21 June, 2007
I have been 23 for two weeks. I feel like I’ve been ready to be 23 for ages. Wry smile. A funny feeling. It’s an actually cool day today. I mean really cool, not just by Vellore standards. It’s drizzly and gray out, and I have not sweated one drop today. There’s something cozy about rain, the dripping of drops that gather on the leaves and plop to the ground. I am wrapping things up here at Pannai. It feels strange but very right.
Yesterday I was in a very frustrating meeting, for me. It was the monthly Home meeting with the people who are in charge of the living situation for the kids who live here at Pannai. Anyway, a lot of the kids lack discipline and respect. I suggested that perhaps one of the reasons that they speak disrespectfully to others and elders, one of the reasons they use bad words, is that they hear other people who are older than them using these words – older children, perhaps mothers, I don ‘t know who else. And perhaps one of the reasons that they are violent towards each other is that they are treated violently sometimes, beaten quite harshly. Sometimes the reason for such corporal punishment is very clear and the children have been given fair warning, but other times it seems random and very unexpected. Well, I got a LONG talking to justifying the beating of children and explaining that it is ALWAYS okay and ALWAYS an appropriate punishment.
Well, I figured perhaps I needed to be more specific about WHEN I had seen children being beaten when it didn’t seem appropriate – in the middle of prayers when we were on the annual tour, for example. Well, the response to that was that the children were disturbing others and that they should be perfect in their praying. I personally found the hitting of children during prayers rather disruptive and not so perfect, and I wasn’t praying perfectly – I wasn’t kneeling, and my mind was wandering. Frankly, I could see that this was true of some of the adults there as well. Anyway, no one listened at all, and it ended up just being that I had spoken my belief, which was important, and that I had listened to the explanations given to me, which was polite, but no one seemed to HEAR what I was saying at all. Ah well. It made me think of my mom and how she tells me/reminds me that I am a guest and not really here to change things. Which I think is true. But it also felt good to at least say what I think. Though if I were staying longer, I’m not sure I would do it again. Perhaps I would request to NOT attend such meetings since it was pretty much just frustrating. Wry smile.
Then in the evening I helped represent MBKG Pannai by attending a wedding. That’s quite a compliment, to be considered part of the working of the institution enough to be asked to help represent the place (when no one else really wanted to go). I’ve been amazed recently to notice all the ways that I do fit in and that I have been accepted. That doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing for me to leave.
I bought my plane ticket and have arranged a 2 night layover in Delhi so that I can take a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. I mean, that’s what people ask, right, if you’ve been in India – did you see the Taj Mahal?
Grin. Plus I want to see it for me. And for my mum. I feel like it’s always been a dream of hers. Just to put this out there, my parents are wonderful. That’s been something really good about my time here is how close I’ve gotten to both of them.
In any case, I’m totally rambling. I send my love and my hellos to ALL of you.