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Reminiscing on the journey...and looking forward...

My spring onions have sprung up and thrived much to my delight in a flower pot.The garlic has also sprouted but is not as good.I had put in some coriander seeds and chilly,some greens are growing from one of the pots but it does not exactly look like anything I have planted so I catch all and sundry who walk by ,to identify the plant and so far I have not had a satisfactory reply so I am just letting it grow.Each time I walk out and walk into my house I give my plants a good look over.It brings me great joy.

The campus seems to have perenial flowers and the winter was as colourful as I hope spring will be.The chill of the Varanasi cold did get to me but even as I put on my coat to attend a call this evening I actually started sweating.So the weather is slowly but surely changing.Spring will come to England with a startle.Overnight the daffodils will dance and the trees all around will bloom blood red,purple,snow-white,blue,lavender,yellow and every splash of colour taking one's breath away while my portion will be the Indian summer in the heart of India.This year I hope to be better prepared to face it.
The Indian summer is in my portion but I take heart because most importantly 'The Lord is my portion.'Everyday we see His hand of grace in our lives.He is to be praised.

I miss just sitting on a bench watching the world go by,reading books in those small gardens in the heart of the city,munching my sandwitches and hot-dogs with squirrels for company and discovering history accidentally...here I see humanity,endless sea of people in need,suffering ,struggling,fighting their inner demons,just struggling to survive,to be counted,to be heard and sometimes to just get by their daily lives.Does it fascinate me?I have seen too much of it in the greater part of my years on earth.

I happened to do my medicine degree from Bankura district which was enlisted as the poorest district in India at that time.People lived on puffed rice and water.I saw wretchedness poverty and large heartedness at close quarters as we watched the mohallas of servant quarters with Gayatris,Manjulas and unpteen number of mashis who used to cook,clean,drive the rickshaws..invite us into their mud-houses to share meals with them.
I started writing poetries in Bankura.What else can you do when the corpse that lies in the anatomy table is just bones and skin and yet nobody has taken the trouble to remove the armful of colourful bangles that adorns her?Things I saw then were endless...it would be in a diary somewhere.

Post graduation was in Tamil Nadu.There it was more comfortable kind of poverty with certain innocence.'Pattis'in the sixties would wait the whole day outside the OPD for their numbers to come just to have their amitryptaline repeated and would often put in bombastic english words right in the middle of the tamil monologue.The crusadors had clearer vision and they were well looked after.

My next stop straight after Tamil Nadu was Palaumu in Jharkhand.Now I had the privellage to not only see poverty at close quaters but Palaumu had another feather in it's cap.It was supposed to be one of the bloodiest districts in India.A fresh post-graduate from a protected environment of my post-graduate institute,being pushed into this area was an education in itself.I easily took a cool four years to find my footing there,the sheer magnitude of the disease burden of tropical diseases,poverty,bonded labour,naxalism,addictions like alcoholism,immaturity and the genuineness, bravery and aspirations of the poor taught us to look up even as we persevered to try and do our bit.We interacted with the community,got invited for weddings in the village,invited the villagers for annual functions and ate lunch out of leaf plates on the floor but most importantly worked with them even as we facilitated the various health programmes whether it be TB,RCH,HIV,Malaria,.....
At times we hopelessly looked on as the villagers carted in cobra-bite patients in respiratory distress with five hundred rupees in their hand.Everyone was catered to.Patients with falciparum malarias used to be brought in in droves,grunting,screaming ,bleeding.....Many lived,some died.Others with rupture uterus,mucked surgeries from other centres ,complicated obstetric cases used to be a common sight.In the last seven years or so ,in the centres I have been to it is not so common.
I wonder if the RSBY and the various insurances programme the government put in place made that crucial difference or have I moved to more affluent areas now, I wonder.
My sister always used to tell me that I am lucky in the sense I have had the privellage to sample the main beds of culture of India,namely Bengal,Tamil Nadu,MP,UK....and now I am in Benaras another place,with it's own set of bondages ,very different from the ones I have been exposed to before.

In all the journey around the country there has been a rock steady hand that has led me on and it is that hand which will safely see me home someday.
I have been going through the overview of the book of Ezekial in the old testament.It really astounded me as it did Ezekial himself that God of Israel chose to reveal himself to Ezekial in a vision by river Chebar in Babylon.It says the hand of the Lord was with him.
As was the question in Ezekial's mind ,Should not the God of Israel be in His temple in Israel?What was He doing in Babylon?Through the vision God continues to show Ezekial how the israellites had desicrated the temple,had built idols and had turned away from Him.Then God reveals to Ezekial great things about the things to come.
This prophet of God is in bondage to the foreigners physically but that lone man even as he grovelled by the river Chebar has been honoured by the great God of universe Himself who has shown him the present and the future of His people.
It brought to mind another man who God spoke face to face as though he was a friend of God.(Exodus 3 vs 11),the man Moses.Even at the end of his journey God takes him to the top of Mount Pisgah to show him the land God's people would inherit but he would have no part in.
To that end ,I hope we believers will aspire,to be a friend of God regardless of where we appear to be physically.
Our God is a relational God.




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