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!
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 Mawho 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.
So my sis sends me pics from her trip and this one travels in where my core is: Koala bear burrowing in shade, in foliage, feeding on what Koala knows best,
I’ve wondered why my Creator structured the universe among this many species, and what the dialogue between us all is besides the incredible facts of circles of life, food chains…
I’m fascinated at how Nature impacts my mood, my choices,
Ah times in childhood (and later), with blue crab and one particular jungle monkey, oh once a scruffy headed baby raven cawing his head off for breakfast. Yep! These have moved me more than earth revolutes can.
I have history with sand dunes, how they’ve moved me (nah, shoved at me), literally and otherwise(haven’t you slid down a dune, ever?)
Then there was Rover our fourlegged Priest of hearts: this canine knew how to talk. Once he said the word, ‘Mom’. I turned around slowly and he winked one amber eye at me.
When Rover left our planet for where Goodly Paws go, ( wasn’t at our home at that time), he visited in a dream where he slipped out of collar, his black black fur shining with silver edges.
Ach. I still ache for his friendship but that dream was an exotic thing. I don’t care what everyone’s saying; dogs do have soul. They growl at unseen spiders snuck in where we can’t see, they have these Frequency-Ears, they see stuff we don’t….onetime at a farmhouse he saw a deadly scorpion through wall… sniffed it out maybe,
I miss him with all my heart especially days like these when the Uncertain sits square in my eye and there are no quick answers for things that will take their course, like the illness of a young child, like setbacks that make friends and some closer ones sweet-talk away basic courtesies.
What Remedy ever exists for Humanity that forgets or ignores another because they are of no advantage; what cure for humans stooped low enough to desecrate the very purpose for which humankind were created? We become liars and connivers, we spread curdled words like butter on waiting bread and we lay it thick. All to draw fences between people: walls, barbed wire, little glass bit in walls. This isn’t news to any of us, but when it hits, it swings low. Especially if you don’t see it coming.
So Koala here snuggling, is my heart burrowing in the shade of Comfort few humans can tender. Maybe my Core is a Koala. I love the word Core: that invisible place deep there that tells me how I am at 3am,4pm,midnight.
One morning last year, I was alone a few hours at home, worrying my teeth out at how our youngest and blind, was to get through life. Eyes shut tight I told God if He cared He best give me a sign,
when I opened my eyes there it was staring me in the face, its black beady eyes twinkling through grey fur:
the squirrel took tiny steps into living room, then turned left into our bedroom. For the next 15 minutes nothing could’ve convinced me this wasn’t a supernatural event. Nothing. The room shone with my same old Indian sun, everything was gold tinted, even my dark thoughts.
Today I didn’t see how we were going to all recover from Joh’s anti-seizure meds* that have caused such a riot in all our lives – side effects of meds.
Is there any Light end of this tunnel? Yes, a few infact! All because dear Sis sent pic of Koala? Does Koala even know they’re in a blog post in another continent, leave alone that they’re cause for lights at end of tunnel?
Maybe that’s why God made all His species. Maybe every single creature was made to bless a certain of the other species, a type of Food chain, a Comfort Chain. What comfort is a mosquito? Maybe it is, to a particular shrub. We will never know somethings in this life, but some mysteries are there for all of us to see.
as I was crouching here over this post, our 18 year old (born blind and recovering from meds* now) Joh gave me a surprise gentle hug.
The past two months there’s been unreal aggression, a certain violence, uncertain days, nights of wondering when and how all this would/ could ever sort. Sure it can, it will, but the human core has a way of sitting down sometimes and not wanting to try getting up.
Today is different.
Something in me wants to unfurl and look up at the sun. There’s a quietened centre within that’s willing to give my own peace a chance. I have the power to make or break that peace,
oh yes it sure passes human understanding, it’s not from within. The only thing I could’ve cooked up today was a temper of tears. There’s kazillion words in my throat but must stop for now,
if you’ve read this far thankyou so much. If not, you’re still part of that Comfort Chain, maybe a bigger part than you know.
There’s keys and stairways, vents and switches- in this heart. Like it or not, there’s a cooking pot and stove, a freezer and corners. There’s levels,floors,ceiling,tile and wash. There are left overs and water; bathwater, sprinklers, showers,bucket,toothbrush,needles, spoons &knife and fork. And cushions and covers. Mats, floor mats, table mats, dinner ware for guests/everyday. There’s a welcome mat and a throwaway. There’s towels and sheets, carpet and garbage. Oh veg peels, bouquets, flower vase. Garden balcony,books,papers,papers,papers,wires,cables, photographs, memoirs,chairs,canvas,easel,cases,boxes, music,chatter,silences,markerpens, erasers,coughs,sighs,laughter,prayer,steps, dreams, vision,hope,faith,dusk,twilight,dawn grey blush bright, noon orange yellow gold sun, rays sifting,shifting in, rising waning moonlit dust/steam, answers,questions,healing,tears,fears, rejection,hearth,peace,
My heart has walls,entry,exit, skylight,dewfell roof,rainharvest water,pulse,rhythm,arteries of Breath:
She goes around the sun, she goes upside down, revolutions rotatary- she can take this, she was made to run with me, no roots,
I’ve not understood how deep the wealth of the human heart, how inscrutable a store