Tag: Life

The Stranger

He wore long curls under a hair band and old fashioned jeans with wide trousers folded in a hem that half sagged as if unsure of the Times. Sunlight fell in his uncombed locks needing a wash but it didn’t matter. It had an educated look about it, casual disgrace. It was the funeral of a dear brother,

we stood around the sunny open air chapel Gate#1, wanting to weep but the sun shone hard. Tall trees above us burned lemon gentle yellow. “It is well with my soul,” we sang. The lyrics fell into us, there’s no other way to say it. Funerals of good people do this to me.

The man with the locks stood like a statue two feet from where I leaned on a pillar. He hadn’t moved; his shoulders crouched with either fatigue or sorrow. He must be a close relative? The chapel steamed with hushed love.

VJ looked like Peace in his casket strung with garlands, wreaths, roses, jasmine bouquet, posies, petals in the floor around – it wasn’t like a mourning, it was a Graduation. A cousin broke down as he paid tribute, a niece, a sister, a classmate, colleagues, more wreaths- they crowded now in the floor like an unruly garden. No one stirred, light shifted.

Two hours had gone by, the man with long curls stood like a rock his arms curled in at the fist. I lost sight of him then saw him again at the burial – he got as close as he could then moved politely away hugging himself, why was I looking at him. Everyone grieved soft. Polite smiles, and gentle farewell. The sky, a stark baby blue covered everything in more Light;

He moved closer to where we stood with VJ’s wife and daughter, then he hugged VJ’s wife with burrowing sobs. The daughter didn’t know who he was, he didn’t fit in with any of the groups here- work teams, relatives, church folk. The sobs mutated, no one else was crying that way. We had cultured tears, in the back of our eyes and throats. VJ was that kind of guy, he wouldn’t have wanted noise, or loud wishes. He was a tree planted by streams of living waters. A tree that bore fruit in quiet neat ways. Not spluttering in the earth, but growing gently.

The stranger caught my eye for a quick moment as he stood back and wiped his tears; his hands were large, sunburnt, like his face with wide cheek bones and thick hair held back in fine wire band. Then he hung back a bit under tall trees swaying in occasional gust of breeze. February felt hot and cool at the same time in the cemetery with hundreds of memoirs of Life by our feet; not a place to discuss things in decibels. You wanted to rest, exhale.

The man wore a red and blackish windcheater over a once white Tee. Not 6 ft tall; wide shouldered, lowered gaze in the walk where others gathered to say things to VJ’s family, ‘visit us,‘ that kind of thing. The man lingered, not looking at anything in particular, then he slow-turned to leave.

Later we heard no one knew him at all. What was he, who? Perhaps…

a person blessed by VJ. Maybe a wanna be musician whom VJ heard out. Maybe he gave him some kind of help, he had that look about him: gratitude and pain.

Or maybe, maybe he was a chronic funeral crasher, identifying best among sadness. He seemed at peace in tears, not awkward in Grief’s ways. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I’ve seen them- some of us humans who fit in between lives of others, and we identify best in pain. Here we can weep out loud and not be misunderstood. Here there is solace, here there are grounds to linger in, in awe at loss. At farewells, at sermons that whisper at the Other Life, at the kind of Love that happens where we stare at that edge of the coffin. We are all one here, here there is no caste, creed, other separations of Humanity. Here we are one at this place where Life gazes at death, how futile even that is- when the spirit has gone ahead. It was apparent- VJ was not there. His absence a presence so loud you wanted to applaud his transition, his earth days done so well, and him now with God whom he worked for all his life.

The stranger’s face followed me home; we talked briefly about him. Then I had a headache and curled up in bed, but had to spill my thoughts here, blog. Perhaps:

between the Living and the Dead is a Race of Humanity belonging to neither (the living nor the dead); the corridors between the Two narrow down to one fine line and there they are- a People that identify best in places like Here, where pain is an acceptable emotion.

Perhaps. Though it is most likely this was a person VJ helped in some significant way, he was so like Christ, gentle steel and hard work, not choosing to be called Reverend; his songs hauntingly beautiful like his smile that said all. A man of few words, almost shy of being heard too much, except of the Christ he loved. Just the kind of man who reached out to strangers with no name…

Now this.

(Few years ago VJ’s wife had been hit by a racing biker, hit bad enough, head injury, fractures. VJ did not breathe one word against him, no law suit, nothing. ‘The brother had something on his mind, surely. Else the accident wouldn’t have happened. I asked the Lord to bless him..” VJ said in our home months after the accident, not one trace of anger in him).

Now I’m thinking what if the stranger was that biker; but my thoughts they do run wild.

Photo Credit : Zach Taiji

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Here Time stands still…

Two minutes to sundown, my roses have bloomed, two tiny strawberry blossoms under honeysuckle all in our garden balcony in the sun going down, I’m staring

Friday five minute writers

staring at Time thats raced, stalled, touched everything, and left this moment untouched by its arms. Am staring at news here and there about Farmers in the streets furious at somethings, staring at a sky gaudy with pink gold as if nothing matters;

as if its all still too beautiful to get ugly. Somewhere in the trees a new bird calls; I cannot distinguish its cry. It has a blue black tail and hat, all the size of my palm. Tomorrow I must paint again after we’ve boxed giveaway clothes to a Place called Liz’s Trust where a single woman with a tiny face and long arms Care takes 50 children in a house with green painted windows and lemon yellow terrace. Its my new beautiful thing: Liz’s Trust. The woman’s voice reminds me of this bird’s, not in its tone but freedom. As if there were no new 70% stronger Covid wave or Avian Flu: or questions searing colonies of humans waiting to dance again like they used to in buses and offices and bazaars.

The sun dips behind a family of palm trees as the sky sulks then dims. The new blue bird twips one last time then back flips into a gorgeous frizzed thorn tree. I’m hungry for some fruit but still can’t stop staring at colors turning slate gray, shining in the aftermath of dusk, in the memory of Light…

it is chilly. January in my city is like that, a foot in summer, but not yet. Leaves are gold, red, brown, confused and happily. I lean in a small breeze; it stammers in the curtain then settles in my shoulder. Before the day ends officially, freeze the moment- hold it close, treasure its gift. It is kind and true like its always been. Its motives are pure- it just needed to meet you, was made for you. Every leaf and piece of color, every sound and scape, made for you and me, but we are distracted by the lives of distractions. We are attracted to these; don’t ask me why. Maybe we’re just staring at some things more than others. Maybe if we chose what to stare at…maybe if we re-grouped priorities, maybe if we got away a bit, to get back to where we began, to Creations’ core, and where we first saw Beauty….maybe then we’d remember how beautiful life is…

He finds God in pages of Scripture & cups of coffee

Michael, Writer of Haikus he collects from moments between days, sent in this Beauty that graphically describes human query. “What’s your Title ?” I asked.

He replied,”Hope in our lament’? Though, ‘A Psalm of Lament‘* , has more advantage in simplicity…”

MICHAEL, U.K. loves Christ and Haikus…

Amazed by God’s faithfulness and grace, especially over long-term mental health problems, he finds God in the pages of Scripture and in cups of coffee. Psalm 139 is his favourite place in the Word.

*A PSALM OF LAMENT

In fire and grief
Orphans are made
Oh Lord, Your tears are in their hearts
For You say “…visit orphans and widows in their troubles
And, Lord, You do.

In isolation and despair
Loneliness is made
Oh Lord, You are so near
For You say “…there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother”
And, Lord, You do.

In chaos and chemicals
Addiction is made
Oh Lord, You liberate
For You say “He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives…”
And, Lord, You do.

In stress and exhaustion
Breakdowns are made
Oh Lord, Your compassion descends
For You say “I will give them rest.”
And, Lord, You do.

In greed and corruption
Injustice is made
Oh Lord, Your Spirit is fierce
For You say “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.”
And, Lord, You do.

But we grieve for the orphan
With tears that feel unceasing

We grieve for the friendless
With such a cry of emptiness

We grieve for the addicted
With such a raging storm within

We grieve for those burned-out in life
With such a totality of weariness

And we grieve for the oppressed
With such a cry of anguish and bewilderment

With all creation we groan for our deliverance
We see no end to this suffering
Before the New Heaven and New Earth
And we wonder ‘do You even care?’
Oh, Lord, You do.

….

Written by Michael, U.K. “It is beautiful what we can learn (the rocks are what you climb on) but no less painful, though the Spirit alleviates.”


Photo Credit Marija R. Prague.

Thankyou Michael for your verse that wrings in Hope. You’ve startled me into staring at the Energy of God freely accessible to human need.

Outskirts Bangalore.

Wishing you a blessed 2021!

Innerdialects.

Oi 2021!

She wants to be loved like every other New Year, and I hesitate to call her good: I hesitate to say a nice word just in case it contrasts with something in the Headlines tomorrow: but then, the Still Small Voice inside me that urged the dusk to light up my holiday yard, It says, “Year of Harvest’, so

Our captures@ Prakruthi Farms,Bangalore.

So here we are, another brand new Baby wailing to be fed, unwrapped, walked…. Um, stuck between a sigh and a smile; Jan 2nd feels like dew in fallen leaves: feels like health sneaking back in my bones, like summer in winter, like new ways to sit, walk, run, stand, be still, hush, God is in His heavens,all’s well. You don’t fake a good feeling. Its too late to fake much anymore. Not this time around, where we step into another 365….., what will it be?

Prakruthi Farms,Bangalore.

I want to wish you the best year you’ve ever ever had, (said that to a friend and she sniffed loudly. Like it couldn’t be. She needed a new house and funds to run it. She needed everything humans need to run secure… but in a minute she grinned on the phone, as if she’d given herself permission to have the kind of year she needed, and I’m giving myself that permit too) –

Choose life!” God always said, in His great Book we tend to blame for all our errors – the Bible. Some of us read old comics,for comfort, or Sudoku or Horoscope and the stars. We just want to heal, when no one’s watching we do just about anything to heal from things we are not healing in.

I’m looking forward to cold days turning warm in the light of days healing. Nice, you say. Um hm. Yes. There never was a better time as this one to be grateful for every miniscule and large detail here on earth. Never been a year where we looked beyond into the non material. Here we missed each other, we fell in love all over again with market places we shuddered at: we missed the way our morning papers fell at our door and the steps of the newsboy spiraling down away out past our gates where the jasmine seller woke up street after street of flower buyers; oh and dogs, they were silent too, like Christmas so quiet you could hear the sheep in old Christmas cards breathe! We gazed at stars and memorized each others faces,even politicians’ (and priests’ we remembered from churches now with locked down altars). We did not worry about lip gloss, we still aren’t, we mask new fears with new words; “..be practical, we must go out. We aren’t hermits,” but now we got used to sanitizing our tomatoes and phones. We are a Changed Race, we cannot go back to most things we did last year today, and I’m betting we are wiser, kinder,slower, sweeter,more giving, less fussy about toenails. We got used to pajamas at 12 noon, we understand Time better. Maybe.

What’s to be afraid of? Aunt Jena wears Psalm 91 like an armor; Minki eats spinach like Popeye and she a carnivorous being, now singing anthems to lemon and ginger brew first thing every morning, ah, inhalation too. And skull rinsing gargling, sounds like burglar alarms. No one’s laughing. We are waiting, for what exactly – is hard to say: for vaccines? For Life as it was? For what it can be, should be? Waiting for Immunities; for ourselves to wake from a nightmare that is still not inactive….

never the less, its a whole new year- the old has gone, the sky never felt this blue, the stars this wide eyed. Go to the country side, meet new people, a farm, a river, trees, choose Life, eat well, rest, pray, read His Word, drink His dew falling like gentle rain at dawn where an old woman named Thayi cooks you a hot pot of Forgotten foods. Ok I’m no promotional Blogger, but this Farm deserves mention for inspiring this Post!

Resolutions ? Yes, a huge one – to appreciate nice people in particular and to be grateful to God for making them! (Wish I’d taken more photographs, but that’s the way it is with a good day- you are not thinking of surface tension. You plunge in a river, you climb a tree, you scrape a knee, you kiss a scowl away! Life arrives differently, you bask in a new flurry of beginnings like a child happy about new socks to school never mind worries about homework).

I’m saying out loud Choose Life, I’m stealing my Maker’s line. He said it first. He knew we’d be making choices, not necessarily nice ones. So He makes years go round and round like a Relay race. This time around I’m not letting one day go by without paying attention to detail. This time around, is there really a choice ….to not choose?

**

Am attaching a👇🏼 must read by 17 yr old Gabriela and she’s good!

https://createbytheword.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/the-crux-of-the-matter/

The Gift of Giving!

I got one of the dearest surprise Christmas presents I’ve ever received: Lil Marijs! – a baby sheep in soft fur, oh the child in me came out to play. Marijs, from a literal far away country, is a gift from a generous hearted person who did not let a deadly viral stop her – am surprised silly how her Lil Marijs makes me unselfconscious dizzy happy.

I’ve always fussed over our childrens’ toys- their soft long ears and tails. Yesterday our second daughter tells me lovingly that I didn’t need to talk to her via Elle her elephant, or insist she puts socks back in via Turta, or make Purple(bear) remind her about her bed covers…I ask her why I’m this way, she says, “Ma, because you’re still a child…”

I loved the way those words settled in my ears; the way they pulled at my opinionated bones to rise and shine. How was I to know that today at 5pm there’d be a delivery of Marijs: a Reminder to regroup my inners.

Marijs‘ cross border Arrival @ a time of teeth chattering International misery is a thing to ponder at. Don’t tell me its just a child’s toy: this things Delivery is of the kingdom of the God of Impossibilities. Here one is Shepherded into a Place reserved for those who dare to be baffled

yeah, stare at how we could stare at where Joy and Peace and Mercy and Purity kiss each other,

touch the impossibly melting softness of human kindness, this quality that did NOT birth off the devil who destroys, accuses, lies,steals,kills…hates.

This quality births off the gentle lowly Manger, where Love came down soft one tender night: a Surprise Visitor that still loves like none I know can….

Marij is a 2020 Reminder of Him and how He moves us to Gift each other this Giving, of everything opposed to evil, of everything born of God, in the humility of a manger,

The Hush of That grabs me by the jaw and asks me to lay off grown up protocol. This is a time to peer through the dark glass and see

That the Giver of Gifts isn’t dead; He has mysterious ways of reviving our real selves no matter the viral forecast.

We are born with the constant hunger for reality; shut your eyes, feel that pulse, it was there when we took our first breath and walk and words. But we gave ourselves permit to retire into Doubt; Faith Hope & Love were for the ladies in the prayer circle who knitted socks for babies of refugees. Not Us. We were grown ups with toothpicks in our brain just in case we bit back into old ways. Faith was for Medieval mystics. Not for the Renaiisanced. We walked the Moon, we fed graves, we became the Machine that fed the beast in us. An earth that cud chewed Itself, ouch. That bunch of words hurts to just write it. Or read it.

Marijs makes me want to stare at the possibility of being free of doubt that all will be well, and that there will be peace on earth,

stare at the act of prayer that began me as a child; I prayed for Dan the tall boy with a hole in his heart, and he went on like Deep, the paraplegic 30 yearold who took me for rides in his chair he drove like a maniac: Dan & Deep had the manners of people who knew who they were and where they were headed, it was to God. These were real people who impacted me much as a child. Dan left me a book of Bible verses he cut from Calenders. Deep gave me a box of Legos I loved and gave to a tiny boy called Deepak – he had a pony fringe and worried eyes but when he smiled he grinned 360 degrees.

All this I revisited after Marijs came home to me a few hours ago from a country across my Northern border and am staring at how the Gift of Giving can provoke, promote Life: the kind that makes us kind in the purest sense.

What am I?

Not even who, but what am I, the boy asked looking at the floor, his eyes flat with nothingness. What had happened here, would stay with him till the end of that day. And when it spilled it was like lava, every word singed our ears. There had been self abuse and total lack of feeling to anyone even himself. He could not trust himself. He believed everything negative ever said against him.

I’d been brought up to a level of humility necessary to be good civilized people, but this beat all civil existence. He would not believe anyone could love him and he stared through my face when I said God loved him. He was not more than 24, and looked old. Old eyes and skin. He’d cut himself, done drugs, done things he felt nothing to reveal. He had died inside. They’d told him he was a waste, a shame. I didnt know how to reach him, but prayed that night.

The next day, he was smiling… it was near dusk and inmates were getting ready to go indoors. Someone had talked him out of his mess. I never knew who it was, but he told me in no uncertain terms that he believed God lives and loved him. I must’ve stared open mouthed at him because he laughed out loud and looked so happy. Only God could have worked that miracle. Twas like he was being held by a super power. I will never forget how that looked. That’s how it looks to be held by a living God. It looked fearless, free and unarguably happy!

And I’m thinking now, what are we, what’ m I, but Beloved of God…

FMF WRITERS,

Between good and evil ….

Between all our rights and crime, we carve an existence. Someone made rules but deep within even a baby knows what is theft, what is hurt, what is cheating. You cant just say you and I can do what we wish, somewhere it hurts someone else. Our choices are dominoes. And like it or not we are responsible for each other. Like it or not, theres a sky and theres gravity. Theres hearts and theres love. Theres peace and theres war. Theres way too much going on in an earth keeling with need for understanding. We are bridges. We are bricks. We are more than just humans. We are givers and takers; we are borrowers and lenders. We hate, we are indifferent, we love. Emotion is unseen, and it’s there. There is right and wrong. Much as we yell about it, deep within we know, we knew it from when we were kindergarten and we took someone’s pencil and hid it; and we know it now too. We know when we hurt a sensibility, we know when we judge amiss, and we know theres evil and good. And if there is, then theres more to what we refuse to … and the chasm between those two is the answer to every question we ever!

FMF WRITERS

Those school girl days …

So I get serial visits from childhood. My mates in ‘tails & school blue. Ashok in red bicycle and forehead lock, his bright eyes lit up with mischief that time he asks Sis M. why they wear veils and wouldn’t she please lift that veil for us once please? Sis M. blushes pink red purple and glares at him through her brows but you know she isn’t angry.

Unsplash

***

Yes we got in a school mates W/A group; we see new pictures of old friends, Yesteryears tiptoe in, loud in my mental ears…

Ranjana the fabulous, first she wore little plaits then her straight black hair grew out like a sheath cut blunt to shoulder. We were 3 ft tall… she sent me little cards strung with felt tipped flowers. Then she started talking and when she did whoa…. it was interschool debate, podium glossy words: I remember thinking she’s the most brilliant girl I’ve ever..! Large dark dreamy eyes that looked beyond our little confines into a wider world waiting out there. She is our class Genius, the life of the party, still is!

Devasmita, my ‘twin’ some said for our similar dark rimmed glasses and hair, but nah. This one’s our class Beauty, and a Sport! We did Sack Race and Badminton together.(“3 leggeds..” she reminds me. What sweet sport! Now they have Fear Factor🤯😅) Deva still has pure marble like skin, laughter rimmed lips, soft brown eyes and wit that needs just few words, with sass mind you. Do not forget we’re the late 70s high schoolers. It was Sholay and ‘Yaadon Ki barath’.. Bobby, Oh Zeenat Aman at her best. Hair worn in side bangs, xxx ear hoops and platform heels simmering under 34″ bell bottomed pants.

Who wore the widest bells? Unsure. The largest starched collars…? It was somethings between Elvis Presley and Amitabh B. The guys wore swag!….oh c’mon ofcourse you did, still do. I’m amazed they’ve not lost the gloss of Pre- Man days. They were Man – Cubs, and they were/ are big brothers.

Were there in- house romances? I’m certain. They were good days, as in Innocence. ‘Dates’ were eyes looking away in corridors and sports field, hehe.

Vimal (Design & more) marries a Beauty with brains, she’s a Doc who also Motor cross country races for heavens sakes, ofcourse he would; Vim so like his Ma. Wide Bambi doe eyes, dark lashed in high cheek-boned face, pure like Gujarati ghee, untouched by materialism. On saturdays, aunty would pack dhoklas in a tiered stainless steel tiffin carrier. Haven’t you had dhoklas? Then you must. Vimal sent us pictures wherever he went in the world… pics in garden chair or mountain rides.. he remembered birthdays, yelled when you forgot, he kept your scribbles and holiday letters (mine were filled with fish tales he grumbled) threatening to use them when we became an MF Hussain, haha.

Hey my classmates are beautiful people inside out. Joyati, our very own Bong-babe soft haired long plaits to the waist, voice like a song. You never heard her yell, her shirt always white, like her socks ‘ neath blue pinafore. Glad they did not give us ties;

this was 10 kms from Coastal Odisha, humid monsoons and summers ripe with mango, oh Lassi thickened with coconut gratings, and cashew if you were fortunate. I loved the rain, especially when it fell in the Grotto in Momma Mary’s smiling face like she were doing tears of joy. Ay they were days of serious fun, and some.

Exams were the monster. For me it was Hindi, and Math. The details are deadly. I felt hounded by heaven and hell; my mates were brilliant. I gawked at their intellect, their knowledge of laws and physic, of mercury and Algae, trigonometric squigglies and theories. Who was I, why ? I wondered, but not these Mates mine they laughed at impossibilities. Vimal was it, or Bhabani…. hummed like a bee/ dropped book piles in the floor?? Oh Bhabani: school Princy actually liked sparring with him. Sis Rosalie, she had this little Maddona smile that said much when Bhabani would not tuck shirt in, he’d grin back. They did these silent half-smile matches where I suspect they let each other win. I’ve never seen anything like that since. They were 2 Gladiators, well matched… never mind the decades between them. One was a curly haired tall teenager who could not cut his hair up above ears please, simply because he couldnot, he said. Then the thing about his footwear. It hurt him, he said. He tried once or twice. It was something with his feet. Not possible to wear shoes… did he succumb finally to Sis. R? No? Yes? I cannot remember. But the memoirs of those convos curl with humor.

Here were a generation without Google, WA, & Asphalt gamers. The Net was what fishermen brought home, and Apple was still just a fruit. Phones were black creations on a side table, you went to it. You “rang” it, then you “hung up”. How you hung up determined your mental state. There were no Emojis, just physical stickers you sewed on your jean knees, or stuck on books, on bikes. Books were everything, libraries ruled. I mean ruled. ( And you didn’t know to say Rock for Compliment) …

Oh Encyclopedia sat there like emperors and their wives & children, decked in gold edged flat greens and blues. Readers Digest stared at you, vying for your eyes along with Panchatantra and Cabulliwallah. Enid Blyton though! Some of us ate her pages feeding our soul with Adventure that had nothing to do with Bungee jumping. Horror was stories we retold in verandas, some moonlit nights. Sis Rosalie did our literature …. ” ancient Mariners’ seas .. a ghostly galleon…” she knew how to whisper, how to lift her chin like a hymn being sung, then she’d stand all regal with one foot nestling in her other foot; one wrist on hip, waiting for us to shhhhlisten as we met Wordsworth, Chesterton & RK Narayan….

Surprised at the recall here. I haven’t thought of her Coleridge albatross in decades! But I’m stoked, bro as our kids say.

Nah and we didn’t stoop to auto correct, hey what was a Comp? Lap tops were exactly that. Tops of laps. Here we hid lil notes,

Paper slips that horrific day .. when we didn’t know the name of an Island. But Bhabani. He knew. Ofcourse, he was Guru General Cool. Did he wear a lil ring on little finger? Unsure. But he knew name of that Island; how he spelled it was his own. None of us recognized the name though Ms. Shameem did. She hid face in her white dupatta wrapped around one arm: “You people…” she shut her eyes carefully inside pale pink coral glasses, knowing we had all carefully copied out Bhab’s version of ‘Sacremento‘. Then she slow- swung in my direction and said in sorrow, “You too?”

2 things here. I was official Church Mouse, as decreed by Class officials, not just because I was quiet and shy but too, my existence represented the church in all its forms- my mom was Mrs.David the gentle woman with guitar and songs of Jesus- I had sinned. We had also done Ceaser’s famous Et Tu Brutei… I felt like a murderer of trust. Uh.

Net pic.

We had seen worse days. The time we wrote in the walls of our class with raw mango: were we angry about something? Sure there was rage to follow: Sis Ro. standing there in the grounds by St.Vincent in marble looking down on us as we stood socially distanced from each others elbows, oh spread out for Primary and Pre- primaries to see and know. The eastern Indian sun never fell so harsh and long, food in our lunch boxes curled with waiting… other teachers tut-tutted, we examined our shoe’s buckle and lace, our socks and knees, we pondered on the sand. I forget if we had to clean up classroom before or after this Runway show, but we did. Aye, ‘Ratilal (our tall aristocrat) refused to partner with his broom’, someone reminded us this morning. It should’ve been a great video, but those days ‘viral’ was only a flu’ and ‘U tubes’ lived in Chemistry labs; though now we have memos in our chips inside,

dearest Lord God, souvenirs of such days You made…

You made Shailaja and how come she doesn’t change one tiny bit, her head held high on a neck that’s still slender like the rest of her: a Princess still with that same peace about her, as if all the changes around do not matter. Patsy, she has that quality too, she… our nightingale and abs.charmer, now a teacher herself …. we were “Little Women” together,

with Sis.Margaret scowling at the gorgeous Alpana Watwe for not liking her green and red costume. “And hasn’t God made red flowers with green leaf?!” Sis M. rallied. (Alpana flushed: didn’t she know she’d look great even if they gave her a sack to wear?!) I worried about my ‘necklace’. It was a pale pink large pearly thing I got from where I’ve no recall. My role was Hannah the maid, in this great black velvet dress from costume wardrobe; it reeked of mothballs and damp wood… now I thought it needed my pearls. Sis M’s ferocious black eyes went through my skull then she burst into laughter; she nodded at my odd pearls.

I still wear it inside, a Reminder that we are what grew us. Teachers like Ms Brenda D’Coutho too, not just fairytale pretty but respectful. I wasn’t a star student, but no one laughed. If they did, it was friendly fire. It built. It did not break your back. We learned the simple things. Oh Sujata, our Ms. Joy. Today she is a Wizard in a Tech world, the first time we saw her she was in little red ribbons. Today I saw a pic of her in stylish grey crop and sweater looking like a Desi Hollywood Halle Berry, just wow .. she’s designed Helicopters?!

Here we are decades later. Yesterday Ashok Lohia actually now a grown up and ace Businessman thanked me for helping him draw his bio practical book cockroach, and I teared up thinking how the core of us never changed.

Shailaja : “Change is inevitable but
all look good. And there is that special something about everyone which hasn’t changed. 💕

Ranjana: “Yes that something special…that only an old friend can tell!”

I could say some more but the words want to stare at each other and just say thankyou. Thankyou my mates, for still being there.

Stay precious, stay blest.

RaylaRN

P.S.

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Rage

It is there in the seams of us

in the hinge of my shadow sitting, of

lashed eye in naked street,

‘tween closed border & shut teeth,

..of all the ill we may conceive,

this might be the final viral of this age,

soul Rage.

***

@raylarn

FromWhat to do when you’re in a rage and ready to explode,.Pic V. Amano. Unsplash.

Stay precious, stay blest.

Intoxicating loneliness

Your ways are Mystery and Wonder. I stand as a miracle myself, we are all miracles in this hour- little footprints of You, in a desert of oceans of nothings: here we are…on the threshold of an intoxicating loneliness.

Trees outside one of our windows

Every move of leaf, bird, human voice, a kiss from the heaven we seek.

You are more suddenly more audible, more watchful in Your distance. We are weaning from other mothers, we are closest to the stars.

You are like the silence of the sun, the wind I cannot see, fire I cannot touch. Against my will, I glow in the glow of This.

No, not inside!

My daughter took this pic of me the day before her 25th bday Oct2019. Now its all changed so fast. Did you even know we’d miss our little easy trips in a time when there were no ‘untouchable surfaces’?

We grew from ponytails and little shirts to grown up wear & tear. We learned to rise when we stumbled; learned to be patient with new fatigue. We got new ways of doing old things. We matured, we regressed, we sat down and broke a little then mended. Hey. I’m not giving all that away.

God and life taught us how to take pressure, ride it like a bike to the beach somedays! Now I must sanitise my trips every which way one can and cannot imagine, fine. But I’m not adjusting my inner balance, I’m not going to make any ‘Covid’ feel it owns me, in any grip of fear. Not going to let my home believe for one moment we are victims, though we must be careful of a whole new array of things. We will not court dragons and dance with demons, but we will not forget we walk among angels.

I am not about to go from being a child of God into a frightened bear: a sore one with claws that gnaw my insides, hehe no. I will remember the ways in which I’ve grown and outgrown childish thought processes: oh no, there’s no monster under our bed. There may be a physical threat, but not anything that dare touch our spirit.

So we cannot go out as much but we can go in and remember everything else.

Everything else better not be forgotten for the sake of a sick virus. Nope. I like to think of the Human Self as a person totally under the control of One who brought you & me this far. That’s all I’m thinking on. It frees my mind. It reminds me of when I first learnt to bike.

We were in Gujarat, western India. Dad told me he was behind me….. he wasn’t. I was so sure he was there, I went on ahead. Was a few minutes before I realised he wasn’t holding on. He was there a few meters away, but I was on my own. It did not matter though, I still felt he was holding on. There was no new aloneness. He was right there.

I feel that now, the heavenly Father who brought us this far, mayn’t be visible but He is there. The ride ahead may have its bumps, but we got this life, this bike: we got our lessons, we can’t lose it now, we cannot forget….

FOR YOU MY GOD, HAVE GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF POWER LOVE AND DISCIPLINE, NOT FEAR AND TIMIDITY…!”(quote,Bible)

Do join us for SUNDAY Family Fellowship here

@raylarn

Last night we watched this little guy…

…and had the feeling we’d seen him over and over in places around. Take a look.

A million things go through the mind as Eye receives images of this tiny creature’s liquid bones in the confines of that tube…. playing solitaire, 😃 but more! He’s hoarding……! Think we’re the only ones who think so? Nah its there in comments already, and how I LOVE this Personality..

he’s playing Humans, in the winter of their spirit. He knows the weather forecast, he knows he will get hungry, and he knows the ways of his kindred creature, he is aware of exactly how to stash, scramble, and twirl around in a tight corner. He races time. He does not give up or stop. When he cant take anymore, he adapts! He’s built for duress, is creative and quick no matter the route/ the confines, he stays cute. Notice he is in the presence of a mightier force than himself (the Lab!), does he know? Maybe, but he’s intent on fulfilling basic instinct.

There is a major difference between him and us though, many.

He doesn’t have a human mind, for one.

I’m guessing we can fare better than a Hamster, you think…? 😅

***

If you’re looking for some music, this also happening @ my home, “Good good Father,” do listen …HERE

Isolation Angels.

I can’t thank life enough for Fellow Angel Bloggers who’s incredible posts keep me believing that this is still the world we knew before ‘Rona virals!! Purple Ray’s Isolation Angel’, + verse here simply had to be shared for its sweet sheer brilliant reminder that we are never alone. Thank you!

In the midst of your life:
the daily of it,
the ordinary of it,
the noontime and night of it,
let there be moments
that open to you
the hallowed and the holy of it….
and may there be an angel!

👆Courtesy Purple Ray’s Blog
***

too Dave of Phoblography below: Lens Genie whose work is as emotive as generous.

ISOLATION
https://thephoblography.blog/
***

Dave’s photography travels around the UK in places I may never physically see, nor do they reflect my Indian life. Though right now, they mirror our times. We are in transit, we tiptoe past each others’ posts and find our shadows in each others’ stunning walls.

Some time this morning between fixing breakfast and wondering whether we must think of one meal/ day soon, if we can still find veggies, and if we still aren’t carriers/ consumers of this ugh viral, after which thought I took to blog surfing and came across Harris’ Quote (pl see below), all this after searching for ‘Corridor‘ quotes. Well, I’m all startled now, thinking on how humans ‘make up their minds‘;

the Globe stares with new eyes at empty toilet paper shelves in one nation; emptied street Fruit Vendor’s cart in another nation:

Writer of Hannibal, Silence of the Lambs.

as we all try to sit down and not think too much on Corona whatever. Morbid! And yet it’s not far away. It’s easily next door. It mayn’t happen to us, it might die away tomorrow, and yet death is not new news on the block. It’s been there since we all began and it’s no Respecter of physical status.

Harris says, ‘...we are not a culture that’s reflective. We do not raise our eyes to the hills…’

ah’m. Any help in a crisis, is welcome. Any comfort, anything that can take our minds off Covid spike charts, is welcome. If it is Singing hills, and Archangels declaring Peace on earth, I’m telling you Hannibal himself would tear his nails out in a hurry to get to nearest angel, now.

We’ve possibly never longed for our old normal like we do now. We’ d look to hills, any which way….lift our eyes, our reflective/ non reflective brows, we might stare at linoleum, at blatting television, but we are Reflective like never before.

And we aren’t willing to live in Transit lounge forever.

We’ve grown impatience from fore fathers who grew wings in their ears from just trying not be impatient. We as the human race can philosophize over Sanitisers without any of the rest of us objecting.

We call Death the Reaper, and Life…no bed of rose. Everything has a name: we are the Giver of Name and Emotion, & We are that IceAge -prehistoric (Squirrel?) just within reach of Its nice nut.

Yes, we stare at blatting Televisions, and want to lift our minds, ears, eyes, nose, heart, hands to that one thing that can be Touched…. Love, eternal, deathless.

As I wrap this, my Jeff makes us a warm drink. Our younger two are in bed. Subtle birthday lights from 3 days ago are still on. Out there it’s a Life glowering at statistics, facts & facilities, but here’s the thing. Death existed before Corona. And death is too quick an exit for our spiritual existence as a race that can think holes through the linoleum of the basement of hell. We are too blest, too endowed; too much trouble has been taken in just growing us all up to where we are today. We climbed Jack’s bean sprout, we killed our Goliaths, we cannot return to kindergarten shoes and cages…

Isolation‘ makes me gaze at all our reflections like never before. We do not like everything we all see, but we are learning to learn that there’s more to Us than all this, there’s more than survival and social distance.

When my Ma left this earth I was by her side and felt her pulse slip away, felt her presence next to me. I couldn’t even grieve in proper outrage for her, it was like she were standing right there but in another sphere. What oh death is your sting? Where your victory, if you cannot take my soul? We are soul, else we are in fantastic corridors between places we just happened to be at? We are each other’s angels at a time like this, and need the Gift of Life to never ever stop, no matter the way our heart shelves at the enormity of loss the coming months may harvest, I’m pledging my faith in a God who reaches for us in His own way, when we lift our eyes to the hills. …

At a very young age I was introduced to patterns of prayer, but it was later that God startled me in the weirdest places: places of disbelief and difficulty, sickness and doubt. Maybe if I’d never had that opportunity to meet my Creator, this Post would never have happened.

I’ve attached here a link to our 25 year old’s 21 day Reflection on the Person of God, not as a Genie giver of gifts, but as one who can be talked to unconditionally, if we would take a moment to listen to the Divine, quoting Purple Rays:

In the midst of your life:
the daily of it,
the ordinary of it,
the noontime and night of it,
let there be moments
that open to you
the hallowed and the holy of it….
and may there be an angel!

Stay precious, blest.

@raylarn

Today is a Gift only you can unwrap

..a designer Key to unlock gates of iron:

Today is that Gift we asked for: tiny seconds tripping together, they warned last night of Dawn, and here we are, 24 hours closer to answers we task for;

Today is a Gift of colours we mayn’t notice in sill and (coffee?) swirls, in each others’ eyes, or our miles of sometimes hesitant smiles;

Today is a Gift which will never return: as we read this, Its arms tick tiny songs in ears tuned to fears, but now and then, we are turned anew by each others’ joy…if we would..

Today is a Gift, a Prophecy of Life in the bones of soul; how quick we can keep Its peace… like beautiful Feet, running to ourselves/ to each other yelling the good news, that we are beloved of the Father;

Today is a Gift, only you & I know to courier, to our depths or anothers’: gifts of mercy and forgiveness, the holding of a sister/brother/nation in prayer;

Today is a Gift, only you and I and we can unwrap- tremble with excitement, with relief, with hope and patience! I can die down in the horrific power of belief that healing is dead, but I believe-

I believe that you and I are Pulse and Breath in these streets and doors and walls we built: and today we must Lock-down the dark and wait for eyes anew: then see what Gifts we can give even ourselves, that cannot be bought or broken:

Gifts- stubborn confident that we are still here for a reason: we are Survivor-Mutants -of-health ay, wealth of True Love, e’en in the presence of the absence of evil:

and these Gifts of the Day, running tripping Happy Feet of the Good news of God’s Unshakeable Kingdom of Peace:

They are Life, more than we know, more than we know..

***

@raylarn

I take my fear and sit on it or kneel it to hell and pray!

Last month I wanted to look closer at this legendary masterpiece of Auguste Rodin’s, and found that it was a Type of Dante’s Poem, gazing at the portals of hell…. am I wrong?

There wasn’t time to dive deeper into that, we’ve all been flung a little further in at a new kind of emo/physical torment with Virus related issues. We’ve never been closer, in this new kind of loneliness, all of us together in a new kind of isolation, we’re like a Shadow of yesterday going into tomorrow, staring at Us all as through a glass, gazing at each other as if we’ve never seen us before, sans all the action. It’s a new kind of day. We’re unafraid of words we used to be afraid of. A friend who never asks for prayer, asked. What are we all thinking as we face another 24 hrs, an extended Lock down, or more news coming in from frontlines, where people are facing way more than emptied food shelves….

I got this ( pl see below Thinking Man). It isnt all gloomy. In fact, in it’s own heart rending way, the following words change me….

Thinking man, Musee Rodin.

Pray for Italy🙏🏻

From Dr. Julian Urban, a 38 year-old serving in a hospital in Lombardy, Italy:

—LIGHT IN A DOCTOR’S DARKEST NIGHTMARE—

Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine that I would see and experience what has been going on in Italy in our hospital the past three weeks. The nightmare flows, and the river gets bigger and bigger. At first, a few patients came, then dozens, and then hundreds. Now, we are no longer doctors, but sorters who decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, though all these patients paid Italian health taxes throughout their lives.

Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. It was normal because we are doctors. We learned that science excludes the presence of God. I laughed at my parents going to church.

Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor was admitted into the hospital. He was a kind man. He had serious breathing problems. He had a Bible with him and impressed us by how he read it to the dying as he held their hand. We doctors were all tired, discouraged, psychologically and physically finished. When we had time, we listened to him.

We have reached our limits. We can do no more. People are dying every day. We are exhausted. We have two colleagues who have died, and others that have been infected. We realized that we needed to start asking God for help. We do this when we have a few free minutes. When we talk to each other, we cannot believe that, though we were once fierce atheists, we are now daily in search of peace, asking the Lord to help us continue so that we can take care of the sick.

Yesterday, the 75-year-old pastor died. Despite having had over 120 deaths here in 3 weeks, we were destroyed. He had managed, despite his condition and our difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer had hoped to find. The pastor went to the Lord, and soon we will follow him if matters continue like this.

I haven’t been home for 6 days. I don’t know when I ate last. I realize my worthlessness on this earth. I want to use my last breath to help others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow men.

Pls pray for Italy

****

And may I add, pray for our neighbours, each other, ourselves. For international wisdom and tact as we go forward.

Pray with peace.

Walk Tall into Tomorrow

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 simply must add here, my friend Alastair Duncan’s extraordinary Sunrise.

STILL WALKS.

Sunrise in Carmarthenshire, South Wales’s bird & sheep… a horse towards Troserch/ footbridge/ river wild flowers, footsteps; head towards a kissing gate into the open…
Alastair Duncan
Thankyou for this beauty of a share.

….

@raylarn

Related Post:

A walk in the neighbourhood
Bruce Stambaugh.com

Stranger than fiction

Thankyou Rochellewisoff @ Friday Fictioneers for this inspiring space every week.

Photo Prompt @Ceayr

IS LIFE STRANGER THAN FICTION:

Friday Fictioneers @Ceayr

It is reverse in my dream: earth fills the tap,

that bench holding shadows? Nah, shadows hold all; the sky is floor,

the earth her roof.

When I awake, I am in my skin, no longer outside,

Is it tiring? No,

it is very tiring:

keeping up with what I see,

and what I do not, in reality.

….

To read more of 100 words on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Corona-Whisperer

We need a Corona- Whisperer, and we need one now:

Net pic.
Whisperer:
One who tames
animals by talking
to them in
certain tones.

….

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.

Check

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.

Sigh.

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.


Job mocked by his wife :

Georges_de_La_Tour

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:

if we would whisper a prayer.

…..

Positively Shameless

Just got this beauty (Pl check details below) from my very talented friend Shilpa W., also performing;

Theatre Narrative, Social Drama
~childhood sexual abuse & aftermath
March 14th & 15th only.
Venue: SHOONYA,
BANGALORE
Details, below.

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.

I’m stoked. It’s time!

Way to go girls. 👇You must be seen.

Positively Shameless,
2 shows
March 14, 2020, 7 p.m.
March 15, 2020, 4 p.m.
Rs.250/-
BOOK YOUR TICKETS HERE

*Venue: Shoonya – Centre for Art and Somatic

Open to adults and adolescents with parental supervision.
Now in its fourth iteration, Positively Shameless is a devised ensemble theatre performance based on aspects of childhood sexual abuse that endure into childhood. It interweaves personal narrative with social commentary to create a playful, dramatic act of resistance and revelation that challenges the shame and silence that often surrounds survivors. By foregrounding physical expression, the play acknowledges the site of violence, resistance and reclamation, to be the body. Positively Shameless was originally created in 2016 by seven women in Bangalore who continue to form the core group of this project. This theatre piece has since been performed across different parts of India and the United States. Positively Shameless has captured the attention of diverse audiences for its refreshing tone (critical yet hopeful), artistry and emotional complexity.
It will be performed in Shoonya Centre for Art and Somatic Practices, Bangalore on 14th and 15th February 2020, following which, it travels to Rotterdam to perform in the ICAF (International Community Arts Festival) and then NYU (New York University).

SHAME: Synonym: embarrassment, humiliation.

When Panic is an Epidemic.

For Go Dog Go Cafè Writers

Masi Kuma rang our door bell, 20 minutes before the 2001 earthquake in the neighbouring State of Gujarat rocked our 5 storeyed apartment building in Mumbai, India.

I lugged both our little ones down three flights of stair case, to the one wide-open window over first floor landing.

Painting of a panic attack.
Net pic.
….

It was like the deadly thing Uncle Masi had been prophesying all December; was he surprised?

No.

I was. I’d rubbished his forecasts about the Malad Fault running right below our Building he said, and how at any time It could decide to do what Earth faults do.

We survive by sheer chance, y’know!” He’d muttered 20 minutes before we quaked! Epicentre was miles away in Gujarat, what we had was just .. aftershocks?

I was tired of his imagery… and it was pretty vividly decorated, his whole body swaying from side to side, showing me how we (Mumbai) escaped each quake, and that there were many to come, he muttered, his eyes gleaming with the tragedy already.

When Gujarat was hit, Uncle M. asked me why we were in Mumbai at all. He was leaving with his wife and son, they were going to Australia and he was at least happy about that. “As it is, this city Mumbai is just made-up reclaimed land, oh we are not a proper island made of rock, you know that, nah?”

Mrs. M. his wife sighed.

She loved Mumbai city, she’d lived here all her life: what place was safe on earth, she said in the flat tone of one who now forgot how to hope.

Their kind-faced son Raji, a curious meld of his parents + 24×7 half smile- Raji looked forward to the prospect of a ‘nice Indian girl’ in Australia, I wondered about that…

Oh and there are other things,” he said.

I didn’t ask, but after all our quakes died down, Aunty Masi told me their son Raji worried about allergens, apparently caused by holes in the Australian sky, that’d affect migrants more than others. Uh?.”What…? ” I asked.

Aunty M. screamed, “Don’t ask! They’ll not stop talking about it.

I didn’t understand.

They were buying up Anti- histamine, Ayurvedic powders…swallowing vitamins…

why were they migrating then?

It was puzzling. I had my own busyness with two little ones gearing for PreSchool.

On the day they were leaving Uncle Masi came in and sat a few minutes. “Thing is, I know this city will not stand anymore pressures,” he said with hooded eyes.

Oh my. He loved it too. Yes, here in this sprawling maddening reclaimed city called the Gateway of India, he’d met Aunt in college, here they’d got married, had their life …

Is it the Faults?

He nodded. “Beta (child), run while it’s safe. You got your kids and nice husband to think of. Just imagine a city this vast, in any quake, or war. Or epidemic. Specially an epidemic.

Years have gone by, our Faults all over India show up now and then.

I hope Uncle M. and family survive and thrive where they ran to.

We moved from Mumbai back home to Bangalore City, South of India when there was a job change;

today, we face a new threat, Coronavirus.

Ah’m.

For few years here now, I’ve been running from my cousin-in-law, Letti- she’s like Uncle Masi, a Prophet of Doom:

to never be visited if there’s an epidemic, or news of anything that triggers alarm, even rise in price of the onion.

The last time she & I had a terrible meet it was about Chikun-guniya fevers. Letti was at her worst- best. She had the symptoms she said, it was worse than labour pain. I went home and actually got the virus. It ate my thoughts, ran fire down my spine, then turned my cells to batter.

When Dengue hit our city, I refused to answer Letti’s calls. She left messages about Papaya leaf extracts for cure and said to please not hang around in any garden, even our tiny balcony not till 5 pm, these mosquitoes wore black and white pin stripes in their evil legs and to wash every vegetable with soap. Not eat outside, not go anywhere unless you had to.

Then H1N1 (or something else?) arrived; cousin Letti ganged up with a WhatsApp group and I hadn’t the presence of mind to block myself from grouping.

By now Letti & Co. were a force to deal with: they were making powders to drink first thing in the morning, cleansers, even types of prayers that went in a chain link and God forgive you if you ignored that link to seven others. Letti and her group knew if you’d read them, WhatsApp blue ticks gave you away, “why didn’t you respond? Get the powder! Tell your neighbours.

This was worse than neighbour Tupperware women who made you buy oversized Salwar Kameez you “couldn’t get anyplace else for their rates.”

After that, Letti ached about drought, non-existent rains, farmers, and the rises of prices. I thought life would have worn her out by now, but Coronovirus begins.

This time, I’m worrying,

but Letti isn’t calling like before.

Is she sick? Scared to ask, I worry that her forwards are too spiritual these days, about the end of our times, and how we must not be afraid. Why waste breath worrying….?

We met two days ago, she not wearing any mask like some other friends are, and no familiar odor of sanitizer: her eyes large with peace, no panic.

What’s with you Letti? but I don’t ask.

She spills it.

There was a dream in which she gave away masks.”These masks are my prayers,” Letti whispers, like a Corona- Whisperer.

It is all in our attitude. Fear, anxiety, these things break down immunity.”

I search her face for negativity but there’s only the aura of well-being. “Eat well, sleep well, wash your hands, forgive all enemies.There’s more death on streets from people not wearing helmets, than people dying from Corona! So. I’m pouring out prayers to rinse the air around. Do it.

Nice.

Her spark has more fire than before.

Back home and just in the door, a new neighbor asks if we know a good doctor; I’m scared to ask why, while he chats on about persistent cold and weakness….

I admire this new – free of worry cousin Letti. And sigh, I miss her fanged zeal for disaster management. This new fearless woman makes me feel alone in my quest for remedies: I was hoping she’d have a solution to newspaper headlines everyday. I miss her WA group prayer ammunition and powders. She has too much peace, it is stilling: we’re supposed to be at least a little apprehensive?

What’s App forward

(Um. Want to give to give him Letti’s advice but the words aren’t forming yet):

must meet Letti more often, her spirit is catching…

Net pic.

..

https://www.britannica.com/event/Bhuj-earthquake-of-2001

Flavour of the month

GoDogGoCafè

If you zoom in, you’ll see those Lotus low left in tiny pond at Cubbon Park here in Bangalore city. India. Warm warm day, 28 degrees already!– lunch and ice cream in the shade. Too much fun to take pictures, but we got a few.

2 weeks ago, Haven fellowship @ Cubbon Park.

March always feels like sunshine warming herself up from cold waves and February mist/rain.

March’s flower- Daffodils, (in India its called Nargis), oh what beauties these are too, ‘Heralds of Spring’! As we get a new sunset, my heart fills with new colors. It’s like we must determine our flavour. What tones would you choose, what Flower/ (flavour) would you be?

Not a question I’ve thought of before,

NetPic.
.

but today…..a young person at our Haven fellowship; all he could talk about was the Love of God, and how on earth did God love like that? He asked.

The more I listened to him, the more it struck me how different he was from the rest of us with issues at finance, or health! This guy, (I’ll call him Len) got eyes like liquid stars when he talked of the Love of God that drew him in. He spoke a few soft sentences and it went round and round that one thing: the Love of God.

Unrelated pic? But another of God’s touches of Love: little Chikku adopted by my cousins Shirl&Dan. At their table.

After we went each into our lives, post service, there’s that gentle fragrance, of the touch of God. Like Light and Rain that falls on the good, the bad, the ugly. Nothing changes the way It falls in at us.

As this new month arrives, I’m feeling all blessed- up grateful for the flavors life brings in. Unsure of my own flavour, but I’d love to sample more of the Aroma of Christ:

how He is Manna and Dew in our days, how His Love has no limits, limitations. How It overwhelms all other love, need, want, showing me a pathway of peace and one that does not misunderstand my place in it all.

Tokens of His care, for ‘the littlest of these...’
(Thankyou ShirlDan; hope your infant squirrel Chikku won’t mind breach of privacy?)
….

As I wrap this, a lone bright star twinkles through branches of trees outside. Another month approaches, I love the way a new month feels, especially this one. Fragrances of Lent, of a Father Heart with room for us all.

It is almost too good to believe, the whole story of ‘Easter‘, the Cross, Gethesemane, the Passion of Christ for us each. We tend to lean on our own needs and their fulfillment, more than what is,

or perhaps tend to misunderstand why this or that happened in our lives. Why there is war, or crime, illness, loneliness, why something is the way it shouldn’t be.

My sister’s Gulmohar tree with shoeflower, last month at David’s Pasture.

And then there are people like Len, all still in wonder at the Love of God.

I’m basking in those four words, THE LOVE OF GOD. Maybe it’s fragrance is best expressed in Joy? And I’m lending myself this, for the next 30 days. Maybe that’s the truth of Lent. That we take for free, not just as a Lending, the absolute Joy that comes from knowing how deeply we are loved by the One that made us, each, so intricately complex, every cell and thought process. How magnificent the aspect of each human, far more than lilies of the field, or all the blossoms in every tree, ever. I find myself staring at humans. Irises. Brows. Fingers. Smiles.

Our daughter Vi
..

Laughter. The fantasticity of Births. Deliveries. Pain. Relief. Grace. Healing.

The way my friend Maya looks when she’s happy. Uncle J’s stillness. Light in the Gulmohar tree, and Dina’s voice when she prays. The hush of waiting…..

Even a mother may forget her child, but I will not forget you..” quote, Bible. Pic – Sis Shirley and furry babe Chikku.

it’s all too much beauty stacked in one life, and I’m bursting grateful for the opportunity to see it all. Not just the shiny bits but the grey of dawn as I wrap this.

Gratitude: it’s the flavour I want to be, for it delivers one to Joy.

I couldn’t have dreamt that up all by myself.

Related Posts:

idialects@gmail.com, updated in Contacts. Apologies, this Blog is taking a while to update. There’s some mail still going to my old blog address. And I don’t understand how 2 or 3 of my Blog friends are unable to see any email from here. If that’s you, please do let me know. Thanks! 🌻

RN.

@ Sea with B.Harry

Thankyou Kate Motaung for triggering a revisit to my 7 year old self, in a place I loved and was terrified of: the Sea. Here I got something I’ll never let go of: how to ride a giant wave!

Word: RISK, 5 Mins.

Age 7 is a tricky sweet dangerous age to utterly trust a stranger, in a spot like that, deep sea. Those waves weren’t called Breakers for nothing. But Bro. Harrison (name unchanged*) was the kind of human any family would trust.

This was the Bay of Bengal, summer. He was an Australian lumbering red raw sunburnt priest on vacation from a Boys’ school in Darjeeling; he was dear and kind and sweet. Would take endless pictures of us, and himself, all black and white. He’d send us statutes and post cards from Italy and wherever he went. Summers were in our little coastal tourist village; he loved Indian fish fries, and Dad’s laughter in our veranda overlooking the sea. Then he’d hoist me over his shoulder to the beach. Ofcourse I trusted him, and he proved his worth in sand and mid sea, even with a six footer wave crest crackly overhead, spiffing white crystal fire in the gold sun.

I was afraid;

the Sea was a scary beautiful friend. She’d sweep out her large green blue skirts at my toes then swing them back in to herself, tempting me to go in deeper. I’d run in for shells, then fly back out again at another wave that chased me right to the edge of our hard flat beach, up the massive sand bund to where our compound wall overlooked a panoramic 180 degrees of this terrific watery Friend.

Brother H. as we called him, (he refused to be called uncle, flouting all nice Indian courtesy to senior relative), said it made him feel older than his 50, and that he was a child inside. He was. He was also a sort of Angel, no trace of guile or meanness, only the joy of living life to the full.

Come on, old lady!” He’d yell over our mulling muttering crash- echoing Bay. He was a certified Life Saver, I didn’t understand that but it made me feel important, and saved somehow from the churling tide, its rush and fervor, its lunging, pulling, eddy and mega swill.

B. H. would ask me to hold on to the tube and trust him as we paddled deeper in to where waves began.

The idea was to go through that startling blue water wall before it crashed- then ride its crest all the way ashore.

It was the most somersaulty crazy thing I’ve experienced or ever will. If I’d known how to swim, it would’ve not been as dangerous. Here I had to trust Bro. H., I had to go where he said, hold tight no matter my nose and face were smashed in that coaster, no matter I was in a sand-&-water rollercoaster, ears and brain thounding (yeah, you’d get new words) with the crash of tide in maddened swell.

The sound it still startles me but not as much as the glory of re-surfacing in great gulp of air, Bro.H’s laughing grey blue eyes, his lung full of a whoop shout, as we settled in the shoulder of yet another giant wave as she rode us all the way back to shore….

where sometimes dad or ma waited, wondering that I needed this.

Years down, I’ve relived that time there, over and over. It’s one empowered way to ride a risky wave like that – in the sea, or in Life elsewhere: surprise that Thing that’s coming at us, go through It holding on to the Hand that holds you & me better than we could hold ourselves, then break free as the Breath of God kicks in Life in our frame,

ride that Wave for the sheer joy of knowing that’s why there are Waves and Oceans, Sands and Seas in the stories of our lives.

Thankyou Kate M. & Storytellers, and all of Blog world for reminding me; I’m feeling 7 years old, at sea with the Hand that holds all.

….

*years down, I searched Facebook for him, we’d shifted cities and we’d lost touch. He wasn’t the kind to stop writing or telling us where he was, but he did. I suspected the worst; and found his smiling black and white profiles in a FB page dedicated to him by people who knew him, as we did too. Bro H. was/ is one if the most magnificent human beings ever created: he taught this 7 year old to walk on high walls, chase sand crab, find sea horse, race waves, love sea boats, love life no matter where….

Meet Lorraine

Meet Lorraine

Before the sun sets today I need to repost from Lorraine’s Blog: Blindzanygirl

Oh thrilled to have found a favourite happy place in my own world of shadows and valleys of doubt. Here I find not just beauty and reality but a peace that comes from knowing we are pilgrims in an earth that will fade away before we see that Perfect Light of Christ. Lorraine, thankyou for allowing me to post your work here. Stay blest beautiful one.

And let perpetual light shine on them,
Those words I heard today,
Not expecting them to come,
Quite suddenly they pierced the air,
I raised my head,
Looking to the heavens
As if to take in all my memories,
The joy, the pain, the laughter

Suddenly all were one,
Joined together seamlessly,
Chickens, corn and sandpits
Apples, nuts and tractors in the fields,
Starry nights that made me ask
“Where is God?”
And in my child’s mind’s eye
I saw Him beyond the stars
Swathed in mystery
And yet
So simple
Here, in the evening of my life
I sat, re-connecting with my past
And all of those who went before me,
On them and on all my memories the words did fall,
“And let perpetual light shine on them…
.”

…..

Hello and welcome to my site.  

My name is Lorraine Lewis, and I am blind.  I became blind in 2016 as a result of a very serious and advanced cancer, and the treatment that I received. 

In 2013 it was touch and go whether I lived or died, and there began the loneliest journey of my life.  A true wilderness experience. 

Now, I am in remission, but as well as being blind I am unable to walk, and am wheelchair bound.  My husband too is wheelchair bound, and we face daily challenges just to survive.  The wilderness experience, with all its difficulties and obstacles continues, but somehow or other we get through. 

In the midst of all the pain and suffering, and the deepest loneliness I have ever known, I found a well deep inside me that I did not know I had until I started to drink from it.  It was not a physical well, but a spiritual one, and I would like to share with you in various ways, my journey in the wilderness of cancer, blindness, and inability to walk.  Along the way we may meet deep pains and sorrows, but also a depth of joy that defies everything that life has thrown at me. 

Here, on this site you will find Poems and Reflections that will bring you into my world, and that may touch your world.  And as we journey, we will find that even in the wilderness we can be enabled to drink from the Fountain of Life. 

I hope that you enjoy visiting this site, and that you find it helpful.

….

Love knows no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps over obstacles penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” 

Maya Angelou

Lorraine’s poems, blogs and reflections are from her wilderness experience of having cancer and being blind.  “The wilderness is a very isolating and lonely place, with many hardships  and sometimes seemingly insurmountable difficulties to face.  It is a place of suffering and this site reflects the many struggles that any of us can undergo in our differing wilderness experiences.  Despite the pains and the darkness of the wilderness and desert places, the stars can still be seen, and even deserts can bloom, so along the way, there will be gems to be found.  I have chosen to use the Cross as a symbol also, because I have discovered that for me, the way through suffering was and is to be found in the Cross  Although that is a Christian symbol, the wilderness or desert experience can come to any of us, no matter what faith we hold, or even if we hold none.  So I hope that as Maya Angelou says, there will be no barriers, and that all of us, through our sharing, can find our way through, appreciating the gems that we find on the way whilst not denying the suffering that we go through.  May we all learn to look to the stars, and see how brightly they shine out in the darkness, and take heart and courage...”

Lorraine

cross
http://blindwilderness.wordpress.com/
Seeing
Comes from within
Deeper than eyes can see
Pain makes you see much more clearly
For pain
Makes gold
That has been tested in the fires
That gives insight to hearts
On paths untrod
Before
 

Thank you Lorraine, oneday we will meet, if not in this life in the next, when you and precious people like our son will see not just all our faces but His…

where the rest of humanity too will see what we never could not before, blinded by the nether lights of human comprehension. Oneday we will see through that dark glass, face to Face.

Here’s another one I love of Blindzanygirls’ work, oh every one of them leaves footprints of a thing I’m learning to hold….GRACE.

RAINBEAMS!

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!

Set me as a seal over Your heart.*

Its been released! AshaJourney of Hope, featuring my Cover and 8 paintings along with others’, in a slim back gorgeous Book that anyone anywhere might be intrigued by…

*pg 98. SET ME AS A SEAL OVER YOUR HEART is one of my 8 + (4 stunning paintings by Artist Anika Bogi) featured in this limited Edition addressing people in emotional/ physical trauma care, Asha: Journey of hope
Published by Biblica,Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Print,India.
……

If you’ve ever been there, in the throes of trauma, you’ll feel this. The Paintings are perhaps personal windows, illustrating soul stirring Bible study Leads on the fact of Divine healing via the Gospel of John’s 7 “I Ams“. Written by some of our finest Contemporary Writers.

The above Paint theme* was inspired by the Song of Solomon, portrayed as the human spirit, now embedding in His Vineyard; Rejection is rejected.

Will post a Review shortly.

Cover painting ‘Journey of Hope’. RN. Thankyou Biblica Inc., for a brilliant Publication.
(The reds are exaggerated a few tones in my camera though).

….

*Set me as a seal over Your heart:

I AM THE VINE, YOU THE BRANCHES. His Presence/His Acceptance and Divine Support.

Read on, for my personal footnote with above image of Vineyard painting, if you’re wondering what that handcuff is doing in a Vineyard, with Scarred hand….(not part of the book):

Reading the Gospel of John in the light of these themes is visiting a cellar deep within, for me. Familiar text and images merge as John’s chapters reach between lines and push boundaries between Seen and Unseen worlds. Blue-green vineyard violets seep like tears on canvas: Rejection is rejected;

the Word crowds my canvas with VINE as the palms of two people facing each other, rest – one being released of handcuff, the other with a scarlet Scar. I’m a whole new essence, a new Cask of outpour. For any of us with scarred identities, Heaven signs that dotted line endorsing us as first citizens in the unshakeable kingdom of God. This is the permanent secure address of the Vineyard of Engedi (Song of Songs). Mathew Henry’s commentary on that book reads like a Song of Evangelism). Ezekiel’s’ River of God’ cleanses out Dead sea’s putrid En-Gedi Banks, turning it fertile! The whole Bible pieces together with the promise I AM THE VINE YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. ‘Set me as a seal over Your heart’ is today’s scream for God.

Raylarn.

Will be posting more of Asha here, but truly excited about the impact of a Book like this one, Published purely for those of us hurting in silence.