Thursday, 25 September 2014

Geeta

I saw her again today. Little Geeta. The girl from the slum area where I volunteer. Geeta, who lost her mother and brother in a traffic accident. Just before I was about to leave Mumbai a couple of weeks back, we had the terrible news, and went to visit her at her home, where she lives with her grandmother and 5 other relatives in one small room. One of the most heartbreaking memories I will ever have. And then I boarded the plane for Europe.

Now I am back in Mumbai, and I met Geeta again. Quietly she sat there on the floor in class, listening, looking at the others, biting her pencil. After class, she gave me a drawing with a sun, blue sky and flowers in it. She pointed at a large yellow flower in her painting - Sunflower, she said. - I like them. My mother like them also. And then she sent me a shy smile, and waved goodbye as she left.

And like so many times before, going home in the car, my feelings overwhelms me. Thinking of Geeta, and all the thousands of Geetas who live in this city. The poverty. The harshness of their lives. And suddenly a moment of joy for a sunflower and a happy memory of a loving mother. I can not control my tears. I feel numb as I sit and stare out the car window. So many destinies. So many people who could do with a helping hand, only just a bit of extra support so they can make a better life for themselves.

We try to adjust - wherever we go, don't we? And I know I have been writing quite a lot about the road side in this city. Every trip brings something new, but right now I see only the sad part: the people living on the street, the small children knocking on the car window, begging for money...


But that is the strange thing here. Tomorrow, or even just in an hour, I might feel differently again. I might see something funny along the road and start to laugh and shake my head and think: - Oh, I love this crazy country India... Like seeing this guy, next to my car:


So, as a special treat for people outside India, who do not know what I look at when I drive around in Mumbai- here is an example:

video

Today, I must admit, I am trying to fight the feeling of hopelessness that has overwhelmed me. I am sitting there, sweaty and dirty, with running mascara on my cheeks and my hearth hurts. Because no matter how many people you can help, there are always so many more out there.

Well, I sigh. I dry my tears, close my eyes and I think of Geeta's sunflower. For hope for the future and a happy memory of the past. And in the end....


... right? And what can be better than reading again one of my favorite stories:


I hope you have a good week dear reader.

Count your blessings and enjoy your moments.

Ta ta from Mumbai. 

25 comments:

  1. I know sometimes it gets very overwhelming... I have no words Eli...Life is so hard for so many that I don't know what to do

    Random Thoughts Naba..Memories of School and Some More...

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    1. So true Nabanita, thanks for following:)

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  2. Beautifully written. So true that one small something can make a huge difference to someone.

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    1. Thank you dear Suzy:) Yes, so true. Hugs

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  3. And so often, we don't realize it too!

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    1. :) Happy to see you here Michelle:-)

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  4. Dearest Eli,
    You know how that kind of things has impacted my life? Come Christmas time when people decorate and spend tons of money on unnecessary things and gifts, it pains my heart... WHY is this world so ignorant in many ways. Would anyone be willing to give up, just following what commercials dictate them to buy, to eat and to do...? And donate that to the Geetas in order they can smile and feel a warm fuzzy feeling of love and attention?
    It was on Decembe 2, 1992 when Pieter had to travel by himself to India for an accute problem they were facing, he for the first time saw the slums of Bombay on his way to the hotel. Where at that time some 2,000,000 people on 1.5 square mile tried to exist. One can hardly call it 'living' and it was and probably still is the most densely populated one in all of Asia. Yes, it is hard on the sould if you live from very happy to very sad moments. Even if we would want to shake up the entire world, they would not listen as most are way to self-conserned, look at all the 'selfies' that are being taken... Especially the youth is so spoiled rotten; almost in a very negative way as they no longer can handle any adversity in life and hence the high suicide rate.
    We cannot realize enough how privileged we all are. For most people that never left their home town, they absolutely have no clue about what they are talking and one hardly can blame them...
    Yes, after Pieter had seen that slum area, I too witnessed it and it hurts so much that you feel sad, guilty, helpless, angry and probably all of these emotions at once.
    It did change my life in a big way. I will never, ever complain about anything. Just close my eyes and think about those poor souls or think about those big eyes of little kids having to beg for existence. And all the spoiled people in the Western world can utter is: 'Oh I am very much against child labor...' when rugs are being hooked or other handcrafts done by children. But if they would not do that, there would not be anything to eat! It is a necessity to survive; no choice and what would those that oppose child labor suggest to give them instead? Nothing... I'm afraid. Just hollow phrases, that they cannot even feel in their heart what they mean.
    Okay, you did touch my soft spot again and especially as the Christmas catalogs come triggering in, it makes me cringe each time. We do celebrate Christmas but in the religious way and not overly commercial as we cannot do that any longer...
    By the way, most tourists that don't live and work in India will more than likely bypass those areas and are still unaware of this need, this void that needs to be filled.
    Sending you a big hug and feel blessed, so blessed, even with a bleeding heart but who knows what you gave Geeta, she will always be able to dream about her Mama and also about that kind woman that lifted her spirit up.
    Mariette

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    1. Thank you so much my dear Mariette, for taking the time to leave such heartfelt and amazing words here... Yes, it has its ups and downs for sure. Your words brought tears to my eyes (yet again)- because I see that you understand it also.. you know... I so appreciate your wise and warm feedback. my dear dear friend, and I couldn't agree more.. Sending you warm hugs and my best wishes to you :-)

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  5. It takes a courageous soul to do what you do, especially in a country like mine where we can be so fickle and cold hearted at times to the sorrows of our own.
    As a doc, I have to see poverty at the most basest level and I can tell you this - do not allow it to overwhelm you. It comes down to the basic difference between sympathy and empathy. They need us to help them get through their worst sufferings... but don't forget, we too need to have those moments of hope for a better day.
    Find time to seek out a happy moment every day, no matter how dark the sorrows around u...

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    1. Thank you so much Roshan. Your kind and wise words means a lot to me - and I appreciate you taking time to write this. It's a consolation, definitely. Sending you best wishes, and thank you so much again:-)

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  6. I have tears in my eyes reading this, Eli.

    I remember seeing families begging on the streets during a visit to Mexico City in 1996. It was a world I'd never encountered before; the emotions my naive self felt then have stayed with me over the years, and affected my actions.

    Your graphic "No one can do everything, but everyone can do something" is so perfect.

    I'm glad Greeta could bring sunshine to your day with her sunflower, and it's healthy she can express her love for her Mom. I wish her, and you, more sunflower moments.

    Klem fra Bergen!

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    1. Oh, dear Cindi. Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing your own memories. Warm hugs back to you

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  7. Beautifully written! I appreciate your kind heart and the efforts you are making in bringing the change. You are right, we cannot do everything, but at least something. Lots of love to you! :)

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    1. Thank you so much dear Renuka. That is so kind:-) Lots of love back sweetie

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  8. First of all, let me give you a virtual hug, Eli! You know, as I read your post my mind immediately thought of how much we can learn from Geetas of the world. Instead of "us" helping "them" perhaps it is people like Geeta who help us more by making us more compassionate, tender and gentle, and also more aware of the paradoxes of life. We may feel that we are doing something for them, but perhaps in a way they are giving us more than we can ever imagine. And what they give to us will be known to us only much later in our life when we are more evolved and more in tune with our inner being....I don't know but these are the thoughts that came to me as I was reading your post. Truly a touching post and one that gives a peek into your gentle and loving heart. Be well, my friend!

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    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words dear Beloo, and for sharing your thoughts. It is so true what you say.... Sending warm hugs your way

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  9. I think the closely knit support structure (aka relatives, joint families), which was present earlier, is breaking now. Earlier, if there was no one for a child, relatives would come forward to adopt/help. But now, no one seems to bother about anyone, even their close relatives! So much for our advancements.

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    1. That's sad... I hope people will always step up and help a child in need. Thanks for following:-)

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  10. It's really sad when we think of innocent children like Geeta who lost her support system. One can only hope that she is guided in life and get blessing from all quarters. What's a put off are those morons who indulge in rash driving, not realizing how they destroy lives and dreams.
    Hugs and happy budday in advance, Eli:)

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    1. That is true Vishal... Thanks for your greetings and you always so kind words friend. All the best to you

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  11. I know what you mean. Just as you said, no matter how many people you help, there are always many more waiting for their turn :(

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    1. Yes, it is hard sometimes.. Happy to see you here dear Jyotsna:-)

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  12. Oh Eli... I am moved beyond words here and have goosebumps all over my body. Life is a huge mystery and it's sometimes very difficult to swallow the questions that it poses in front of us - especially when they come in the form of sorrows, pain or tragedy. It's in these times when hope of a bright future keeps us alive. Kindness of pure souls keep us strong. I salute you for being the wonderful soul that you are, and I am sure for all the Geeta's out there in the world, God will always make sure to empower one kind Eli so that His children would never feel alone or left out. God bless you dear, take care and lots of love, hugs and power to you!

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  13. Found this blog quite by chance, and I am so glad I did. Yes, so many Geetas out there and maybe you made a difference to that ONE. I quite endorse the fact that you can have a myriad of emotions in this city. It is what keeps it going, I think.

    I do hope your Geeta has a happily ever after, though.

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  14. I really believe that people come to us for a reason. Geeta has come into your life to teach you something, and you her...
    I often feel the same feelings when I'm in India and I see young girls on the road, or mothers with babies...you just don't know what to do...

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