Culture in my face…

Wow… What a different reality… I absolutely LOVE that I live so close to the Tamil village culture, that I have so many chances to experience these human beings “raw,” that they allow me in with such openness and trust, despite the fact that I’m so far removed from their reality, so naive. I could even be viewed as potentially not caring, indifferent, disregarding – all that good stuff…

Wow…

Yesterday I heard a goat crying, and both my ears and the dogs’ ears perked up. We went to see whether there was a stranded goat in the garden, and we found Murugan carrying a little one in his arms. My heart ached (as I love little animals and want them to be happy and safe), and I asked him what was going on. He said he bought it to take home. I wondered if it was for food, and he said, “no, just for home.” I didn’t quite get him – did he mean he wanted to have it tied up, to milk? No, he went on to explain (when the other onlookers had left) that his mom wasn’t well, either physically or emotionally/mentally, that she had attempted suicide twice (jumping into a well), and that his sister too was also mentally unstable – that she had left her husband’s home, thrown 1 lakh worth of gold jewelry in the ocean and was now at his place, talking nonsense and acting “mental.” Wow…

Murugan was almost crying, his voice cracky and eyes a little bloodshot. He explained that he wanted to sacrifice the goat, so that it could die instead of his mom. He believes there’s a bad energy in his house now, as if the devil wants blood from his family – so he wants to offer the goat’s blood and save his mom’s. He said he paid Rs.1000 for it, and that this was a sudden idea that emerged in his desperation.

What was especially touching was his willingness to share all of this with me. Although we’ve shared some interesting conversations in the past (like him actually being richer than me!), Murugan doesn’t always get this personal. I felt honoured… And I also had this longing to be able to connect even more deeply, to really hear and receive him, and to give him an opportunity to share more… I was frustrated with my level of Tamil and my inability to share feelings and needs language with him.

I also had this huge wave of gratitude and wonder come over me – how is that these workers come to work and keep themselves together, when their lives at home can be so challenging and they don’t ask for or get any support?! Again, they give me so much, and what do I give them?! A tiny wage…?!

I mean, I know I give them more than that… I know I give them love and care and acceptance, and fun and play… But still…

When Murugan was heading home, he phoned me up (I was doggie walking), and he said, “Thanks for everything, ya? And happy new year.” (Today is Tamil New Year.) Wow…

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