I write this in the stillness of a Lalitpur night. Still that is, other than the thumping music of a marriage party at “Hotel Rhim Jhim” which is at the back of the hospital campus. It is marriage season, and early this morning I took a prayer walk around the outer perimeter of the 11 acre campus, and passed the aforesaid hotel which has a large space for marriage receptions – and a permanent display of flags along the approach road to make sure that the nuptial celebrations are suitably grand.
I write this under a razai, wearing a sweater. Tonight is not as cold as yesterday. My first day in Lalitpur was a baptism by ice. It was raining when the train pulled into the station, and the sun did not shine at all, leaving everything in a cold clammy embrace. I soon realized that my shirt and sweater did not cut it – and so put on the long-johns, the extra sweater, the scarf. My whole winter wardrobe – all at once. A man in black.
The day was spent plunged into the arcane world of proposals, with Thomas from the central office in Delhi paying a visit to check out how the watershed programme has been running – and finding a number of gaps that need to be rectified. I was nursing a tiredness headache that didn’t get better with the cold and the reams of columns to look at and logistical frame-works to try and decipher. Welcome to the accountability structure that undergirds the community health projects of EHA.
I write this after having sweated for the first time in the 48 hrs that I have been here. This evening – after a good first session for me with the ‘Men’s club’ (a group of men on campus who are fathers and who want to be better dads) I played 3 rounds of table tennis with Daniel K. and then 2 games of badminton with Lukas, Perrin and Murmu. It’s been a while since I have done anything physically active – and I have a belly to prove it.
I write this with an ache in my heart, missing my dear ones in Thane. I have their photo on this laptop, but they are ever on my mind. I feel like a kind of ‘John the Baptist’ going forward to prepare the way for them. And there is a lot to prepare.
I write this having met almost all of the community health and development team at a get-together in the village of Bar. Both the watershed management and reproductive child health project staff and local workers met up – partly to officially welcome me – and also to work through some of the task that have emerged out of Thomas’ visit the day before.
I want to write more, but my yawns are threatening to have my jaw drop off, so I shall call it a night.
More tomorrow about the community health and development programme – of which I find myself appointed as the director.
For now, I will snuggle further under my razai and after prayer, I will let my closed eyes take me to dream-land.