Bed 15 — H1Ward.

Bed 15—H1 Ward

The clock ticked…

Against the quietness of the ward it sounded like pounding rather than ticking. Sarvishta looked; there was something about the terminal ICU that was inhumanly human.

H1 bed 15, was an elderly man, a powerful magistrate of his time, with him was his brother, a senior professor, and son, a leading businessman. Sitting very composed was the magistrate’s wife and younger son, all looking rather helpless.

It is quite scary at a point to see, the patriarch, the strength and the navigator of the family story lying helplessly on a bed with tubes connected all around.

Just that afternoon, her husband’s ex-girlfriend Sarasa had called from Chennai.

“Look at the two responses,” Sarvishta’s husband commented, “one hand there is Sarasa, who is very concerned about her father, she was telling me, that she would be flying down to Kenya as schedule and if anything happened to her father, she would have to return. On the other hand is Ajay, his father is on the ventilator, the doctors have given up, he has returned to states and is asking me what to do.”

Sarvishta wanted to ask him, so they are two situations, what do expect them to do, but she was too tired for a full blown discussion. Maybe because he had never been there, the point when you have to accept that mantle, take a decision. Actually she had not really heard the conversation through she wondered what did he expect.

She could empathize with the family at bed H1 or even Ajay, going back and forth, from being so young that the world was not so big, one could see everywhere and then papa was a hero and not a human being, to being so burdened with the choice of letting or hanging on.

When her own father had died she thought the world had crashed, she was drowned in this abysmal sense of loss that she wanted to whimper for everyone to hear, I have lost my father, my world is no longer the same, no more is warmth of the pre-dawn conversation, no more is the 6am call, my safety net has had been removed and I was endangered.  It was at that moment Sarvishta wondered if that was why father was perceived as God, father’s inspired us to measure up, while mothers loved us unconditionally or so it is believed.

Most of us learn to engage with the world outside, from the odd moments our fathers teach us, you know those moments when they are not trying to teach us, we are formed by little scraps of wisdom that we pick up and quilt on to the fabric of our conscience.

She was brought out her musings by the ward sister bringing in coffee, “Doctor, ami Piku bhagitle, the movie has brought out father-daughter tension and bonding so well.”

Sarvishta smiled, “sister ani dhon, cup coffee haad,” looking at professor and his nephew, the younger son had taken his mother home.

While sister went to brew the coffee, she slipped back to memories of her own father, his tears and fears unseen, his love never vocally expressed,yet his care his protection through out her life, to the day she had her morning coffee in his presence.

When in a moment of depression she had tried to end it all, he had held her hands and said,”I know you have done nothing wrong, I know don’t need someone else to tell me that, I know the daughter that I have raised. I fear for you future, not for your character, my love and trust accompanies you no matter where you go, my concerned is you should have that nest to return to.” From then came her moment of recovery.

“Sir,” Sarvishta called handing them the coffee.

It was as if, the coffee took the decision, the Professor who was normally everyone’s strength supported by his nephew, three of them had their coffee in silence.

Sarvishta was back at her father’s,

“Vishy, he is in pain, a person from beyond is calling him, you are the last bondage let him go child.”

The decision had been so painful, holding her father’s hand and telling him, “Papa, I am your daughter I am strong and will survive, you can move on when you are ready.”

A week later he was gone.

“If nothing changes by morning I think we shall take him home,” professor said handing the coffee mug back to her, they sat there in silence a moment of compassion, and strengthening.

world Thinking Day

Everywhere you go today…you will find a busy or play we lead the way…jai jai for the girl guides.

There would weeks of preparation, and we would all be hyper excited about going to the Jamboree, never mind it meant 3-4 days of no bathing, sleeping in terrible school rooms, in makeshift beds, but it meant we made new friends.

That was February 22nd which we just called the Scouts and Guides day to commemorate the birthday days of Lord Robert Baden Powell the 2nd Boer war hero and his wife Lady Olave Baden-Powell, the couple who started Scouts and Guides.  I was a President guide and the word “Be Prepared ” seemed so relevant.

This has now morphed into the world thinking day since the world meet in 1999, and the scouts and guides reach out to their brethren around the world to know each other a little better. Well whether they succeed or not is another story. But that is the basic purpose.

One of the great things for us was to be a president guide, and that entailed, earning badges, and a badge was given when met some criteria, when I look back it is just become a check list, like okay one nursing  badge we are supposed to nurse the sick for at least 36 hrs. We worked at the hospital though. The singers badge was one prayer, one bhavageete,  etc. etc. we just learnt up those songs presented it to a examiner who was more pre-occupied with gossiping with the guide teacher and we were given the badge.

So the world thinking day, has come up with a thinking day badge that can be sewed on to the sleeve.

The theme this year is very simple it , “Grow.” So how does one get the badge—

  • Make new friends by identifying a group in your community that does not have access to girl guiding or girl scouting, and invite them to participate at your world thinking day celebration.
  • Share the fun of being a girl guide/scout with your friends by solving the mystery of the missing seeds of change. Go on a treasure hunt or a guide tracking signs exercise.
  • Plant a tree once the missing seeds are located, and mark the beginning of a new friendship.

When I decided to share this on my blog I began researching various quotes from the Baden-Powell’s I found out, that the movement though began as scouts for the Boer war, it also was to inculcate a sense of observation, and inclusion, which we have lost in this great sisterhood of badge collection.

World Social Justice day

February 20th is the designated as the world day of social justice by UN, the theme this year being Preventing Conflict And Sustaining Peace Through Good Work.

Of course this duo word coined in 1850 does mean equal distribution of resources and opportunities in which outside factors that categorize people becomes irrelevant. Since 2007 the UN-General assembly has been recognizing February 20th as the day of social justice. This day is promoting efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion and unemployment.

The social development aimed at social justice, solidarity, harmony and equality within and among countries lot of there is also pledging of equitable distribution of income and greater access to resources through equity and equality and opportunity for all.

If you were to go through the UN-site there is a whole hoard of hot air, and high sounding ideas, ideals and talk, but at the grassroots I wonder how this pans out… the migrant labour who comes constructs the road, their families living in temporary shanties with no toilets, when they do use the open spaces the educated elite coming down on them hard… is that social justice?

People having to leave their homes in search of menial jobs are that social justice? Young adults trained with skill sets that cannot be applicable, so either they do engineering and work as bank clerks, or they migrate elsewhere disturbing the ecology of the society they migrate into is that social justice?

We confuse “growth” and “development” displace indigenous communities from their legitimate space like the fisher folk of Bambolim beach… the once common resource like the bay and beach has now become exclusive to the five star hotels and this encroachment is this social justice?

If we could train people for the jobs available, people take care of the sick and poor in their own communities probably we would come somewhere near social justice.

Actually all this social justice is a little wonked, I mean the issue we are really talking about here is the great economic divide. Which has been created by greed… we call progress and growth well growth could be good or bad let’s not go there now but progress should mean for the better here is where we get confused,  trees and settlements destroyed is called progress because we have better roads to drive…at faster speeds? Is it social justice that we destroy environment, we displace people we create population, we guzzle gas  to me a world or equality would mean no just a liveable open world for homosapiens but also for the animals, and birds, with our trees and river beds being clean and intact.

At the end of the day equality is not treating everyone the same way it is attending to the different needs equally.

Hey It’s SAD

Feb. 15th, is a  SAD day in the shadow of its more commercially successful sibling.

Are you Wondering  what SAD is all about…No it is not about depression, nor is it about loneliness. well it is Singles Awareness Day.

With the world and all the business world focusing on romantic love, its many hues, people who are single are not just left out, they are also singled  to be guillotined or whatever it is that the French created.

Being single is not a  state of does not mean that one is like the uncle from Christmas Carols or Rapenzel in her tower. The SAD is about acknowledging and honouring the choice to be single, it about celebrating life, and sharing moments and gifts with other single friends, there are no strings attached here.

Originally this was also slated to be on the 14th of February but it turned out to be quite depressive, so the next day became the choice. People, of course volunteer to participate in social and community causes, exchange greetings and gifts.

So if you are single it is your day.

Hera can you hear?

World marriage day

And Hera is goddess of marriage and family.

The second Sunday of the month of February is significant in the catholic calendar as it is the day world marriage day, before you conclude like I did, that is it is the day that the world gets married, well it is meant to create the family, the commemoration is about honouring the father and mother as the base unit of the family.

The fat Indian wedding is so focused on the wedding, and once the wedding is over, suddenly we realize holy matrimony is not about union, but about transforming a two thinking individuals, with identity, into this nebulous image of Husband and wife, everyone remotely connected become stake holders and begin to advice and manipulate the couple. The couple have no chance but to go their individual way.

In a way I really appreciate the Agha Khani’s and the Catholic Church that runs pre-marital counselling. The feminist in me might rebel at the patriarchal leaning of it all, but it is a difficult dialogue that has to be held.

It starts with simple understanding of what we are committing ourselves to that I think in the Indian scenario is the first thing parents ask.  Life goals like what would you like to achieve in the future…involvement with the community… do you do it as a couple or separately?

I remember this friend of mine, who was a brilliant surgeon, she married another brilliant surgeon and every time a challenge came up, it she who was expected to compromise on her career, I have resented it that I am expected to put my work on the burner because something needs  be done.

Most marriages are in a mess as the couples do not explicitly voice their expectations. Despite of what the extended family I have heard people get scandalous when couples are to talk money, well if you are going for a traditional Indian wedding then salaries, are we comfortable with the difference, how do we expect to be supported emotionally, financially, what are your concepts of fun and how much of space would we like to have for friends and other activities, these are things that need to be looked into.

When niece Soundarya got married, since her husband and she both have good jobs and it keeps them busy, they decided to hire a cook, it no doubt upset both the sets of parents but they were clear that they didn’t want additional stress, Soundarya hates cooking, so on Sunday’s her husband cooks.

Then there was the issue of where would they live. Like the eminent Bangalore lawyer Puthige Ramesh says in his experiences many marriage break because of the altered dynamics a marriage causes, when his son got married he suggested that the new couple stayed on their own but since his son and daughter-in-law decided that they wanted to stay together in the joint family being part of all the traditions that are followed, since the decision was made by the young couple they are quite happy making whatever adjustments have to be made.

The question of celebrating festivals, and taking holidays were very informally but definitely settled within the structure that way everybody is comfortable. Not that there are no arguments, or discussions, but the basic channel for dialogue is open and flowing.

Two years after Prerana and Manish got married Manish’s younger brother Dhanesh got married, the first thing Dhanesh’s mother told her new daughter-in-law was I hope you won’t have children before Prerana does, five years down the line,  Dhanesh and his wife have a kid, while Prerana and Manish had decided not have children right before they were married. Again in the Indian scenario it is the elders who suggest when the couple should have kids, who should be the gynaecologist. Etc. but it is an essential conversation that should happen, do the couple want to have kids if so how many, what age difference etc. etc.

The Money talk… somehow we assume this is a dirty talk, Manish again gives his pay check to his wife, while Dhanish’s wife is clueless about his earning, well both are extremes, savings, investments, joint accounts all these are conversations that are essential to sustain a marriage.

Parents, parents-in-law how much time will the couple spend with them, most women of my generation do have the grouse that the husband does not spend time with her family, while she is expected to  put his family first, having said that, I have noticed a shifting trend like my friend from Harmony builders in Bangalore she designed the senior citizen’s habitat for Bangalore city,  well she had both her parents and her parents-in-law living with her. While my friend Sonia has relocated to Goa to be with her parents, and her husband is Calcutta with his parents. These are the challenges of today’s life.

Gender expectations, when B.V.Karnath got involved with the other actress and there was that fire episode, everyone blamed Prema for focusing on her career, but is it fair that Prema should give up? This is a conversation that has to be had, I still resent having to give up the project director’s post for IFA  because Mr.D did not believe in relocating to Bangalore, or a long distance marriage. Yet most weekends I am alone, this brings me to next unspoken but the most important aspect of marriage that is the erotica. Hopefully today’s youngsters are more sensible, but our generation, we did not give time for ourselves even in the context of being parents, or being with in-laws it is essential that the couple do put a side gizmo free, people free time just for themselves. Else when the empty nest happens, there are just two flatmates cohabitating with legal sanction.

The man in the wedding sherwani and the man you try to make conversation with after a decade or two of marriage are totally different, and sometimes just not acceptable, that is when we land up  connecting or look at the nearest Guruji.

Then there are even more difficult dialogues, like spirituality, extramarital affairs, and conflict resolution… where we could probably take a logical decision, but when the moment arises we are totally illogical.

At the end of the day, it about the journey that begins with the wedding,  we need to ensure that there are spaces in the togetherness, and letting the winds of heavens dance in between, love is essential but not a bondage, a sea between the shores of the soul is needed, we need to fill one another’s cup but not drink from the other’s, we could share the loaf, but not pounce on the same loaf, we need to walk together

It is not about surrender and blend, it is about covalence. Whether one changes ones name or not is irrelevant, but whether one finds a partner who is with us through thick and thin is relevant.

Phew I did what I hate the most I actually delivered a sermon…