Renu's Week

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Report of 30 Oct '08

Hello from the Banyan -

The system has crashed twice due to power fluctuations, and I must hasten through this blog.

Belated Happy Diwali to all! It is our national festival, in celebration of the vanquishing of evil Narakasura by Lord Krishna. N asked that his death be commemorated by lights, and the "festival of lights" is celebrated annually, with the date being determined by looking at the stars, like Easter and Ramzan. We get up early (well, some of us do), have hair washes, put on new clothes and go down to join in lighting sparklers and other fireworks. Our kids have outgrown this last part, but we go down anyway. We then distribute sweets (in our case, made by Naren and Navin) to friends and neighbors, and enjoy a day of rest. Some go to visit relatives, or catch a "Diwali release" movie (such things are big here); we watch movies at home and eat the whole day.

The paper had news about a woman being locked away in a room by her husband for 20 years as he did not know what to do about her mental illness. He forbade their sons from seeing her, and remarried (this is fairly common here - even without an official divorce/annulment). A niece, enquiring about the lady's whereabouts, found her, the case made media fodder, and the lady, Ms. B, came to the Banyan. She has been admitted to the sick room with a fracture, and is healing well. She is most interactive and genial, affirming Vandana and Vaishnavi's steadfast belief that mental illness is an *illness* and people treated for it will heal. Ms. B told me yesterday that her niece had visited, bringing her a sari for Diwali and some sweets and fruit, which Ms. B shared with all in the sick room. That pretty much melted my heart; that this lady, who has endured so much, still had enough goodness left in her to share some precious treats. (Once, when we helped a Banyan volunteer rescue a lady from the roadside and bought her some biscuits, she took the biscuits and immediately pointed to Navin, indicating that the child ought to have some - see what I mean, these are melt-worthy moments.) Ms. B and the healthcare worker and I talked at length of the relatives' visits, etc., and it was nice to see Ms. B's face bloom. Truly, blood relatives can make (or break) someone's day.

We have stopped tutoring, as subjects are taught in the vernacular, which all tutors find difficult to read. I want our sons to volunteer their talents elsewhere, but their schedules are packed with study and tutoring sessions. I want them to find time for volunteer activity, though, so let's see. They continue to cause a fair amount of turbulence with their studies and extra-curricular activities, including girls, but this is normal for this age and, as I told them, I might never know what peace is without said turbulence. They do continue to be loving and affectionate and funny, and this is also good. As we watched "Ice Age" on Diwali, and watched the young mother fend off the saber-tooth tiger from her little baby, I mentioned to Naren and Navin that the urge to protect and care for one's young is a powerful force (capitalised on ably by the wonderful 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank); the boys are starting to see that, and appreciate it.

Unw -



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