Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A day

End of a day.

Got up at six-something.  Late. Got a mini-brekkie for Asha.  Got her tiffin ready.  She ironed her clothes and combed her beautiful hair.  The girl is growing up.

We were out of the door at 6.40.   Enoch was with us.  He loves dropping Asha off at school.  Scooter on the blink so we hoofed it over to Vasant Vihar High School.  There was actually the faintest bit of coolness in the air.  Saw more than the odd sweater on folks.  Was still wearing my t-shirt and shorts I had slept in during the night when Enoch and I walked back home.

Boiled milk.  Had a cuppa.  Quick look at the word.  Too quick.  Had a shower.A conversation on the phone with my darling.  Counting the days - just over 2 weeks now till Sheba returns home.  Kiss to Enoch.  Walk over to work.  In the door just after 8.

Emails and FB.  Trying to figure out the day.  Its going to be a logistic one.  A foreign visitor pops in the door.  Forgot her.  Yes its Tuesday - and I had said she could come over and see the project.  Dr. Marise is there so I will ask her to give the visitor an understanding of our work.

In staff prayer at 9.  Translate Sandhya's sharing from the word for our visitor.  Hand her over to Dr. Marise and do a quick strategy with Moses, Manoj and Santosh - to get the materials out for Mumbai AIDS Sunday.  We pack and repack.  Count and get the letters in order.  Its past 11 before they are out the door.  Way late but thats how it is.  Things take time. 

A frustrating fight with the ancient printer. Turn off the computer repeatedly to try and flush the phantom print commands out of the system.

The policeman who came with his brother to see us yesterday is back.  This time to show his brother to Dr. Marise.  I introduce them.  The brother is from the southern border of Maharasthra. He has come to Thane because he has HIV.  He has tried suicide at least once.  Yesterday - when talking to him I told him that his name in Hindi meant 'priceless' - and that's what he is - so valuable in the sight of God and all of us.  We prayed together before he left.

A young man comes by.  He has had HIV since birth.  He is 22 now.  An orphan.  Living in a half-way home and working at a call centre.  His carers have asked him to be checked up.  Marise stops by and tells me that he has not been looking after himself at all and has oral candiasis and swollen lymph nodes.  Not a good sign at all.  He sounds like he is deep denial - probably just so tired of HIV - having had it life-long.  A young life already dripping with weariness.  We link him up with Giri who takes him to the Civil Hospital to get registered for ART and to get a CD4 test.

Its time to grab lunch.  Some photocopies need to be done.  More books to be packed for distribution.  I get Agnes and others to help out.  Stop off and drop off the photocopies so that I can pick them up later.

Up to lunch.  Enoch wanted to watch a Tintin cartoon.  Then I see what Amma has made.  Chicken biryani. The smell is heavenly.  We can't sit in another room and wolf down a meal like this.  I talk quietly to Enoch and we decide to shelve the 'Cigars of Pharaoh' for later.  He's a great kid.  Lunch is terrific.  His shirt is ironed - I make his tiffin and then we are out.  Walking over to school in the heat of the sun. A huge road-roller patching the road outside our complex.  Road work seems to take place most often at the hottest part of the day.

We reach school well in time.  We have counted 'Nano' cars on the way and talked about lego.  The line of boys is still waiting outside the gate.  A quick prayer and Enoch joins them.  They soon file off to join the girls who were already allowed in.

I wait as the stream of older kids starts to flow from around the corner.  After umpteen kids- there comes our firstborn.  Asha looks happy.  We walk back home.  I drop her at the corner - once we have crossed the crazy intersection near Lok Upvan (where we live now).  I pick up the photocopies.  They have been neatly rolled up in so many slim cylinders.

A walk over to the Jeevan Sahara Kendra again.  Our black beauty's zip is well missed by my feet today.  But then again a bit of walking never did any harm.

The afternoon is a blur.

At one point three ladies come into my office.  Since it is the size of a biggish shoe-box - we need a bit of squeezing.  I quickly find out that the two better dressed professional ladies have brought another lady who is small and thin - for help with understanding what to do with her HIV.

We go over to Sheba's office.  I wish she were here.  Its 3.20 pm and Dr. Marise has left for the day.  I ask Agnes to join us.  We talk.  Laxmi (not her real name) lost her husband 10 years ago.  She looks thin and has been ill.  A small file of medical records shows her CD4 count is low.  334.  It should be between 900 - 1200.  She has a daughter.  I start to explain that she has come to a place where we care for her.  She starts to cry.  Her employers are embarrassed and try to shush her.  I want her to be able to cry and try to tell Laxmi that.  Its hard to talk to her with such an audience around.  I ask Agnes to talk with Laxmi while I help the helpers.

They are both interested and want to help.  We talk about HIV and what the options are at this point.  I let them know that Laxmi can live long if she fights the disease and is consistent and if we pray.  We discuss food.  Medications.  What to do next.  They look visibly relieved. We set an appointment for one them to come with Laxmi to see Dr. Marise on Fri morning.  I go back to my office.  Agnes is still talking with Laxmi in another room.  I ask the helpers to sit for a while.

Agnes arrives breathless at my office a few minutes later.  'Please come brother'  Laxmi had cried a lot and told her story.  At the end, Agnes asked her she would like prayer. Laxmi said yes and asked for prayer for her daughter.  Agnes closed her eyes and prayed.  When she looked up mid-prayer, Laxmi had loosed her hair and was jerking her head around strangely.  Not a pretty sight.  Daniel and I were called in.  We prayed and Laxmi calmed down.  The helpers outside asked what was the matter.  I said it happens with some folks.

In the meanwhile phone calls.  Emails. An ache for Sheba. A phone call from the mechanic telling me the scooter will be repaired for a cost only slightly less than the moon.  I tell him I will meet him at 6.  A quick bill payment of the electric bill on the way, and I am at the grimy motorbike repair wallah just before time.  He is out somewhere.  His trusty lieutenant briefs me.  The scooter is scattered about in so many pieces.  What can I say?  No, I don't want if fixed. The sum boggles me, but I grimly nod my head and ask the chap to go on with what 'has to be done.'

A stroll over to the school and its time to pick up Enoch.  An sms from one of our just-left-from-JSK-after-7-months-here interns thanks me but informs me that the brain surgery that I thought had happened yesterday is still to come.   Enoch comes bobbing along.  He is most concerned that we get the Tintin flick under our belt. 

We breeze in home.  A quick hello to Amma and Appa and we repair to the computer to see the Cigars of Pharaoh.  Good stuff.  Amma brings in tea and her home-made 'diamond biscuits'.  I watch the clock.  Asha is downstairs playing with her friends and cycling.  We see over half of the flick and then I have to be off again.

Appa and I head over to the bible study at Shanti's house.  Asha meets us a we get into the lift.  She has hurt her leg.  We escort her to the door and then ride down the mechanical marvel.  6 floors everyday.  Multiple times.

Miracle of miracles.  We get an autorickshaw immediately.  We arrive at Shanti's home to see that one lady has already come.  More trickle in as we get the singing underway.  Eventually we have 4 ladies.  8 kids.  Plus the host. And a single man and a couple too boot.  Appa shares from the word.  He weaves his own stories in too. And what he has read in newspapers.  He talks about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus.  Of how Jesus wants us to ask, seek and knock.  But also how Jesus wants us to have clean hearts of repentance.  How much we need to look into ourselves and talk to God about what we see.  We end up praying for a woman whose husband beats here.  Another who wants to have a small room of her own.  Another who is troubled by horrible dreams.  A young man whose brother is tying to juggle a job and college.  We pray.  Shanti serves us soup in cups afterwards.  An auto back.  We are home.

A few calls come in but supper is taken with Amma and Appa.  The kids had eaten earlier.  I tell of some of the days experience to Amma and Appa.  Enoch listens open-mouthed to the story of Laxmi.

Family prayers and then bed.  For Asha at least.  I find myself stuck to the computer. Enoch joins me to watch the part of the flick I did not see earlier.  Then he turns in too.  And so I end the day in the silence of a fan whirring and two kids sleeping behind me.  Somewhere over a 1000 kms away, Sheba is probably on night-call helping mothers birth babies in the obstetrics section of the Duncan Hospital.  I read the news.  Read some blogs and then write the words you - gentle reader - are reading now.

A quick nip to the fridge for me - and then it is off to bed - joining the rest of the house in tha charming mystery called sleep.  Dogs broadcast themselves outside - while my eyelids prove the law of gravity.

A day.  Its over.  Almost.

No comments:

Post a Comment