Greetings! a little something i want to share with you.
On May Day laboring on another morning, got a call from Manoj to meet him at the old Peoples’ home. A long while since I ‘d been here and this sure wasn’t something that would have pulled me away from a book and music on a holiday.
A plethora of images passed before mine eyes. It used to be a place I looked forward to going, not so long ago. We went there for prayer meetings, to sing, dropped in cause we were passing by. Somewhere along the way all this changed, haven’t been there since the work on a new place began. I asked myself why the change occurred, and got some very petty excuses for answers and an insipid one ‘I was busy, didn’t have time’, which in the next 30 seconds was already dismissed as very lame.
Well, we ventured out to the place all the same to find answers along the way.
We walked in and introduced ourselves as guests from Wesley to the warden a kind old lady, Rasathi in her 60s in a youthful zest (a warden in a youth hostel before she came here). It has been 4 months and she should now start to age a decade every month. More about her another time.
A sure way for me to have a disastrous experience is to do something because “it will be good for me”. **
We went around the place, nostalgia completely removed- the harsh reality didn’t even allow me that soft cushioning. We looked at the size of rooms in the new building from the roof top, the new rooms that are ready are not accessible because they say the contractor has not been paid and he will not allow possession of the rooms. Does not you anger well up? we downed it with a glass of warm water from the kitchen. We weren’t ready for the inmates (that’s what they are called, a prison they know no escape from). We walked among the ruins, a comforting sight to most who saw their very lives in such imagery, a feeling at home.
The Home is a row of rooms along the path way- 4 doors that lead into cells which house these old bodies, hands that a few years ago led young lives by their little fingers, who have led exciting lives and traveled around, whose eyes filled with tears of happiness at new life and wept into hungry cold grounds at the loss their loved ones. Today they will ask you to pray that the Lord take them to an abode we are so accustomed to think is rosy. A land where your limbs will get new strength and your teeth will be back, wrinkles will only be laugh lines (what else, in a land where there is no sorrow).
Now, as we walked round and round quite embarrassed to meet those that reside in these walls, one of them came out and confronted us, she said, ‘ you don’t want to come inside and meet us, you would have come in if there were girls, wouldn’t you?’. We walked up to her not knowing quite what to say. Where these accusations right?, were we afraid to see at close quarters what we were inevitably heading for? Were we afraid to know what goes around and make it difficult to justify our deeds at a later date? Well, we reached her before we could quite figure out, she burst into a rich laugh and repeated her question to help sink it in deeper and then a little more louder (once more with feeling). We didn’t come up with any answers but told her we were from the church.
She kept us in splits with episodes from her eventful life, she introduced herself- ‘Mrs. Mary Benedict- but no benediction’, she laughed.
She regaled us with her tales and having told us about marriage and mortgage she spoke of her children in distant lands and of fat pay packs
– pride and regret, sighs and smiles.
We also met Ruth Solomon and Mabel David quite pleased to hear her name though it be to summon another. One asked that we pray to ask Him to call her to His side at the earliest.
Throw away the wine bottle, put out the candles, no one is coming by this way- said a poet about oldage.
The garden has a few lovely blossoms – no lawn, no evenly laid flower beds, a bright contrast to the garden in Church – what for? Who comes here?
At the new block we climbed the steep stairs that will lead to rooms – god!, they must think that some spring chickens coming to stay here. No thought absolutely about disabled and geriatrics (or is this something Jim Carrey specializes in). We are to blame – we didn’t question the plan when in sat there beside the alter staring in our face and we saw nothing wrong with it then. Why complain now?- well, our unlearned mind and untrained eyes didn’t see it – and please brethren come behold the sight, a reality jolt. Will we look at it only when it happens in our
homes, or will we lock them in such closets? Will we continue to look
the other way?
I remember 2 years ago when a few of us thought some things were going to change for the better, we set up a cool mailing list to correspond with each other, to help build a community in virtual space- to build a home for these old people, we deliberated and we build them a castle in the air, well, some didn’t even bother with that.
This here verbose outburst is not another attempt at building community-
do whatever you think is right at the time you encounter it. I am
guilty of not being in church and talking to you guys and now suddenly I have all my fears to pour out to you, am angry and very sad, and in impotent rage I have no one to talk to but you who I once knew so well.
Forgive me my outburst, but you sure must ask yourself some questions, the answers are not hard they are blowing in the wind, and what the
world needs now is love. We must awake and ask these our elders who
are involved in these projects, what they are up to – don’t you want to know about the house your parent is building? Would you not know his blind side and throw more light onto his lea side.
Does this place not matter to us Wesleyans, are we so far removed from our own, are we so blessed that we are in a land where we will never grow old!
… death under the force of a hurricane is better than life in the arms of old age*
After such triviality do I have anything to offer you? Yes, I have a sight that is such a horrid shame to any school of architecture. And the callous behavior of all those involved with the building I will not even get into. They say that there was 10 lacs spent on it, it sure is a
sight to behold! The future residents will on reaching here believe
that they have at last reached the tunnel and now need only wait for the light.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.*
more later, love
Ps: I have no hope of knowing that I have said the right things, or if these are self-righteous ramblings, I might never know. I must also hereby request a space for these things I have said. You would write us, call if you think you need us, or you could do your things your way, but for your own and these old people’s sake do something. And feel free to write me about my short falls or anything you would want to say. especially mail me if you don’t want me to write you.