- It takes a village to raise a child - African saying
- Nature is our best teacher
- we are the world, we are the ones to make a brighter day!..

- Natural farming, food forest

- We dig our grave with our teeth

- Freedom of expression is my birth right

- Freedom of speech comes with great responsibility

- I become what I see in myself. All that thought suggests to me, I can do; All that thought reveals to me, I can become. This should be man’s unshakeable faith in himself, because God dwells in him.

- The Mother said - it is not this OR that, it is this AND that
- Life is for living not to understand
‎"Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lost in Translation

Vasentha and the Old Man are engaging me more and more. (I mean beyond the evening tea ritual they’ve pleasantly implemented with me and Monica.)

In turn, I spend long hours wondering if they’re doing their jobs, if I should be giving them more direction, and if so—how?

The nights before Vasentah comes, Monica and I agree upon which tasks we want her to do, then take turns assuming the responsibility of miming the messages to her the next morning.

And the Old Man? Forget about it. I’m in over my head.

But still, they look to me eagerly. They tell me things about the house and the forest and wait for my response. As if I have any clue.

This afternoon they were particularly animated. Something about cashew trees, branches of wood, and something above their heads. A bird was eating the cashews? Is that it? They mimed movement. People are stealing the wood?! What???

They dragged me to a couple sites on the land where bundles of cashew branches rested or where the earth was scarred from a recent fire. They gestured to the surrounding trees and leaves damaged by smoke. They pointed into the depths of the land and hollered wildly. Then they spewed more Tamil and waited for my reply. Four deep brown eyes staring at me. Two mouths biting lips in anticipation.

That’s when I cracked. I fell to my knees laughing hysterically, Gopal kissing my face, the sun beating sweat from every pore in my body. “I don’t know!” I cried through my incessant giggles. “I don’t know what you’re saying, and I don’t know what to do, and I just don’t know!”

The workers laughed too, but I’m not sure they knew why.

I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt and tears burst from my eyes. “I’ve lost it,” I muttered. “I’ve finally lost it.” I called out names of people who surely will not come soon.

Alas, I recovered. There’s a way to fix this, to understand, to explain. I just don’t know it yet. I marched to the kitchen and asked Vasentha for tea. And I learned another lesson in patience.

Everything in Auroville (And perhaps everywhere? It’s just more noticeable here?) happens in its own time, in its own way, and it’s all connected—if only you have faith that the answer will emerge in time. Only moments after I recovered from my fit, a friend who speaks Tamil happened to come by. I begged him to translate.

“They’re just telling you that there’s wood all over the land, not in one place, and tomorrow Vasentha will spend her day carrying it on her head to move it instead of helping indoors. Is that ok?”

I swallowed hard. It was my pride, I think. “So they not only know what they’re supposed to do, but they’re doing it?”

“I guess,” he responded, perplexed by the humor I seemed to find in the situation.

And I laughed some more. “Seri, seri!” I said to the workers. Ok, ok!

I’ll be better at Tamil long before I get better at charades.

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