that we are under this kind of common indefinable, insurmountable distress is totally New.

If we survive this, and many will, there will be the aftermath of it and it may be unlike anything recorded in the history of mankind: I don’t want to go much there: this one is about birthdays and how it feels to celebrate humans, mid- international crisis; it feels strange and provocative -beautiful and Quiet.

This morning I woke up feeling different, younger and older, like I had more in my 206 bones. It’s an awareness… of what? The immortality of life, or its brevity? I’m staring at books we used to read, it’s like from another life: movies, talks. Some Quotes feel more right than before. Oh, bouquets and birds, they don’t change, they are like paintings and classical music; they have Eternity in them. But our conversation…. it is halved in a new way.

Birthday hugs: they are tighter.

Gazes and strummed guitar, candle lights and the clink of glasses… they say new things. I can’t say what, just new. And old. And somethings we never knew before. We thought we knew it all. Our parents and grandparents taught us how to say Grace and say please, thankyou and sorry. As we grew we thought we understood things a little more than yesterday. It felt sweet, sometimes sour.

Now, I don’t know… and that is a New Thing. It reminds me of how little we all truly know about each other as humans. You are a person with feelings and heart and we must care deeply for each others’ well being, must pray for one another’s lives/ souls…

this is more than birthdays: you can see this Post hovers around that word and how I want to wish you a beautiful life without sounding patronizing, even if it’s not birthday zone. Even if life’s not short and we’ll survive this and other wars.

Our daughter Vi does these Videos and I’d love for you to listen to this one. She’s a lot like me and feels deeply about things;

then our son walks in on her recording (he cannot bear closed doors), but the moment turns around, he prays and brings you right into our room facing palm trees on it’s right, with my large painting in the back drop. It is called DaySpring, and I wish you that Inner Spring of Light and Life.

Vi does her own take on Michael W. Smith’s Agnus Dei; we looked up those words and it means “Emblem: a Lamb bearing the Cross of Christ.”

All sounds so serious. D’you get the feeling life is way more than mortal detail? That there’s more besides thinking on Cures and everyday bread/ rice/ health… that oneday we might all be someplace else besides this planet?

And that we matter incredibly more than we suspect

This is another one I’ve no clue how to wrap. Do have a blessed day.

@raylarn

Family Fellowship for you, wherever you are: this is as simple-y spontaneous as it can get!

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.

Table for …ten?

For FMF Writers. ‘Table”.

Our table seems to expand with every new person. I don’t know how they did it back then, we now are more conservative a Society. (Conservative as in : conserving on personal space/ sharing). We buffet, we carry bag/ take home. We have little side-table, collapsible ones too, with flaps down sides. Yes, but not my husband.

When we went shopping for the last table we bought and still have- by nothing but the sheer grace of God and all His angels specially trained to take care of homes like ours, … well he wanted a six seater glass table. It has a lower layer, frosted glass- but still glass.

I remember the day we bought it, at Powai, Mumbai; our third child was just in, a tiny gorgeous visually challenged cherub, but he would grow, and he would want to climb this thing. But Jeff wouldn’t listen. They’d learn, he said. Train them well, they’ll learn, learn how to take care of good things. How to be careful, not be rowdy around it.

I turned to the Salesman for mercy, but he was helplessly taken by my truly beloved’s passion for glass. “Ma’am, you can let your children sit on this table, even lie down, this is no mere glass, this is Italian …”

It stood on four seemingly- tender steel legs that looked feather light, I wasn’t convinced. But Jeff has these large brown amber eyes that seem to melt when he wants something badly and he wanted that table. Two years down we had to shift cities/states, my heart sank. India is no small country, our furniture went on Inter State highways and heaven & hell know how many bumps. Shashi our neighbor had wanted that table, Jeff wouldn’t hear of it.

When we unpacked and re-assembled it, it looked as good as new.

Ah’m.

The tales this one can tell:

birthday cake cuttings with the kids’ friends falling at it till it swayed 70 degrees one birthday when there was a weak table-leg;

the times we prayed here, chatted, tried a new recipe, made cards, painted nails, made calls, talked into the night, lit candles, salvaged bouquets over a day old, got new lilies, fixed an old vase, lost spoons and found them later elsewhere, made new friends, got new plates and mats, re furnished our white backed chairs (Jeff wanted those white dining chairs too, fabulous as they look ~ fine steel rod backs in red brown wood frame, they are white, and this is not a small family, we love our paints and colors and crayons and tubes of acrylic….

Jeff re-furnished each chair recently, it all looks elegantly loved.

They’ll learn,” he said, also persistently insisting on using our best glassware too. “Why not use it all now, we celebrate every time…”

I’m keeping them for special occasions,” I sulk every Sunday. And every Sunday he takes every plate out, our best ware for the day that’s supposed to be treated sacred.

What if they chip?”

He turns those eyes on me with, “They haven’t yet, if they do…we’ll have to get new ones.”

After all these years, I’m changing. I’m glad for the way this ‘Italian’ glass and white steel thing makes me feel, its glass lower layer with frosted rain drops, and white chairs. From a barely-anointed Clean-Bee, I’m turning into something unspeakable everyday, slowly, inch by inch, am getting addicted to cleaning accessories and mat decor. Nor worrying about it breaking anymore: unsure why.

Oh ok, it’s a She, and She’s still a beauty, a friend,

a family member that reminds us of the fragility of moments, and how quick and sheer life is, transient, yet resilient.

She reminds me to constantly dress up for one another, always treat each day as a cause for celebration. Funny, I never thought of her that way, till writing this. Never gave her a name, but then she’s each of us: breakable, and yet if treated with care, can still stand.

……

This Post prompted by FMF WRITERS: Word: TABLE.

Finding our Edge

…from my article published in SELF DEVELOPMENT Journal, Shri Bishwanath Memorial Education & Welfare Trust Foundation, Mumbai.

How many sides does a coin have?” I ask eight blind kids in their Creativity room. 7 of them are quiet. There is shyness, diffidence, anxiety in the room.

One little girl twists her ribbon to knots. Then there’s Varun (name changed), always in trouble for speaking his mind, for being local ‘Complaint box‘ and ‘Motor mouth’. Young Varun has faced both destitution and comfort: he’s been ‘corrected’ for being unruly and is a tamed little lion today. All of which maybe has made him unselfconscious. His mind is an undefensive scramble of questions. Varu may not be the highest scorer in academics but he’s the curious one.

Now he replies with excitement, “Three sides, no?” Heads, Tails, and the Edge. He rolls the coin across the table to me, of course he knows exactly where I’m sitting, his young face filling with light as if he’d just found the key to the universe.

What is possible when we step out of what we know, see, hear, feel?
….

If I were to blindfold myself, or shut my ears for an hour, would I be able to solve a few problems that have baffled me before? Chances are…. who knows? Yes!

I don’t know how, but our son Joh who was born blind, always finds missing things at home. He says he knows when we last used it, and where we kept it. Keys, wallet, glasses, a book, papers… it is uncanny. He remembers details we cannot easily remember. Is his memory sharper? Perhaps he’s just using all he’s got, and the sense of sight he lacks, propels him to search deeper at muddles and mysteries. He knows the time of day, knows if it’s going to rain…his olfactory senses are high toned, auditory nerves on edge, every hammer and anvil fine tuned.

What does it take for us to respond to a new question from an opposite state of mind? If I’m a logical person, I respond from one side of me. But what if, when I’m startled, shaken, pushed out of comfort zone, I now respond from the Creative side, or vice versa;

Antharagange hills, Kolar, outside Bangalore.

My own childhood began with being left handed. In the chaos at early school where one of my teachers did not understand me, I began writing in reverse, & speaking in reverse, (spoonerism would soon turn out to be a fun diversion in classroom and some moments of boredom).

I’m unsure how and when the transition to ‘fun with being an odd one out’ began but my parents were not conventional people. Some of the places we lived at were dangerous stations, there was travel by tiny boat, deep sea/ river crossings…and yet things seemed to turn into a joyful classroom for me. A kind of Jungle Book lens through which to enter what was given.

I met Fagoo Behera the boatman from Khujang, (names unchanged), he sang to ‘baba crocodiles’ in the Mahanadi River, Ma said. (Baba, for baby). Not to underplay how tense some days were, but when you have a Life you must live, and choose to respond not from underlying Fear/ Anxiety, who knows what you will find?

Sketch: Village dancers.
RN
.

Ma taught craft & music at Stations where Dad worked (Ministry of Lights&Shipping, Govt.of India). We lived in ports from Kanyakumari to Mandvi in Gujarat 200 kms from the India border. There was always a Lighthouse, and the Net was only what a local fishermen used. My first freelance job was with Drama production at Akash Vani, Bangalore, (if you discount our Amateur Theatre, age 5, 6, 7, ..with neighbour kids. We did Shakuntala, desi Cinderella…. on septic tanks and under guava trees, little knowing oneday we’d be drawing from these Treasures).

Lighthouse from childhood days, S.India, sent in by Capt. J.S. recently.

I’ve volunteered at Schools where our blind son was at, and being with these beautiful people reminds me e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y of how we misunderstand some acts/ facts of everyday living: how I interpret the word “Challenged”, what ‘handicap’ implies. Or the word, ‘Special’. Our second daughter once remarked with loud sigh, ” …maybe if I’d had some sort of disability I’d be called Special!” It was a rude awakening for us; and I’m thinking now, perhaps the worst disability is a bored person/ with lack of confidence, or someone who has no foundational strength.

And this:

  1. We are really only using 2% or less of our faculties.
  2. We as a Race are now probably farthest from our creative selves than we’ve ever been. Illness both physical and otherwise, could be changing us into a species of indifferent mammals, or ones controlled by Fear.

A few years ago, Dr.Joseph, a good friend of ours here in Bangalore, invited me to a Conference for Personality Developers. ‘Be yourself’ he said.

Was I nervous? Sure, but not just nervous. I’d grown to be a full time mom by now, and hermit artist with little worry about boardroom protocol. (At home we were getting used to the world of the ‘Disadvantaged‘, with firm jaws and steel too!…)

by 3 pm that day, it was clear my notes weren’t going to work: it had been a morning full of discussion on reasons for Communication breakdown. I would need to change the dialogue here to get through to Tea break without everyone yawning at me.

I look back with a happy shudder:

me in sedate blue sari, waving my kitchen wooden potato masher in version of how early man oh, and woman !- may have communicated before they made polite words.

The room burst with noise and laughter as some immediately traded ‘fight‘ stories;

Soon it was time to ask, “How many sides does a coin have?”

One replied,”Heads, tails, and shadow..”

Impression on palm, if count is held tightly.”

Education and growing up show negatives and positives: the 3rd side is what I have learned from both.”

We asked a blindfolded volunteer to feel & describe a coin as if he’d never touched one before, and he said, “Flip side, flop side oh… and edge!” Just like Varun the Blind kid had put it.

One lady who had been very quiet, now smiled and said she’d not wanted to participate, (what difference would it have made to her regular life?), & how the potato masher here had seemed silly, but that it was funny and reminded her of somethings she’d forgotten…also, how we best change from regular to a little more ‘unusual‘, please?

A theater person in the room said he’d been thinking on similar lines…but did not know how to break ice in a room he wasn’t used to; and how writing Plays made him appreciate the Unexpected.

Four years ago.

Today we live in a modest apartment overlooking army acres of forest: there’s no sparrow, but yesterday we had two peahen, and one visiting Bulbul…..

all from the balcony where Joh and I took baby steps at Homeschooling via NIOS, after his 7th std at Jyothi Seva for the Blind.

I remember hating Braille, crying my heart out, knowing there’s 4.8 million more blind people in India alone, and how little we are geared for Challenges. There would be new ones to face in the next few years, but each only serves to stretchhhhhhh my rigid bones. Life, and you and I, are changing as we speak,

it all shifts faster than we have time to buy another outfit in newer coutre! One thing remains – the Human need for fulfillment, via connectivity with other humans or self.

I grew up with tribals for friends, sometimes a deer, or a lizard that left its tail in my book! There were no Malls, or Google; Life had surprises everyday in its lulls and rogue waves,

Look at this :

Our mind can perform 10 Quadrillion operations/ sec without our even knowing it.

We are heirs of choice, of life sentences. I believe a very sick person with even a little taste of joy will spread that joy like an epidemic.

Imagine the power of a human alone or with another. What a big bazaar of Spheres we must all be: impacting each other in ways we might never know yet, with or without words.

Our son Joh, had a semi- paralyzed friend who could not speak, but when we entered his room, his whole body language changed. Joh could not see him, but they had their own unique exchange that was fascinating to watch: a world of touch, the vibrations of laughter… sighs, the rhythm of one’s pulse displaying emotion…

Definition of Edge:

  • Line or area farthest away from the middle.
  • Intersection of two surfaces.
  • Point at which something is likely to begin.
  • Margin of superiority, advantage.
  • Our single most important skill that makes for ‘Unique‘.

So, WHAT’S MY EDGE?

In my teens, someone told me I smiled too much. By age 23, a BBC retired Staffer who mentored me at Broadcast (Feba Radio), John Fear, he also produced “What they believe”

he said, “Rayla, “he said, “Can you smile now and then? ”

JF’s shock of white hair and piercing blue eyes were daunting, but he was kind. “….though, a little anxiety in the right places, might keep you from harm y’know…..”

He urged me to observe human struggles, victories, tragedies; people in footpaths, and high places…. or in the isolation of misunderstood behaviour.

Decades later I realised I’d developed an almost dangerous fascination for Humans: it made me look at footpaths and invisible people in ways that never left, it began to change our home, it made us gaze at the beauty of all God’s Creation, at Life however mundane or high octane.

Joh & me

After we moved back from Mumbai to Bangalore, our visually challenged son, then 6 years old, would hardly speak, now he was further disoriented with temporary rental house and boxes. One morning right in the middle of a water crisis, as we were filling from one existing tap with borewell supply, the connecting pipe fell away from tap as water filled every place it could get. Our son was stunned, then delighted with all the happy chaos. It was just him and I at that moment, but he took charge, his deft little hands working the pipe back to tap faster than I could. His laughter filled my ears for a long time with the feeling this moment would be remembered forever.

As I write this, there’s an urge to return to subjects I used to hate, retrace some ways of thinking, unlock secrets best known to kids. Or better still, go out to play with them like we did in the age of the unselfconscious, curious innocence.

Did you know : The human eye can distinguish 10 million different colors, ….
Or that your heart beat mimics the music you listen to.
http://www.factslides.com/s-Your-body
….

Who knows what one might find in a guava tree, or how the world looks from a wall, a roof top, a swing? Yes, yes we’d probably need help climbing trees and walls, roof: let’s just say who knows what we will find if we would just stretchhhhhh a little?

@raylarn.

Two figures distant, are our son and eldest daughter. Guy in green Tee & cap, my husband and best friend.
“I lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of me…” his fav quote.

…..

From my article in Self Development Journal, Shri B.Singh, Education/Welfare trust. Mumbai.

Streets around me

Streets around me

This post inspired by Writing/Believing Sight Unseen‘s post about streets, so I said I’d have a go at my own streets around. He said he would look out for it so here goes 😅

I’m still not a Google map person, when people come home here in Bangalore, I tell them we’re the lane opposite the huge Banian tree complete with tap roots and birds yelling in it…. uh

past Bamboo shop man’s enclosure for new buildings coming up.

If they’re on a lane further down I must guide them left of CMR law college but which left, depending on which side they’re facing. If they’re facing my tree, then I’m on their left.

Owwwwgh! Which tree they ask, theres more than one tree here. I realise I don’t know location address. Postal address says Reddy layout. Google says I’m at Chingalingakua…..

but this is a post about streets around me,

I’ll try again. If I go out (forget people coming home for now)

if I turn left of my Banian tree, towards the Flyover, there’s the little uphill lane past Chemist and Bake,

past the Aquarium blue roof place(can’t remember name)

alongside two storeyed apartment where recently a biker still in red helmet, well he ran up those stairs to first floor but forgot his keys still in bike. He looks down, sees me, and with friendly grin, asks if I can get keys off his bike and throw it up at him….. that lane.

Go up that lane 2 minutes and seven or more trees to your left, (with cheeky monkey in them),

you get to the Ayyapa temple Cross, rich with people arriving and leaving off blue and white bus, red bus, auto rickshaw and car and bike. There’s a food stall, a toy shop and a garment store across, not to mention cheerful vegetable vendors in carts, they sell some of the best grapes I’ve ever had, wine coloured ones, they’ll stain your shirt if you’re not careful, that street junction

which breaks into a two way Flyover where I happened to get stranded, waiting for an auto rickshaw with my then 8 year old blind hyperactive son….that Flyover

leads to a larger location called JBnagar, aha we finally have a name!

No Place like Love

We meet Mangula* in a little town outside Bangalore….where exactly is she from? Half Kannada, Telugu, Tamil…she doesn’t know. How many people groups are we in this busy Peninsula India? At least 70, I hear .

I get permission to tell her story, take her picture. Mangula is thrilled, unashamed, why should she be? She’s done nothing wrong, only given good in return for the trouble she’s received. A feisty, 64ish (maybe), you never know, she could be much older or younger:

M. is General dishwasher at the home here where we’ve been these past 10 days;

…is also garden lizard/ squirrel Chaser, Chef, Masseur. (Ahm, snake killer too if the occasion so arises). Will sing along with any song you are singing, in monotonous hum. Origin? Hard to say. Telangana, Kannadiga... she speaks a marinated form of sub languages, but her story is beyond my head. (Retold with permission). Maybe I should just call her Mingu….?

Has two surviving children:

one of whom is her daughter Aasha who died young after a life of abuse from a man outside her community. The runaway marriage ended in him asking Aasha to go to the city looking for a ‘well paying job.’….which was a round of hotels and nightlife that left Aasha with a HIV+ baby girl. Husband now gets himself a new wife, while also occasionally thrashing some pocket money out of mum-in-law Mingu. And I mean thrashing. Ming’s daughter Aasha didn’t live beyond that monsoon when she fell seriously ill….

Mingu tells me this as she carefully pours eucalyptus oil in my shoulder blades last evening; the massage is welcome. She has the fingers of God for achy sinews. Her speech can get coloured with words for the bad men in her life, for her husband who brought home another wife, and Mingu had to leave with her then infant. Recently the old man died and she had to ‘pay her respects’ ... in a 3 day ceremony, with 2 other ex wives. The 3 widows dressed as brides were given a turmeric bath, (wore red glass bangles that were systematically broken), then a river bath in which she near got drowned, following which she caught a lung full of cold….

She pauses mid-eucalyptus massage, I’m feeling so much better for the treatment but cannot understand how she gets through the day…

her silence is heavy, is she crying? M’s skin is like hardened leather, the voice soft with cares. There’s a grand daughter, Simi…..

every month Mingu gets tablets for the girl Simi, from a Centre 30 kms away on a bus that costs her Rs 300/- to and fro. Simi is 16, tall, with dark knowing eyes and a mouth that can spin tales, fight like a cat- you know she’s had it rough. Step mom hates her….

…grand daughter here is a wild one, looks 25. Long story-

last month she got married to an 18 ish year old from nearby village, and he swears to love her to his dying day. His ‘awful Ma who demands a dowry‘ doesn’t know about the Simi’s HIV+ ness. He works in a factory, has a Cycle and ‘Quarters’ to live in.

Ming is pleased at her grand-son-in-laws’ ways. He now has a small house near a local church, with music all day coming in through their window.

It is a treat to listen to the woman, her tears and soft rage, her gratitude to a God she hasn’t seen, and her zest for life.

Last night as we watched Romedy Now.…it went to midnight, Mingu in a head scarf; we hugged/wished each other Happy Valentine’s as families do. Ming grinned with all her white teeth, she hadn’t a clue what/ who Val was/is…..

and I’m a little guilty at being so smug in even saying/ wondering what Ming thought of the word, Love. How could I translate the word ‘Beloved‘ to her; ‘Love’ was, is only what others gave her, give her.

This is another post I’m unsure how to finish, or why I titled it the way I did. Women like this one, they might live a life thick with details they can’t really say, but they have my respect.

….

*Names have been changed.

Pause calmly ….Selah!

Much to un-think here, @ a 3 hour drive from Bangalore city, into tiny growing town.

That cloud sits on thatch? …. its an untouched blue sky with no malls or smog.
At Kuppam’s local market, one or two women are speaking fluent English, their eyes are warm. I meet a beautiful lady at the Railways- she mans a 2ft iron wheel that lifts railway-cross gate. There is no time to take her picture…..
want to wish her a Happy New Year like we wished some others, but Railway lady in blue sari is busy; she turns to give me another look, then surprises us with a wide smile, white teeth and laughing eyes. The woman must be somewhere around 3o, 40? I send a small hand-wave. She waves back, laughing like a school girl.
On our next visit to Kuppam, we simply must get a pic with her.
Good holidays are also those when you’ve no time for a good photograph?
We stay almost a week here.
That lovely Gate is under repair. There were lesser sheep this time at Kuppam: no it’s not a farm for animals, just us humans+ cuddly paws.
My sis sculpts her fav words into woodwork, grills….
She’s an Eye Doc in this town, border to three south Indian states. Li loves the precious simple life here with a faithful househelp and furry princess.
Like Trees planted by Springs of Living waters; there’s backyard Date palm, bougainvillea, guava, papaya, mango, occasional monkey ….
Bonfire woodies. Such memories here with Mom&Dad in this space by Christmas tree, Gulmohar, shoeflower, a baby tamarind tree. Time has flown by ‘like smoke through a key hole…’ (Movie : The Bucket List)
Honey!
Li’s exquisite cuisine
That new double road used to be a rough path to Kupz’s lake. There are more people, cars, school buses, buildings today….
Floors, tiny christmas lights asleep
Meshed safety front grill to keep away esp. mosquitoes. That door lock has seated one or two friendly frog. Very tiny ones. They look like Kermit to us, but Li doesn’t think so. She says(with shudder) they (her leapy frog) wait for her with sly grin.
No, they’re not ..!” is her horror response
to my Q.”What if they just want a kiss, and will turn into your Prince?
Li loves her Prince of Peace best.


The road back…. miles off city limits: goatsherd!
Thresh time! We must gingerly drive over their sheaves, this helps them? (Green lid sohmph my new travel mate from Li’s kitchen).
You can’t see this well enough, but that’s a Church steeple over local temple, rerouting past Kolar gold fields.
Sunset over another gorgeous day; Joh is quiet this past hour. Bangalore city is closer from this long stretch, after brief stop for Lassi.
Back home @Greenview, our feathered granddaughter Tina has two ugly blonde chicks… soon they’ll grow fine feathers. One must wait. And watch.
And did you know Pigeon can be trained to recognize every alphabet?
Tina’s mom is our second daughter Kitsy:) Tina herself was hatched here (also mothered by Kit, so). Complicated!

All this in our little garden which will be busy this season. Phew!
Wishing 2020 Vision for us all.
Peace, Shalom :
nothing missing, nothing broken.
And if there is ‘missing- broken’, may each fit in a whole new way, causing Peace beyond belief.
Selah: meaning, Pause calmly & think of that.

What Child is This?

Today at our little church overlooking gulmohar trees and a blue December sky, the question was asked,“What does Jesus mean to you?”

I don’t like Q&As; we could be judged in these sessions, but this morning here there are people in their teens and twenties and the few of us other gen. humans. They are frank and brilliant,

some say Christ is Love and Light;

to make it even more hard to be real honest, the young preacher asks us to know Jesus sits in the room and that we do this on birthdays don’t we…don’t we say a few words about the birthday person, so… let’s make this a personal Christmas, she says.

I’m getting more uncomfortable. You don’t fake it with the son of God. It’s my turn to say my few words. I speak my heart,

See Jesus used to be my best friend. The kind that puts up with all my nonsense. A Big brother. As I grew older He was the stronger. As I grew tired He was my strength. Now though, He makes me uncomfortable. “

I pause for breath before venting.“These days He is a mirror. Showing me how selfish I am. I see Him in the faces of neighbours, strangers… relatives… I see Him asking me to love them, help them if I had it in my power to.”

This info begins to worry me but it’s from a real place.

My life isn’t just about me. Sure. I know. And I wonder what kind of Person can love like that, to change me from the inside so I get to care about Mrs.Lanley Aru, and her husband who hurts people, and Ghanush, and Miya. And Bobo and Tre. All a bunch of people who should go to a school for behavioural disorders. I can feel His gaze go right thru me. Dont tell me that’s emotional stuff. You dont know me. I couldn’t love like that. I couldn’t care about these peoples eternal lives, why would I want to live with them eternally, please.

What kind of story is this: from cradle to a crude cross:

I’m out of breath.

To be cont’d .

Have a great day,

💌

Healing Rain let It fall, whisper Its Secrets: ‘..it’s too late..’

Another Instageam repost, & not enough time now to crop edges, apologies.

The lyrics of a song done with my lefty guitar (will upload when theres courage to do that:). Words run off me and I can’t think except watch how healing walks in. No evidence, it crawls in a millimeter at a time. Then two steps back. Yes I’m a dreamer but positivity alone has never helped med.side effects, see? And I’m seeing new light in the dark. Seeing hope against odds. Our son is on a new surge of withdrawal, the seizures stopped months ago, but this. As my fam and I watch each other cope, moods swing then settle. We must plan activity to zap his nervous energy. He’s been the sweetest calmest person here these 18 years, so this is hard. Jeff read this out to me just now,”He who dwells in the shelter of the most High will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.

I’m asking, so His Shadow goes where angels ‘d fear to tread, right. His shadow chases hell for us, It treads fire and walks stormy water to get to us, His Shadow would, Who, What else could? This isn’t a blog post for the sake of blogpost. I am grateful for that Shadow that lead me to some extraordinary readings today, rooting me back into security, ignoring my doubts, my fiery disbelief.

It’s too late now to be afraid

Too much Grace in this place,

too much Mercy walked in, kissed me,

New healings, I cant see yet, except thru’

This, glass darkly.

Starlands

Mountains of change, attached valley cliffhanging honeysuckle, dew, dawn whispers, mist – to these I owe my

gratitude:

nothing competes with these things that change me,

these times of sweet surrender,

these times of blessed assurance

You are here,

foretaste of Your life, me an heir of salvation,

Me here not mere existence but weeping starlands… weeping meteors of Joy

Blessed assurance Father God You are mine, ours mine.