May the Lord of Love protect us
May the Lord of Love nourish us
May the Lord of Love strengthen us
May we realize the Lord of Love
May we live with love for all
May we live in peace with all.
OM shanti shanti shanti
[Katha Upanishad intro]
For a while, my internal monologue acquired a British accent, like the voices I was surrounded by daily. Now, the Americans and British have left, and the French and Spanish have taken over. My internal monologue speaks to me in Spanish and I understand only fragments.
It is 11pm and still the taxis roam the streets, honking their horns incessantly just to make themselves known, just to prove they exist and have a right to be. Occasionally prayers can be heard from a passing loudspeaker attached to a van, sometimes a Hindi song. On my rented bed in this Kolkata guest house, I contort my body into different yoga poses I learned in the Arizona metropolis, wringing out my body like the salwar kameez I wash daily. Someone sprays something sweet and the room fills with a fruit-like aroma. I think of the books I am reading, Three Cups of Tea and Cycling Home From Siberia, about how they are both about going places, being somewhere else, somewhere unknown, foreign. I think of how suitable that is. Interrupting my thoughts , an English expletive screams through my mind as another sharp pain shoots through my stomach. The only comfort afforded tonight is the cool breeze being blown into the room by the fans. For this, Lord, I am thankful. Otherwise, I would be covered in a sticky layer of sweat all night, making the ache in my stomach seem so much worse.
I call Ahad to let him know I will not be making it to church tomorrow. He lets me know he can't go either because he has also been in bed with a fever. We chatted about the day and how we were feeling and as we said goodnight, he interjects, "Wait! Wait! I practiced today!" He asked me to repeat the words I had taught him as he spelled them out slowly, carefully: "Bed. B...E...D. Dad. D...A...D. Fed. F...A...wait, no no, E...D." I told him he is doing a wonderful job and we said goodnight.
That was Saturday night, the middle of my bedridden stupor. I stayed in the house from Thursday night until Monday morning, not able to eat or really drink anything because of this stomach bug, when I finally had the strength to go outside. Now, on Tuesday evening, I still have no appetite, but I am making myself eat and drink plenty of water. Yesterday, Sister Mercy made me drink two liters in front of her, and I told her I'd drink at least six by that evening. I drank five and started my sixth, but didn't finish by the time I fell asleep.
My computer has also been on the fritz. I think it's the charger, but I haven't had the chance to get anyone around here to look at it. I don't even know if they will sell this kind of charger here. I'll keep a lookout. For now, I will have to settle with internet cafes with sticky keyboards, which is why you may find several spelling errors in this blog.
I am now off to give Ahad another English lesson. I may introduce him to the letter G today.
- Improving health!
- Daily guidance
- For Ahad's heart to be open to the Gospel
- For the Missionaries of Charity to have all their needs met so they can continue ministering to the poor of Kolkata