You’ll all be delighted to know I had a bit of a dodgy stomach this morning but absolutely refused to miss out on our last day at Prem Dan. I was a bit apprehensive about the morning walk as it is Eid day today – the day of celebration after fasting for Ramadan – meaning we were expected goat slaughter to be a-happening in feast preparation. But thank god none of that was about and the streets were totally empty (you can’t appreciate what this means when normally it is difficult to walk anywhere there’s so many people) as all the men were praying at various points. Roads were closed, slum streets so much emptier, and you didn’t see one single woman. I guess they were cleaning or cooking at home preparing things. It was weird but very nice for our last walk to the Mother House. And the biggest bonus was there wasn’t a scrap of meat we had to walk past!!
So if you’ve read my previous blogs you may realize that we were in the middle of the miss you, love you, thank you chant this morning with all the volunteers and Sisters. It was a laugh until one of the adorable Sisters nodded her head at me and kept her gaze totally fixed on me as she sand whole heartedly “we love you love you love you” – that made me well up and I couldn’t look away for some reason. Aw. We got a photo pass from them so we could take pics in the home (a privilege only for your last day of volunteering) and the cutest Sister have us a little thank you envelope each – filled with Mother Teresa stuff but its the thought that counts aye. Then we departed for the bus with Chiara (learnt how to spell her name today).
I told myself to be strong today but I had many big moments. The first being seconds after I arrived out at the laundry station! Do you remember the lady I said was fascinated with y necklace and then tightened her grip on it suddenly the other day? She was helping with the laundry today and the second she saw me she had the biggest smile and was all giggly and just wrapped her arms around me. This was extra sweet as all these people here are teeny tiny – so her head was on my chest – it was the sweetest hug. That was well-up número uno.
Número dos was Shakey Hand who’d had her arm round my shoulders the other day was very affectionate today. Lots of cheek kisses and just wanting to be really close, she really wanted some love today and it’s like she knew.
Our Storyteller – beautiful little lady who is always grabbing your hand when you pass and kissing them – was emotional today too. She was sitting with a Japanese girl for a long whole today and did the usual and grabbed my hand when I walked past. She started her normal chatting away in her language but was a bit teary which was enough for me. Then the Japanese girl randomly said “she’s saying that when we go, she cries, because she is alone. She says she loves us all so much.” That was it. Full on crying. I scolded her for making me cry and she laughed and wiped my face with her hands. So lovely. Cry número tres, tick.
Little skeletal Original was still in bed and at a very funny angle today but when I first went over to see her she smile a big fat smile and starts chatting away – what a nice surprise! I stayed with her for ages. However the next few times I visited her she had clearly had her medicine and was sedated/very angry and didn’t interact much. The last time though I kind of begged her a little to respond in any way to me being there and she took about five minutes and probably a lot of energy to move both arms to find my hands and hold them. She also tried to take my hands to touch her forehead, which means thank you, which got me going. Cry number four!
My last few moments in the house were saying goodbye to Shakey Hand. We really bonded and I actually love this tiny speechless lady with the hit brown eyes and the shakey hand and the habit of grinding her few teeth she has left. She was already in bed by the time is finished and was going around saying bye to the ladies, as when I went over she patted the bed again for me to sit with her. I said I can’t and she patted it again harder. I held her hands and kissed them and she kissed mine and then we kissed each others cheeks and she lifted my hands to her forehead. I quickly stood up to go before I burst into tears but she had a surprisingly good grip on my fingers and again I had to prise my hand out from hers. As I walked away I wiggled my fingers at her, we’d been doing this everyday I was at the house, like communicating across the room, and I didn’t want the last thing I did with her to be me wrenching my hands out of hers. When she wiggled her fingers back and smiled her lopsided smile I started to cry and just got the hell out of there.
The autorickshaw ride home shook me out of it, that’s for sure. These things are for four people really and we had SEVEN of us in there today! What a great last ride here in Kolkata. Chiara sat on my lap, Sebastian sat across Adrian AND Jordi’s and Javi was in the front with the driver (was hoping to get a driving lesson haha). It was so funny – those little machines are bloody brilliant and mighty powerful! We were all stuck together with sweat by the end of the journey. Nice image for you, I bet.
We popped to Blue Sky for a small lunch where our favorite waiter pretended I was his and made us laugh a lot – he’s such a nice guy. At 7ish we went to the shop/Internet cafe to get fitted for our Indian outfits for the party! I had about 15 colored/patterned fabrics to choose from so obviously I went for the brightest – blues and pinks and blues and purples and a little green – mostly pink, purple and blue. Absolutely beautiful basically. Two ladies and a little girl with a white Pomeranian (such a shock seeing a PET dog here, there’s just millions of feral dogs on the streets) took me round the corner of a stack of clothes and took about five mins to wrap and pin me into a gorgeous sari. It is officially my favorite outfit ever. Yeah. Ever. I walked up to Javi and his face said he loved it and he looked pretty cool in his white long tunic and trousers! We popped back to the hotel as I was struggling to breathe in the sari haha (no joke I have marks around my waist) and weirdly, although clothes-wise you fit in perfectly on the street the men still whistle and remark when you walk past. “Ooh sari like a proper Indian, niiice.” They don’t have any respect for women here. In the slightest. At all. Ever. We soon headed back to the Spanish for the party and everyone looked brilliant – so colorful and pretty, and all the guys in their white get ups. We sat down and they gave us a few spoons of everything they’d made which consisted of rice and curry and chutney and potato stuff. Everything was of course delicious and the guys were all so nice, really good hosts! The local family of dogs were literally under our feet while we ate and first of all I pushed the curious puppies away but later I couldn’t result having a cuddle while pretending to move the biggest bully pup out of the way. What, I’ve had my tetanus. These pups are about four weeks old but completely used to millions of people around them, music blaring – just a different world. We then succumbed and went indoors to dance – first was lots of Indian music which was so cool then someone plugged their phone in and we moved from Indian to Spanish to English and ended on Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night. Ok good song but Spain is soooo slow on the catch up so it’s still way overplayed there haha. We all sweated and jumped and danced together – there was about fifty of us, all Spanish, few Italians, me, and a few Indians who were AMAZING at dancing.
So this brings us to now, we got back about half ten (early yes but it was a no alcohol party which was very refreshing actually plus we didn’t want to walk home drunk/late and have to walk past the druggies and wake up our guys to let us in) and now it’s midnight – night night!
Tomorrow relax all day, lunch in Blue Sky then taxi at 3 to the railway station to find our train. Wish us luck!