The faces that came along this year
I can’t believe it will soon be a year for me in Raigad. In the most nostalgic tone of Mr. Olivander of Harry Potter, “It seems only yesterday I was walking down the market, buying my first mattress”. I remember my initial days, how I was carefree and all I wanted to do was explore and have fun. And to think of it, I’ve had a lot of fun! I am indebted to my colleagues who took good care of me, shared their space and showed me around.
A baby goat went charging in the afternoon sun,
Into the distant meadows, beyond the brook,
Greeted by tulips and pestered by squirrels,
Crossing bridges and steam engines, playing all along.
The sun disappeared, the sky turned purple,
The land became brown, and the baby goat was all alone.
An old fragile grasshopper looked up from a leaf,
And offered to share her bed for the night.
I bought a lot of things to set up my new home and the co-fellows who were already working here lent me some of their stuff. After a bout of sickness, I slowly started to cook. I got a plant upon some advice. I was getting used to my home. Recently, when the new fellows joined, I gave away a few of my things, following the tradition.
A lizard living on my bedroom wall
Forgot how to use his legs to crawl,
When asked to try,
He said with a sigh,
‘Can you just place me on the hall?’
The summer was really harsh this year. It made travelling unpleasant. However, work was picking up fast. People were returning to their villages after a spell of migration. I met and interacted with as many people as I could.
I’m a but butter butterfly,
I meet, meander, mesmerize
One flutter, two flutter, three flutter,
You think you understand me better
When the time is right and light,
Life will blossom into a delight.
The first few months, I felt quite out of place. We all did. But also somewhere down the line, we got accepted into our communities for what we are. I just love it when the vegetable seller nods at me as I walk down the street or when my neighbor inquires about my day every evening. I am so used to this now. I wonder what would happen after the fellowship.
A Nilgai was seen in my cowshed once,
The cows they seemed to like his presence much
So I let him stay near the shed for months,
And fed him milk and grass with corn and such
But then, the Nilgai’s owner came to me,
And asked about his son he lost at field
So I showed him the cowshed to his glee,
The Nilgai stood among the cows concealed.
The cows were sad to let him go away,
But Nilgai said he won’t forget to stray.
The monsoon arrived, a little late, but when it did, everyone was relieved. The rains brought out the beauty of Raigad. Travelling became pleasant, well, for a while. There were pretty sights everywhere.
Faint and shy,
A glow in the eye,
Smile for me, try
Aye, Aye, Aye!
My work was transitioning to a new level and so were the questions in my head. Although, I was not able to find any answers.
“Grandma”, said Nimmi “Do you know about Unicorn?”
“Ask me anything”, said Grandma “except about its horn”
When asked why
She lifted an eye
Thinking all along to make a story of her own
For many challenges, the solutions I came up with either failed or were never accepted. And it baffled me like anything. Only after the India Fellow mid-point training, I understood that context is key.
An ostrich came up to my door
To meet and greet my kids,
Alas I could not let him in
He had the longest limbs.
Work was further becoming harder and gave in to many sleepless nights. There were new problems every day. I had to plead for things not to fall apart.
Sing for us, Sparrow of earth in your sweetest voice
Dance for us, Sparrow of heaven we plead to you
Come to us, Sparrow of forests, give us a choice
Stay with us, Sparrow of blessed for we miss you true
Days, weeks and even months would pass without any progress. I simply stuck to it even though I had no clue what to do.
The sun is rising
Slow and steady like tortoise
The sun is setting
I realized one day, that I’ve accepted challenges beyond my control and hence eventually failed. I realized the need for balance. I realized precisely what I can and what I cannot. And in knowing this, I truly could take in advice.
A silly little girl she was,
Her elbow had a crack
It happened to her so because
She went punching a yak
The doctor saw the wound and said,
That she should punch no more
The Yaks are stronger at the head
She replied tired and sore
Finding solutions is not easy when the problem keeps changing. I harbor a lot of ideas, but I am no longer unsettled when I don’t find satisfactory answers.
Nimmi saw in her dream, a flying cow,
Dangling and propelling her legs, a flying cow!
“Granny”, she asked, who was busily
Knitting and biting her lip,
“Tell me, do cows fly? Tell me!”
And Granny held her gaze for a while,
“Well they do, when the Gods are out of milk!”
Said Granny and went back to knitting and biting her lip.
Living and working in Raigad has made me hopeful for a lot of things in life. I don’t have the feeling of rushing through. I have fallen for the little things with deeper meanings. I don’t know what will happen next year, but this year has certainly pitched a tent close to my heart.
Caress the soil with fingers of your own
Like kindly wind on summer nights that glide,
And kiss the baby on her smile, lest flown
Like flowers lurking along steep hillside
To live a life is not to live its days
There’s much more magic inside than there’s out
Let not your eyes to lose their ardent glaze
The fear is just a dagger most devout
Yet, life are not the stripes of zebra blank
The clouds are only there when they are there
Remember all the gentle feet to thank
The heartless also needs a heart to care
For when the sun goes down, the moon will rise
And when the moon goes down, the sun does rise.