Feelings / [onarvu]

Wow, so cool!

I’ve wanted to share NVC with the workers for a long time. I mean, they know I do something “different” – most recently Murugan said something like “L’aura is the way she is (such a chilled-out boss, who doesn’t say ‘no’ to requests for leave) because of “ennveess”! (*See below for more on this.) It was really cute! Karthik, Angela and I laughed and said “enn-vee-ceeeee.” I was amazed that he had actually picked up the label – from where?! I’ve always just referred to it as my “work,” you know – what-I-do-with-Saleem, or the reason-I-travel, or my “meetings.”


Yesterday we started off workers’ meeting with a feeling (or “onarvu” in Tamil) check-in. Ruba has been asking for English class, and I’ve been wanting to work on my Tamil, so I thought we could turn this into an English-Tamil-NVC thingie! Yes! Ruba is the only one who can read and write, so we’re writing it down for her – and for me! And for the rest, we just share orally and do what we normally do – laugh and tell stories!

Murugan felt unhappy, because he had to go to mom’s to fix her sink drain, and he wanted to be a part of the fun. Yerumalai felt worried, because he wants to redo his roof and, if he takes a loan, is not sure how he’d pay it back. Ruba felt uncomfortable because we were doing something new and unfamiliar, and she feared reading English in front of the others. Savandary and Ishama both felt nervous and scared, not having enough money to maintain and repair their homes. Karthik felt lazy, because he had worked a lot the day before and wanted to rest his body a bit. Angela felt grounded and more peaceful, compared to the space she had been in the evening before. I felt excited to be doing something new and curious to see what would emerge in the coming weeks.

I think today we’ll look at feelings again, and then maybe translate some of their jackal stories into feelings. Or maybe look at where their feelings come from… Cool, I’m excited! NVC instead of work!


(*In connection to the story above) It was actually really cool. We were having a heated debate about power and who’s in power here. I chose to bring this topic up with the workers, after being quite upset receiving feedback from Angela and Karthik that I’m too chilled out with the workers and that “I shouldn’t give them leave” as often as they ask for it. Holy cow! I just had a “I have no power to not give them leave! You’ve gotta be kidding if you think I have power over them – to what, tie them up and say ‘you have to work now!’? You want me to say ‘no,’ just so that they learn to lie instead (to exert their own power…)? Oh my gosh…” Anyway, we had the coolest discussion with the workers, which is a whole other blog entry dying to be written. This is where Murugan’s comment came from…

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