Monday, November 20, 2006

[10-19] Colours in Silence

After the bus ride home, I grabbed my stock of rangoli colours and headed out. It was time to make rangolis for Diwali. My first stop was Ramanbhai’s house. Ramanbhai is apart of the supporting staff at ESI. His heart is full of love and his face decorated with a smile. He always makes a point to hello and make sure I’m okay. A few nights ago, I had gone to his house for dinner and was overwhelmed by their hospitality and love.

Ramanbhai’s wife and daughter were home, so the rangoli wasn’t going to anonymous. I managed to convey that I had come to make a rangoli and pulled my colours out after finalizing a spot. Then the colours magic began. A design had come to mind earlier in the day, so I decided to bring it to life. A deevo as the middle petal of a lotus, in front of a green sunset with an aum on it. They didn’t know what I was making and for some part neither did I. I just picked up the colours and began to pour with my fist. Anita had gathered some friends, they were completely silent as the picture formed. The silence was incredibly powerful, interrupted only by whispered guesses on what I was drawing. When the image was complete, I bade good-bye with my hands and went on my way.

Next stop: Kasturbhai’s

As I walked into his gulley, the kids began to shout in surprise. “Heenadidi is here, Heenadidi is here.” Kasturbhai’s wife and sister and other families members came up to receive me. The wordless communication happened again and it was decided that the rangoli would be made beside the little temple. The colours came out and magic begin. Again the power of silence and everyone’s full attention overwhelmed me. Even the mistakes or artistic elements, they loved the rangoli. After snapping a shot of the kids and rangoli, Kumkum, Deepak (4 year olds kids) came to drop me at the street. The little one would not let go of me as I handed her over to her sister. I am always touched by the amount of love they shower on me.

In the evening, I went over to Manav Sadhna. The card project kids were all spending the night to work on cards. When they saw me, the boys again began with their talks of also taking a vow of silence, potentially to mark the one month death anniversary of Chimanlal, the baby bird the project had adopted when Chimanlal’s mother and siblings were killed. As the talks to keep silence continues, Jagatbhai interjected.

“Only take a vow of silence, if you are doing it with the right intentions. Don’t do it to put on some show.”

I was jolted and reflected on his words. Was I keeping a vow of silence for show or for a reason? I needed some time to myself and this was a way, but then what was all of my hand gesturing about. I became aware of how I had been communicating for the day and could identify when it was for show. His simple words struck me.

I hadn’t decided when I would end my vow, but 24 hours seemed to be necessary. When I came home on the bus, I decided to extend that. I would do an intensive meditation session the following day, the vow of silence would continue.

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