Renu's Week

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Report of 3 Sept '08

Hello from the Banyan -

Today is Ganesh Chathurthi, a festival to celebrate Lord Ganesh. We just finished a pooja, or worship, and the residents got kumkum, the red powder, and sandal paste to smear on their foreheads. Also, prasadam, food blessed by the Gods, was given out. I was happy we did this; as I looked around, I saw women who might have worshipped thus in their homes, at happier times. Manjusha, a pretty young woman, did the arthi - passing the flame around the God - and then put the dots on people's foreheads, including mine. The whole ritual appeared to give the ladies peace and happiness, and I am again grateful to Vandana and Vaishnavi for having founded this Banyan, that we may give a home to those disabled by mental illness and either having been thrown out by their families or having wandered off, that we may observe rituals of all religions to the betterment of our ladies, that we might in someway resurrect the spirit of one who might have outlived her usefulness to someone else.

I have a patient who just had a cataract operation. She was picked up from the street, and appears to be very well-educated. 'Tis a shame, I feel, that when a woman is afflicted by mental illness, she can be so easily discarded and her husband either remarries or otherwise acquires another wife. The male patients at the Institute of Mental Health are visited regularly by their family members, I hear. We are lucky if we can count on 2 hands the number of visitors our ladies get - and we have 300 ladies here. Out of sight, out of mind. The nephew of one of the ladies came once, and she was delighted; as I thanked him for coming, he got the impression I was trying to palm off his aunt to him and he hurriedly said he could not afford to look after her. I assured him we would, and that we (and she) would welcome regular visits by him.

It's a good life, a great profession. The lady of the cataract operation came by this morning, and she is doing very well. Our health care workers do post-operative care extremely well, and Shankar Nethralaya, a premier ophthalmologic institute here, gives outstanding service, esp to the poor, and clear follow-up instructions. Such a joy to have such a partner.

The health care workers and social workers did a cultural program last week - plenty of dances, skits, laughter. It was wonderful. We are privileged to have such talent here. One of them asked me to dance, and I would have in a minute, but the performances involved a lot of rehearsal, and I did not want to mess things up with my ad-hoc prancing.

The weekend was spent quietly, as Naren has exams. Navin just finished his. Although my mother bemoans the plethora of exams the kids have, I like the fact that Indian education is so rigorous. Scott has helped out the boys ably on many occasions, with a little extra tutoring. The boys explicitly request that I not tutor them, as my lack of patience is legendary.

Unw -



Post a Comment

<< Home