i make new choices, every day. it’s interesting to observe the workings behind my mind as my choices evolve. i have come to no longer doubt certain choices that seem trivial but really aren’t. my sub-conscience has evolved along with my surroundings, weighing options and consequences and helping me to choose wisely.
here are some of the choices i have made recently. they may not be yours, and they may not even be mine if i were elsewhere, but here, now, doing this work, these were the ‘right’ choices in my mind; i have no doubt of that at all. and being so sure is a beautiful thing.
i choose to drink the water… it is ‘better’ to drink what someone offers me so kindly, in a dirty metal cup, when i am in their home, than to refuse it, even though i may have an intimate relationship with the toilet later on. i choose to eat and drink everything i am offered out of hospitality, because that experience of someone finding joy in sharing their meagre pantry with me is worth any negative side effects. some may say i am, by default, choosing to be sick. but that’s okay. it’s worth it. it’s my choice.
i choose to let nisha, a sad and shy 14 year old who was prostituted by her father and sister, brush and braid my hair for hours. all the girls at kasturba have lice, and not sharing a hairbrush is cardinal rule number one, but it is worth it to risk discomfort and annoyance to bond with a girl who has few allies in the world, letting her be skilled and admired for her work.
i choose to wake up at 1, 3, and 5 in the morning to feed a baby chuchundra (a rat-esque rodent) that appeared in my room. i could have put him (ram chu chu) outside and left him to the elements… but the fear of disease and the hassle of syringes of milk and late night squeaks pales in comparison to the joy of a blind creature curled in my palm seeking warmth.
i choose to travel alone at night, by train and on foot. the beauty of a flat indian savannah with candles dotting the terrain, the quietude, the lowing of cows and buffalo, the fireflies and wisps of song… all these things outweigh the risk tenfold.
i feel that these little choices were, in a way, inherent in the larger choice i made, so long ago, to come here in the first place, to climb this tree. as though choosing this place, this work, carried with it many branches and leaves, and my YES to india, to bihar, to these girls, was also a yes to these other experiences. in my life at home in the states i practiced saying ‘no,’ being firm and not over-committing myself. but here… here ‘yes’ is a beautiful, joyful word that, at first, i had trouble saying. fear crept in and i was hesitant in word and action. now i accept everything i am offered – be it food or assistance, a ride or a word. i trust everyone and everything. is it naivete? yes, surely. but it feels so wonderful, to not worry, to not fret, to just relax and believe in my fellow humans, and in the universe, and in my experiences. this is not to say i don’t listen closely to my gut (literally and metaphorically!), it’s just that my inner-voice and intuition have expanded, and now they allow me to expand as well.
this is a rambling and incoherent jumble… and i apologize. blame ram chu chu and his late night feedings… but i was so touched last night, as nisha brushed my hair. my ancient and deep-set fear of lice had, now that it was faced with the actuality, completely disappeared, and i wanted to try to share that sense of well-being and inner peace that came with saying ‘yes.’
thank you for letting me tiptoe into your inboxes with my little stories. thank you for saying ‘yes’ to sharing these experiences with me. i am truly honoured and humbled by it.