Renu's Week

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Report of 27 March 2011

Hello from our living room -

And the exams are over. The tutors have done their jobs, one boy has studied, taken the exams and finished them, and is now breathing easy. Many of his friends have not finished yet - those taking the sciences ostensibly finished first - so the party is not hearty, but some partying has started.

Breakfast this morning was from 9.30 AM to 12 PM. I love, *love* these times: the boys are intensely opinionated and insightful, Scott is funny, and we discuss all manner of topics with candor and considerable laughter. Naren's perspective is very gentle and spot on, and he tends to be able to deal with Navin much better than any of us can, so there was a fair amount of advising on college today. Navin took it very well, and that is really how Naren intended it: not to be preachy or judgemental, but just his opinion and advice. As the boys go into adulthood, it is nice to watch them interact; so we eat chocolate and junk and dreadful pudding and fruit and eggs, and talk and laugh until other things intrude on the schedule.

The Banyan has been fine, and I am getting enquiries about when I'll return. Navin now has entrance exams to write, and I have a superlative conference to get to. So off I go. However, the Banyan's pull is very great and this is a lifelong association. One of the health care workers (hcw's) has had a baby, and we are happy all are healthy. The hcw's are big reasons for my working at the B. Another hcw supervisor told me of her children's wonderful grades, and I was very happy to hear that: education truly is the way out of poverty.

I think of Ms. G, one of the patients at the B, and her cancer, and her peaceful passing. The social workers had tried desperately to find her family, without success. And then, in front of my eyes, she started to look skeletal, and we found the cancer. I will always be grateful that our patients have the warm, loving surroundings of the Banyan, in life and, most importantly, in death. I shudder at the prospect of their dying on the streets - alone, uncared-for, unkempt, scared.

Our car has been in the workshop and we are taking autorickshaws (3-wheeled cabs) and buses everywhere. I miss mobility, but this city is very well-connected with public transportation and autos, and we are managing. We have also done a lot of hanging-out inside our flat (apartment).

We saw a bunch of movies this week, and ran into Vaishnavi, one of the founders of the Banyan, at "The King's Speech." I had not expected to like the movie, as I do not appreciate disability being milked for the Oscars' sake; however, I did like all the supporting action and the extremely understated humor. Navin is a big fan of Vaish, and the two of them talked like long-lost souls; they are very much alike - intelligent, mildly anti-social, big lovers of animals, compassionate.

I have been in touch with the family of a friend in the U.S. Her father, whom I know well, is hospitalised and I have been chatting with the fam. I am a big fan of parents of friends, and have loved talking with Kris's mom, and Olivia's parents, and Mark's parents; no different with this friend, Ms. C, whom I love dearly. Mr. E, the Dad, is a fun and funny person and all of us like him. I have received many letters from the family, grateful for my notes, and really do not believe I have done anything remarkable, other than love the fam. However, I can well understand the welcome correspondence of concerned friends, which I received myself when my mother was very ill. Like salve.

It's a good life. Our neighbor, Usha, came to ask for a resource to put a young lady in Madurai onto a psychotherapist and we were able to suggest a name (Madurai is my hometown); Usha has done wonders in getting help for the young lady's son, who has special needs. There is nothing as recharging as the ability to help.

Unw -



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