Who knows?

12 days ago I left my home and husband with a strange sense of ‘last-ness’. Si and I are familiar with that uncomfortable feeling.  We know that the whole world can change in one second. 12 days is a long time.

Melbourne, Australia, was my final destination when I left home to complete my Churchill fellowship. On the way, I broke my journey for a week in India. I find it impossible to fly over India to go to other places without stopping. There, I watched in horror how much India’s centre has moved to the right. It has gone so far that the words ‘liberal’ and ‘secular’ are now bad words. My closest friend there is a Muslim gentleman whom I have known for the last 23 years and have never thought of him as a Muslim. But now I fear for his safety. I fear for the safety of all my family as I know that when there is fire, some are damaged by flames but many more by smoke.

So, here I am, in Melboune, at a house, rented through AirBnB and so much has happened in these 12 days. I have never understood the need for 24-hour News Channels as they endlessly repeat themselves, induce panic and heighten pre-existing anxieties. Many people are petrified. They are understandably worried about themselves and their loved ones. The restrictions being imposed are causing more isolation and angst. Italian prison scenario is a very sad example.

This is a good time to observe the effect news has on you, pay attention to your feelings and take a break when you need to, from the constant ranting of various media. I am doing that. I am keeping myself informed, connected and calm. I am not willing to allow the situation to affect my mind too much. I am taking all the precautions as advised and that is the best I can do. WHO sensibly says let’s look after our bodies and minds.

I suspect that death rates from this virus are being hugely exaggerated. They are based on projections from those who have been tested, but many people, all over the world have had a cold or flu over Jan and Feb and have not been tested. So, where does the truth lie?

No one knows. That is the answer. No one knows.

Gullyboy (Street boy)

A Hindi film about young boys growing up in slums, turning into rappers.
(Nominated for the best foreign film at the Oscars 2020.)

Angst escapes as words and song,

To a simple metre they belong.

Expression is art.

Connection at its core.

Honest.

Straight from the heart.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

Keep working at it.

Be proud of what you is.

Know that all will change.

Nothing is too strange.

Dig deep and dig deep.

Be the shark of the deep.

Not a gold fish in a bowl. Yo.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

Our day will come

Every dog has his day.

Doesn’t look great right now.

But it will go away.

Respect …. yourself. Yo.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

The heat of strife will melt your chains

And set your spirit free.

Your friends will stand by you

No matter what may be.

Stay rooted and look high.

Like an eagle. Fly.

No fright. Just flight. Yo.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

Know. Just know.

It’s okay to show.

The wounds that hurt you so.

Someone will understand.

Trust in life and let go.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

You are not all alone.

Though it may seem so.

Prayers and blessings galore

Are sewn into the seams of your clothes.

You wear them all the time

But you just don’t know.

You are a rare diamond.

You are my heart and soul.

You are the sun, the moon,

The galaxy to me.

But you could never know.

Stay in the flow Bro. Stay in the flow.

Day 775

Time to go home. One home to another. Travel. Separation and reunion. Heartbreak and excitement. Holiday over. Leaving. Letting go. Impermanence. Detachment. Being in the moment. Missing. Loving. Longing. Again.

Packing. Lists. Hair bobbles. Slippers. Tooth brush. Weight. Zips. Last minute shopping – pens, refills, stationery, spices. Last day catch-up phone calls. Savouring every morsel of mum’s food – aloo-methi, stuffed bhindi, whole masoor daal and the best carrot halwa in the world. Horse-shoe shaped bean cushions. Chipping nails.

Passports. Flying. Queuing. Security. Sitting. Turbulence. Films. Food. Writing. Reading. Crying babies. Unsettling. Elbows. Water. More sitting. Napping. Tiring. Gaining half a pointless day. Messy hair.

Express train. Tube. Over-ground train. Uphill walk. Home. Blue door. Letters. Disable alarm. Freezing! Cats. Tea. Plants. Watering. Mowing. Unpacking tooth-brush. Slippers. Pens. Laundry.

Sitting on a cold brown leather sofa. Living. Dreaming. Slipping from one moment to the next. Breathing. Being. Loving. Missing. Longing. Again.

 

 

 

Day 774

People exchange notes

All over the country, money is the hot topic. A month ago, the Prime Minister of India implemented a plan with the aim to remove black money from circulation. He declared two major cash denominations invalid – the 500 rupee bill and the 1000 rupee bill. These two are also commonly used in everyday lives of most people. The public has been given time till the end of December to deposit these bills in a bank , up to a certain limit and withdraw valid currency of 100 and 2000 rupee bills instead.

This has inconvenienced and caused damage to thousands of simple hard working people, farmers and businesses as the timing and execution of the plan has been appallingly poor. Yet, people have coped so far as they believe they are now participating in a cause that is for the greater good in the long run. As a by-product some people have realised that they don’t need as much as they think they do. Houses of worship and orphanages have been inundated with huge anonymous donations in the soon-to-be-invalid bills. Perfect strangers have helped each other out in various ways to help them tide over this crisis. Ingenious systems of barter are springing up in the face of this financial famine. There are horror stories, funny, sad and angry stories and people are talking to each other a lot more.

The most amazing thing to watch is the masses form queues outside banks. Orderly queues stretched over long distances on to main roads, around blocks of shops and on to open grounds. In all my life of knowing India, this is a first. Personal space may not be understood and respected by all but patiently forming and maintaining queues for many days and hours is an inadvertent gift of demonetisation.