Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Toil and trouble..

Am back a sadder woman. The last week's travel was a little harrowing for me.

Yes, the scenery was great and while walking in the mountains of Nainital, I could feel the approbration of the 10-year old chicu who had a crush on Corbett. At one point, we reached the top of a mountain-where I would stay for the next two days- late at night. I stood in the courtyard at midnight and was surrounded by sparkles- both above and below me. The sky was clear, moonless and  liberally sprinkled with stars. Below me spread a valley with a hundred little villages, each house a tiny and intense point of light. Only the band of darkness where the high Himalaya were, enabled me to distinguish between earth and sky. Despite the cold, I stood there for a long, long time.

In the midst of all that beauty was great injustice. The family I stayed with had three young children, all girls. They were intelligent, beautiful and hungry for love. For the crime of having given birth to them, their mother was continually berated. Within half an hour of my arrival, the matriarch of the family began complaining- in front of her grand daughters- how expensive it was to feed them. The mother was anaemic, and malnourished with shoulders like a coat hanger. Despite this, she will be forced to go on giving birth to children till she finally produces a boy, who will be spoilt far more than is good for any human and who because of his upbringing will carry on the misogyny.

My colleague refused to drink water at any of the houses that belonged to scheduled caste villagers. These families did not offer water to me either- they had probably learnt the hard way that it is a crime to offer their 'tainted' water to visitors. I made it a point to ask for and drink water at each such house and was rewarded first with astonishment and then a smile of welcome. But of course, this only serves to make me feel good and will have no impact on their lives whatsoever.

On my way back, I exploded at my good and patient Mian leaving him sad and bewildered. I travelled back wishing my life came with an undo button. When  I got here, I learnt that a colleague is seriously ill.

Plan for the next week? get bucket of sand, bury head


Unmana said...

I'm sorry, chicu. I think you're incredibly brave for doing what you do, and hope you feel strong and cheerful again.

nadi said...

clicking on your 'do more'button.

keep working, things will change.

on a lighter note, i used to do that- drinking water at every 'untouchable' home- and end up frantic for a bathroom :)

chicu said...

I did that too..Surely visiting loos in SC houses counts for extra integration points?

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Vikram is on his way home if that's any comfort!

I know how you feel, and so, I'm sure, does the good and patient Mian. These are the crimes that cry out to heaven for vengeance. Every sip of water you take brings that day a little closer.

Mabel said...

Stay strong chicu. Will talk soon.

Grumpy Granny said...

You don't know that drinking the water as a guest will have no impact. It could be the ONE thing that might help one of those girls/women turn their lives around. The thing is, you don't know, but you keep doing it. That is wonderful, fine and brave. Every tiny thing that brings illumination is what we must keep doing.

Just like I sat and held my 10 year old grandson last night while he wept because his dad had left again.

Perhaps he was "too big" to cry like that, but not for this granny.

Much love to you across the globe!