Babu Ghat

Kolkata is such a magical place. It really is. Its meandering pace is just right for me. Oh my goodness, what would I do, who would I be, were I in some bustling metropolis with no time to think of words to place in lines of poetry and prose? 

On Saturday evening, around 4, O’Clock we set off towards Babu Ghat. Through the centre we drove in stop start traffic, towards an oasis of calm and tranquility. On the banks of the Ganges we were blessed with the golden light of a setting sun and in her arms, we were borne safely to a new kind of peace

 

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A Shift

I’m not who I used to be. Or I’m more of who I am than I ever was before. Does that make sense?

When you’re part of the rat race, when you’re rushing about worrying about how to pay the bills or what time to pick up the children, or what to cook for dinner, when you have the bare minimum of ingredients and no budget, you have no time to be yourself. When you leave the race, it’s easier to see the beauty of a pepper pot or the perfect symmetry of the view outside your kitchen window, or wonder at the robin with his red breast atop a bare branch, making a picture worth taking. It is for this reason I am blessed.

There may come a time, very soon when I will have to go back to the race, to start running again. But I hope that this time I’ll be able to take time out of every day to watch the colours in the sky with my children and to watch the rise and fall of their chests as they sleep. I hope I take the time out to treasure their hugs and the light in their faces. Because as you know, Kolkata has brought about a shift in me and I so dread going back to the way things used to be.

Here are some images I have taken the time to see. Every day is beautiful here. Everyday holds a jewel.

 

 

 

 

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Hello?

Hi..

I’m blogging and stuff but I’m not getting any feedback. I’m getting lots of new followers every day but no one except for treesshrubs (you’re awesome, by the way!) is liking my posts! No one’s commenting and it’s as if I’ve gone back to square one. Is there anybody out there? How do I generate the ‘likes’ again? Is my writing rubbish? It’s OK, you can tell me!

barely :)

Faith or Luck or a Way of Mind?

Faith

What is it? Why is it?

I’m going through stuff at home at the moment. It’s best not to elaborate…it’s private! But it’s stuff, nonetheless.

I thought I was dealing with it quite well, I thought I could handle the ‘either or’ of the situation but last night I was bowled a bit of a ‘googly’, as they say in cricket. There’s a third option or to be more precise, an infinity of options. Now, having worked out and mastered my reactions to the eventualities I thought were going to be upon us, I found it a bit difficult to remain composed during the whole situation when I find that there are other likely outcomes and not so easy, comfortable ones, either. But just at the right time, a friend appeared, pretty much like an angel and is leading me to something new, a revolution of the mind…’faith in something more than I’. It’s happened completely by accident, but at exactly the right time! And I find myself wondering how did I get here?

I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual. A friend described me to someone as agnostic. I suppose I could be that too. I believe in a higher power, but I don’t believe it’s quite God. I believe in the right time for things and that everything has a reason that we may not fully understand. The only reason I believe these things, is that time and time again, I have experienced it.

When I have sat back and waited for things to play out, believe it or not, they have played out beautifully. I have been happy and fulfilled. When I have been stuck in a rut and have looked for change without success, I have stopped and suddenly change came and dragged me into a situation I would not have even contemplated. I admit; I have been lucky. Or have I? Am I one of those people who have just simply accepted that things always happen for the best and then have adapted to it, consciously looking for the positive? What would have happened if I decided that I was the unluckiest person in the world? Would that shape my experiences in the opposite direction?

Is it age? I’m in my early thirties (yuck!) and I have reached a stage in my life when I say, some things cannot be changed and we should be grateful for what we have, because not so long ago, we did not have all this. And it is true, I have accrued a husband, two children and more laughter and amusement following these acquisitions than I ever thought possible.

Perhaps it is where I am. I’m in Calcutta or Kolkata. It’s a city where people amble nonchalantly, rather than stride with direction. “Hoi jabe” is a phrase you hear often, meaning, it will happen, when it needs to. But then you also hear, “Hobe na,” with a doleful shake of the head, meaning, it will not happen, no matter how much of a bribe you offer. It’s as if in Calcutta, you resign yourself to a fate that cannot be changed…it has happened this way and will continue to happen this way, because broken as it seems, it still works. Your will has nothing to do with it. So I suppose I have resigned myself to that too. It was easier than getting stressed every time something was not happening in the way I envisaged, which was a lot!

Faith is a funny thing. I need it to survive. It’s arrived at the right moment in a form I can deal with. It is in the form of something logical and rational and resonates with vibrations, in a way I never thought possible. I just need to cultivate it, like a garden. The soil is finally soft and fertile enough to allow that to happen and flowers, I am sure, will bloom.Image

Video

Dear Mr Gove

There is conflict this morning!

As my readers know, this blog is essentially about my experiences about moving to Kolkata/Calcutta, from the UK and starting a completely new life, learning a new life, with my family.

You may, or may not know, that I used to teach in the UK. I’d been in the profession for about ten years, if you don’t count the tutoring I had done before hand and I loved it. Yes, there were challenges and there were struggles and there were ‘dark night of the soul’ and all that. There were grumblings and fumblings, improvisations atop meticulous plans, there were tea and biscuits and strong, strong coffee, just to keep us going and at the end of it all, were the children who received and loved us and put us up there on a pedestal. There was no greater feeling when a child actually learnt what we taught, be it the beauty of words and numbers or the beauty of their own being.

It was an honour to serve, it really was, along with my peers who also were just doing the best that they could. Who still are doing the best that they can. I have nothing but respect for them and the profession.

But.

I’ve abandoned them, my colleagues. I wish I was there to fight with them, alongside them against the monster that is Gove and the present government. I’m watching and following the happenings from a distance as they strike repeatedly at the dreams and the aspirations and the verve and ideals of the teachers who only wanted to do one thing. They wanted, they want their pupils to win, to succeed in being the best that they can possibly be. The standards the government set are not relevant to an individual because an individual is just that! Unique, flawed, scarred with experiences that cannot be accounted for on levels and standardised tests set from ivory towers by men and women who do not know what it is to teach.

Leave the teachers alone!

Watch this video. She says it so beautifully. I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.

It made me realise that I have an opportunity to teach here and I really should just pursue it. Writing will go on. Now the floodgates have opened there is no reason why I should not do both. I’m discovering again…and it’s taken me a while, that this is ALSO something that I need to do.

Barely here nor there and quite firmly here and there.

http://www.pixable.com/share/5tFnT/?tracksrc=SHFAIPH3

The bump

courtesy of alienbee.net

courtesy of alienbee.net

1990

Tammy watched the little boys zoom across the grey concrete on the playground. They screamed and yelped and made their voices deeper as they stopped, turning and facing their enemies with their fists on their hips. They were superheroes, with their coats buttoned around only their necks and their hoods turned up on their heads.

Tammy desperately wanted to join in. It looked like so much more fun than playing ‘Mummies and Daddies’. For some reason, they always picked her to be the daddy and today, she really did not want to play the part of someone who went to work and came home and demanded dinner. But then, she had an idea. It was genius! She could be a Superhero Daddy! That could be her job! The other girls looked at her as if she had lost her mind but then, miraculously, they shrugged and said, “Okay, then.”

Tammy zoomed off, attaching her own grey duffel coat around her neck, like a cloak. She ran as fast as she could, and she knew, with her new trainers, she was pretty darn fast! She felt the wind whip her hair around her face and sting her eyes. She gulped the cold air and drank it in, thirsty for more. She glanced back at the girls and they were content. She just kept on running!

But then, everything went black; her knees were throbbing, as was her forehead and her elbows. She saw her bare knees first and noticed the blood, the miniscule gravel pieces trapped in the cuts. She wanted to cry but fought back the tears when she saw the boy sitting in front of her, her mirror image, rubbing an emerging bump, the size of an egg, on his forehead. Another superhero.

She grinned at him and he grinned back.

“I know you,” she said, “You’re in Miss Ham’s class.”

“I’m Josh. And you’re Tammy.” His voice was quiet, soft. Tammy liked him instantly. It helped that they were in the same year.

She wanted to say something more, but a crowd had gathered around them. Mrs. Samuels had appeared and was directing Snivelling Samantha to escort the two fallen, to the first aid room, which in reality was the disabled toilet.

They walked side by side, following Samantha, as she wiped away the mucus that stubbornly, eternally was attached to the end of her nose. There were only two chairs in the cubicle, and one toilet. Samantha left the two wounded, whilst Tammy took the chair and Josh took the toilet bowl. The lid was down. Mrs Barnes was already sitting on the other chair.

“So what have we here?” She looked at the both of them, her hair in tight grey curls on her head and deep, deep wrinkles adorning her face like war paint, even and dark. Her tone was pleasant. She smiled and Tammy wanted to be as brave as possible in front of the teacher and the boy.

“We bumped into each other and fell over. We grazed our knees and elbows and hit our heads.”

“Let me have a look, then.”

Mrs Barnes examine Josh first, gave him an antiseptic wipe and asked him to clean himself up, while she examined Tammy. She then handed Tammy another wipe and asked her to do the same. Meanwhile she opened the small freezer and took out an ice pack. She gave it to Josh. “I’m afraid you’ll have to share,” said Mrs Barnes, genuinely apologetic.

She took out a pair of tweezers, rubbed it with something and proceeded to take out the debris from Tammy’s knees. Conscious of Josh’s eyes, Tammy fought back the tears. It was awfully painful but she would not cry, she told herself.

Josh did cry but his tears were silent, trickling down his face leaving streaks, lighter than his skin, cutting a pathway through his freckles. At the end of it, they both received stickers, like medals and a note to take home. It was also Tammy’s turn for the icepack, but it was warm and soft by the time it was handed to her. She left it on the chair.

“You’ve both been really brave. Well done! I’ve cleaned up your knees and you’ve both got plasters on them. If the plasters fall off, it’s not the end of the world. You don’t need to come back for another one. Oh, and don’t forget to take the note home to Mum.”

The instructions were clear. The bell had rung, indicating that playtime was over. Tammy looked at Josh and smiled. They didn’t really bump into each other again after that.

But they did become friends.