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Time for organizing

The plate is full to the extent it is overflowing, while energy levels do not match up to it. But that does not stop the flow, only slows it down.

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On the one hand there is research- reading, writing, interviews (yes, the process of gathering data has begun), more reading, more and more reading…dogs, Raga, Ginger -both of who are suffering, the birds, the students- everyone having a different need or composition to be taught, my own learning of music (just learnt two more bandishes in Raga Durga). I just don’t seem to get a grip on things, as they move at their own pace. There is so … so much to do: the day just flies …

in music…

But today is dedicated to music. I began with playing my own CD…it seems so faraway, so long back, that I recorded the CD- it has been around on the internet too for so long. I just love this particular ghazal in it.  So after a long time, today this ghazal coursed through me- reminding me of all the pains the heart hides. And then the pains and tribulations of the day took over. Raga came upstairs today- I brought here along, as I thought the weather is so beautiful, a cool rainy breeze blew in the morning, but then the clouds came and she tried to crawl behind me, in a bid to scamper away. All her life she remained fearful of winds, rain and the clouds- also thunder. Ditto with Ginger- who learned to mimic Raga’s behaviour. It has been a nightmare when Raga was agile- she would try climbing on my bed if I would be asleep or Ginger would sit on my pillow. I have had a nightmare with these two.

with the dogs…

Anyhow, I had just had the first bite of my upma, when Raga tried to crawl feebly under the dining table, and in that bid, toppled one of the chairs on her. I rushed to help her, as did Ilma, only to see that Raga was in a pool of her urine. So we cleaned up, and she looked at me helplessly. She has always been such a beautiful, clean dog, that to see this phase of her life is a very painful part of my own journey in life. I used to always think that the German Shepherd has such a beautiful tail, which she also has naturally enough.

Nikki and Raga in Cupangale hillside

But then just see what life has to show you. Every day nowadays, since she has no control over her bowel and bladder movement, and she is not able to evacuate them fully …her beautiful tail is smeared in her excrement or urine. I feel it is a great lesson to me personally, to never get attached to the physical beauty of anything. And then poor thing, she looks at me in a mute way, as though say, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to do this.

I see a new side of me with this experience of Raga, which I did not know or imagine. I have never lost a minute in cleaning her, or scolded her or left her in her mess, even for a second…I have tried the best to keep her as clean as I can manage- changing &washing her sheets multiple times as per requirement, keeping a mackintosh under her so that the mattress she sleeps on don’t get soaked in urine, washing the mackintosh (I got three now), cleaning parts of her with water, washing her feet, drying up her hind legs which get soaked in urine, picking up the poop everyday…it is all labour and it comes without an announcement. Several times, when I am sitting on the computer and studying/writing, I smell the smell and I know she has defecated. It is another such moment. There have been times when she has defecated and then dragged herself in it- in other words she is smeared with her excreta as well as the floor. Its not easy. But I did not see even a flicker of anger in me…ever. How did that happen? I did not know I was capable of this extent of patience- especially because I don’t seem to have it with everything else.

She also indicates her discomfort by making a oo-oo sound (ooh, ooh, clean me up). At night, it may be any time…2 o’clock, 4 o’clock, I have always responded to my dogs. I never thought I would be able to handle this last stage of life of my girl with such calmness,  while remaining in pain all the time myself. But I suppose life is all about understanding ourselves and the ones we love- how much we can serve them. Raga’s disability is a profound learning experience. I am seeing her calmness all the time- she may be in pain, or suffering, but she does not say anything. At most only with her bowel and bladder issues she makes a noise. (Just now, while writing this post, I had to go out with her, at her beckoning, to help her have a bowel movement. The temperature is upwards of 40 degree, and standing in the heat balancing the animal on  my left arm, and ensuring that neither of us should trip over seems very tricky at this time of the day- around 2:00 pm). I am also trying to manage the four-seven dogs (varies every day) outside the house, who I feed regularly. Yesterday, I also 18556271_10210346797719515_2401334130308584981_ndewormed the puppies! All at Andre’s behest.

I may not be able to write another post in June. Ginger just turned 11 two days ago- on the 6th. She is also not too well- the ear infection that she brought from Goa, never really got okay. Today it is a year that all three of us – me, Nikki and Ginger returned from Goa by plane along with Gokul, who came to help me with the dogs. There is so much water under the bridge. Soon it would be a full year of my actual return- on the 1st of July and half the year would be behind us.

dabbling with research issues…

I have got the ball rolling on the empirical side of my research- meeting individuals given diagnosis and their families. Haven’t met any families yet, but two individuals. I also wrote a blog post about it on another blog, but that has no relevance here. There is a journal article that I am toying working on, and as usual my website- the pain of the website never ends! May be I am the pain, who never resolves to have a final version of it. But no matter what I do, another side just pops up and tells me that I should be doing that now. Just when I started the school of music, (not that I have really made it grow big like a real school), the need for teaching counseling comes up. Like me and Andre are fond of saying about our lives- there’s never a dull moment!

of course students…

I think the sort of emotional relief I get with students is unlike any other thing- because the flow of knowledge is so easy and seamless here. And I feel relieved to share so many different things in the course of one week. One learns one raga, one another, a third learns something simpler. Songs, bandishes, and my own learning with my Guru, they compliment one another in a heady mix.

and the garden…

I sometimes wonder if I am really doing a phd- when I seem to all the time be enjoying myself, watering the garden, feeding the birds, cleaning the bowls and baths for the birds (at least three-four around the house), the big dog water planter I have put outside the house…

Nowadays I can see the bhindi plants coming up, where the Salvia grew in the winter. This summer I have had a huge loss of plants due to the heat. Too many plants, too many attempts. Finally I am seeing one creeper, a few bhindi plants and a some tiny sprouts of coriander coming out. My lemon grass has died in the heat, so has the spinach- not shown any growth. No sign of cucumber plants or anything else. Neither lettuce. The weather has been horrible.

I have not been able to stay connected to many …relatives, friends, neighbours or anyone else. Not even friends on Facebook. What to do? How much can a person manage alone? Nothing is easy and the plate is too full for now. In other words I may not be able to manage another blog post either. But when I do, I do hope that something nice will be there to record then- which i will read 20 years later and tell myself that yes, even at 45, I was doing something useful in my life. 

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