Friday, September 25, 2009

Chanchal

Chanchal is a 33 year old woman, married to Sudhir Tailong. She has a beautiful 5 year old daughter Sabhya who comes over to the office after school and loves to play with me. Chanchal works in our office as a part time consultant and I have recently been working on some R&D with her on the drought situation in Rajasthan in order to write a paper to find funds for the local villagers. (see the report at http://societytoupliftruraleconomy.blogspot.com/ )

Chanchal is first of all a very beautiful woman with an intense look when she speaks with you. I often feel like the rabbit caught in the headlights of the car, unable to move. She is a very intelligent and sensitive to the pain and suffering of those in need. This sensitivity drives her work. It has been a real pleasure to watch her work and be a part of the effort to we share here at SURE.

She also is an amazing dresser. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think in all the time I’ve been here I’ve seen her in the same outfit twice and always a beautiful sari.

She has also been a good friend, helping me from the beginning to find a home and settling in, being concerned when I have been sick and helping me find resources for my home. I am very grateful to know her and know we will continue our friendship even after I leave India. In fact, I have been encouraging her to come to Canada with her husband and daughter.

The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.

Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof. - R. Bach

Thursday, September 10, 2009

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Reflections

There is always so much a parent wants to share with their children.  Some of these things are cleverly disguised lessons in life, but most of it is just a sharing of family history. Sharing like this is a very important part of making and maintaining relationships.  Perhaps this is a part of our human need to tell each other stories and pass on our personal tradition. A young child, say from 1 to 25 years old, is not that interested in family history.  For them the world is an amazing and evolving place, one that will go on forever, so why dwell in the past?  Time, as we know, changes that perspective.

I am 57 years old. When I think about how fast time has gone by I can not fathom how it does it or what is I think I am experiencing.  When I think back 20 years, I was only a just learning to be a father.  If I try to imagine 20 years from now, 77, it does not even register an image in my brain.  Maybe my journey will over, but if not, and I certainly hope not, I hope I am still energetic about the adventure I have been traveling on all these years.

There is still so much I yearn to learn, to do, to go, people to meet, foods to taste, music to play. I have been interested in so many aspects and details of life that I never know when to put something down.  Today I am reading David Bornstein’s book on social entrepreneurs and I feel a great kinship with what he is writing.  I keep saying to myself as I read: “ I did that!”  and “I just wrote that in my proposal!” or “I learnt that when I interviewed the Indian NGO consultants!” And so on.  I may be a social entrepreneur, but only a baby one.  In any case I will need a few more decades before I can really call myself one.

Here in India I am discovering a new culture.  Actually many cultures, as there are so many that are laid out across my door.  And within each culture are sub-cultures and sub, sub cultures, each with their own wonderful flavours and surprises.  How do I share this information with my child?  How do I tell her she may not have another chance to spend with her dad, intimately exploring the exotic landscape and people of India?  She is miraculously caught up in the enjoyment of her own budding career.  There no time for family or adventures now. Time as we know, will change that perspective. But will it come in time?

I lived for thousands and thousands of years as a mineral. 
Then I died and became a plant.
I lived for thousands and thousands of years as a plant. 
Then I died and became an animal.
I lived for thousands and thousands of years as an animal. 
Then I died and became a human being.
Tell me, what have I ever lost by dying?
- Rumi