Never mind. Mayan calendar, Julian’s calender. Dec2012, and another earthlike planet rearing to have crashed here: though after all we’ve gone through recently, anything feels plausible! I did fervently look at sky now and then.
And maybe ‘they’ were right. The world as I knew it has ended. If there’s a day left, perhaps we should consider giving voice to people who wait to be heard; our arms and feet for the thing God birthed us for.
I wonder what your day is like.
Monday seems chilly, overcast here in a city multiplying its Covid count. Deep within is a hearth that whispers ‘All is well’; the trees outside look the same with more birds in them than I ever saw: green winged red heads, who are they? Brown feathered white spotted falcon family bird flying down at squirrel.
I haven’t been able to blog last week, and mayn’t be able to till I finish interviews then manuscript for a book on burns’ survivors- their past tragic, now, stunning amazing, post-reconstructive surgery and counsel by some fantastic humans here in Bangalore, India.
So I will be away a bit; cannot say more here. It is going to be risky traveling in and out of lanes now being triple watched for ‘community – transmuting virus..’ : venturing out is something! I saw people with no smiles because of masks, saw a young man completely drunk on a Hero Honda and he revving that bike like a maniac, eyes and mouth working deliriously.
The worse life gets the more we value its worth. I’m grateful for every bit of sun and work still left to do among a mass of humanity still beautiful.
(Will be @ comments section, so do write in. Apologies for times I’ve taken off there)
I had to haul in 👆above title and a quote below from Frank Bruni (of New York Times) article that stopped me mid-sentence in my random thoughts on the world at large.
“…. in a lovely article that connected acts of kindness during the Spanish flu of 1918 to acts of kindness during the current coronavirus pandemic, Jim Dwyer, The Times’s New York columnist, wrote: “In times to come, when we are all gone, people not yet born will walk in the sunshine of their own days because of what women and men did at this hour to feed the sick, to heal and to comfort.”… for more on this by Frank Bruni, a must read. New York Times.
Was the famous Spanish flu also tailed by Migrant Crises and other havoc; why are we different from other Pandemics? Aren’t we more educated, aware, empowered? Yes and maybe that’s both the problem and the solution. My grandma could not have had the same support I as an Indian woman have today, or the same voice, or capacity to hope. We’ve seen good. We’ve received good. Bad as this century might be, we’ve seen some incredible goodness. The more bitter the pill, the sweeter the poem.
If Society ever had it’s own support system it could count on, its now. Yes we have our baddies but they far underwhelm the rest; though a bullet is a bullet, each bullet or act of dis-service reaps a harvest of righteous indignation. Each act of hate weakens itself. Each strike of violence wakens the conscience of Global communities: we shoot neck out of our rabbit holes like meercats. Look at us, we are more than nations, we are slowly morphing into one dialect: the sounds I’m hearing now are not hate but more brotherhood: the kind that would try raise an Abel back from the dead.
Elsewhere and in my own country, there are people praying for each other like never before. We are afraid but we love like never before. We are speechless at poverty and hunger, at homelessness and at new sins with names you and I mayn’t know how to spell. How little we become in the face of global illness, terminal intolerance. And yet, we are prisoners of hope. We are at our worst and at our best.
Warm sun and monsoon swaying in, last year this day what were we doing? Taking a road trip was easy, I remember even accepting a job at an Art Centre earlier last year, what a ride it’s been.
It is quiet,
have you watched a quiet India? Ever? Streets thick with discipline? People sanitised/masked? You can cross streets, shop anytime without dodging crowds. News of price rises rear its nasty head. News of migrant deaths and tragedies surface: a 20 year old walked near 2000 kms from here to another end of India, no not even a cycle trip like last weeks’ teenager who rode her handicapped father a thousand miles home, (yes, ofcourse now they want her in any team that might Olymp.); he got home to his ailing mother, he was bruised and weary to say the least. Then that evening he gets bitten by a snake, and dies?
There is much good too, an earth full of fantastic people who will never be seen because they choose invisibility. People who call to ask how you’re doing, happy cheerful voices full of contagious joy. This June I’m focusing on being grateful for every nice face or letter or call received. Seriously, grateful. Sad yes, but grateful. It’s a Cure all by itself.
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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.
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.
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.
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,
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?
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:
Just got this beauty (Pl check details below) from my very talented friend Shilpa W., also performing;
if you’re in Bangalore or planning to, do not miss it. (Description*).
My guess is, it’s going to be intense, tight scripted with merciless precision to details that must exclude kiddie viewership, though- it just might involve kiddie victim?
Ofcourse, that is the sickening brute act of abuse: it has zero respect for age, innocence or ‘shame’.
I love the Title, and what this can do to create awareness in a Decade that’s seen #MeToo, and some amount of shame like never before.
Ach. But Shameless makes for gut-wrenching reality that facilitates Change. Change in perspective, awareness, offensive defense….ugh, why does that last one smack of Dark Age suppression?
As I post this, I hear the nag of a chainsaw at another tree outside our home. Hmm.
What does an everyday Citizen do:
kick up fuss & dance, yes, must. Tiring though, and you might either run up against or crash a bull dozer besides! That perhaps is what a 2020 everyday Citizen is counting on.
I’m thinking on parallel lines here, of long-stacked child abuse, and other routes of suppression in homo-sapien existence that might take a whole few bodies of humans to redress.
You got to drag (generational?) skeletons out of closet, ignore stench, rid that closet of access to you forever, reduce it to wood ash: reap from it, having sown seeds of shame-stunning radical change effective from a back date you do not want to remember if you’re a ‘victim’ but,
one could choose to.
(Victim: Sheesh. Another ugh word. Say Survivor, say Winner: a more Advantaged human now, all for the experience that tried to take your teeth).
Shame is probably the most misrepresented word in the history of humanity. Shame is what makes us cover up, hide, fake it, smooth over, wear lipstick over bruise.
Shameless – that is a whole other kind of what we were made to be, in the face of de- humanizing factors, especially that, those.
“Howmany 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.
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;
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, (spoonerismwould 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?
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).
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.
We are really only using 2% or less of our faculties.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
He walked into a Banquet sans suit and necktie, but with ‘loin cloth‘ representing all his brother- farmers back home in India. Oh he talked, wrote, fasted, got thrown out of here and there, was jailed, unjailed, hailed by kings and the rest, fought gently, made salt against Govt orders(Dandi March, pre Indian Independance……), got beaten up, dared kingdoms, befriended and brought together people of all ‘castes’…. how?
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!
I’m not a morning newspaper person, but today’s header> ‘TomTom Traffic Index Special declaring our city Bangalore as with highest traffic congestion, globally…’ <got me gagging!
‘B’luru‘ is (if you’re looking at attached pic), the abbreviation of my renamed city ‘Bengaluru’, the renaming of which made our Traditional Linguists feel better about everyday conversations and other hazards. ‘B’luru‘ though!🙄
About Rush-hour & motor dioxide….are we surprised? No.
The fine print says we could’ve listened to Lennon’s Imagine 4673 times, cooked 7,033 pancakes, baked 11,702 cookies, watched 139 soccer matches & 215 Game of Thrones, completed 49 Jigsaws and planted 244 trees??…all in the 243 extra hours, a regular Commuter might lose just sitting out traffic jams in a year. That’s a loss of ten days annually, check the math, I’m no pundit there.
Still, we were getting used to things the way they were. It made even kidnapping hard to get away with.
Last year in Delhi, I think? A two AM Traffic jam gave Cops pursuing those kidnappers ample time and space to track the vehicle, with Zero advantage to some people trying to escape crime scene. Kidnappee got back home in time for breakfast…😂isn’t that the best??
Too, these days I’m a muchhhh better pillion rider/ car mate within city limits, for all the crawling congestion! Not that much woe about ankles being scraped while on bike, or head on collisions due to Speed, or being raced by auto rickshaw on one side, local bus on the other, …
no one’s going anyplace that fast, not with the ‘jam!
So, this works for me in an odd way,
(ACH, you wouldn’t want to drive over 80 with me in tow). Ask my husband- any speedometer kissing 100 mph, and I need Oxygen.
It must be hard to live with my high -inaudible almost- shriek at something coming at us from the opposite direction, or family of sudden goats a bleat away from front wheel….this happens so easy on NH4 past Golden Amoon resort an hour away from here, those breathe easy wide open routes via village and some amount of pasture land, never mind industrial advances.
So, there’s all that. Why make a noise? Felt good to say some things about all the trees we could’ve planted while waiting …
Bangalore population = 2,327,000
x 244 trees = 3007788000 trees? It is that many trees we could’ve planted while sitting out traffic jam, right? (I google calculated ofcourse..)
Did Tomtom also meanwhile work out all that about Throne games we could’ve watched, and Soccer? I’m no Soccer/ Throne Room enthusiast, but I love my city, it’s traffic lanes crowding with hawkers selling bike mirror & windshield cleaners, key chain, funny faced hand puppets with rolled in red tongues that squawk out at you,
That aside, am wishing for better days on the road,
Some of us should shift to villages, some get helipads, more of us share cabs and go buses, go metro. Tough. Someday sometime we shall overcome. Was that daddy Luther or Gandhiji Bapu? It is Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniv today…
No, Sir Bapu. We best not lose faith in us all…
our spaces and time crowding with kinds of Hawkers, Traffickers! ‘Thrones…’
and oh this ..
where will Transport go with lesser affordable petrol….who can tell?
In honour of today’s post I’m thinking on planting the Lemon seeds I have+ Orange and Desert Flower from Oman. How will they bless anything? Unsure.
Sometimes you just go do what smiles at the moment.
On a different note,
our girls with an impromptu cover👇… 👸is all the ‘Throne” I have space for….
And what good would it do for me to be without your peace? What joy, if only my bones heal, or my fields are freed from fires and my rooms sealed warm with Light and Life eternal, but we care nothing for each other…
at that moment, the massed bands of our three armed services begin slowly to play the penultimate number in the evening’s musical sequence.
Abide With Me has to be among the world’s most moving hymns.
Written by the Scottish Anglican H. Francis Lyte in 1847, it draws its opening words from the Bible, Luke 24:29, “Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” Its last but one verse draws from the Bible again, 1 Corinthians 15:55, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”. But that is only an incidental detail. The verse has grown from out of human loss, deprivation, sorrow. Lyte, it is said, wrote it after visiting a dying friend who , as Lyte sat beside him, kept saying “Abide with me…”.
The song wafts on its tune. Indeed, without that tune, the song would have lain on paper. The melody composed by William Henry Monk in 1861 goes by the name of “Eventide”, meaning, quite simply, evening. And if the song has to be among the world’s most moving hymns, that tune has to be among the world’s most heart-wrenching melodies. I wish the words of this column could reproduce its transporting notes. Readers may wish to reach for them through the Internet.
The words and the tune of “Abide With Me” have, for the last half-a-century, become Beating Retreat’s most memorable passage. As the last note of the hymn subsides, the bells from the Church of the Redemption, nearby, peal in pure pathos. To say not one person moves, not one shuffles in his or her seat would be to exaggerate. To say that not one eye is dry, not one throat unconstricted would be to exaggerate. But that is about as near the truth as there can be. The experience is deeply, profoundly moving.
For it brings to mind after our great Republic Day, where our armed forces have been celebrated, the sacrifice of those bravehearts who have laid down their lives for the country and their kin who have endured the loss so bravely.
New Delhi, January 29.
The year? Any year in the decade starting with 1950 to the one that has just ended.
The winter sun dips behind Raisina Hill. It seems not to want to go, but cannot linger. And as it goes, it swathes the house of India’s President atop that hill with a halo of golden twilight. The North and South Blocks beside it, similarly, turn bronze. These are lights from the sky. Nature’s illuminings, not tawdry emissions from bulbs and tubes held by wires.
Stately camels from the Bikaner Camel Corps of the Border Security Force line the red sandstone ramparts, standing silhouetted along the slopes rockstill. Full-maned horses from the 61st Cavalry stand motionless with their statuesque Sowars…..
Abide with me / fast falls the eventide/The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide/When other helpers fail and comforts flee/Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
The words are clearly Christian, about God. But they are in their core about that source, whatever one may call it, of strength that is needed by those who feel vulnerable, insecure, bereft. It is about wanting to survive loss, outlast bereavement. And to overcome grief. The words are universal, the tune human.
Who does the verse affront ? What does it offend ? Has anyone been, can anything be, hurt by a song that is about the healing of hurt ? And so I want to disbelieve reports that the ministry of defence plans to take this great hymn out of the sequence of music for Beating Retreat, January 29, 2020….
Beating Retreat has been an eclectic event, bringing military and civilian sensibilities together in a unique ceremony. It has traditionally ended with the soul-stirring Saarey Jahan Se Achha Hindostan Hamara. I believe in that line’s assertion. But today, I must invoke the lines from Abide With Me :
…O Thou who changest not, abide with me…”
Gopalkrishna Gandhi is a former administrator, diplomat and governor. The views expressed are personal.