Wednesday, 25 June 2014

In acceptance lies strength ... also ... (varalu)

The village people never cease to surprise me with their infinite dignity..

Varalu makes a 3 second call to me daily to confirm that she has taught Sasi that day. That is the attendence I demanded from her. Sasi, Eashwaramma's grandson, has benefitted so much from her gentle mentoring and guidance- and otherwise that scamp Sasi was on his way to being labelled a dunce, though he is brighter than bright.

Varalu makes the call because with her own three infants she was having to cut the classes too frequently. So I told her that she would not be paid for the days she did not come, and that at her cost she had to inform me of her attendence. The firmness (meanness) worked. Her work became more regular.

Last month, as her children took ill, there were many gaps. I told her that the friend who was paying these 'fees' said to let it go. I meant that the first month her absences would be ignored, and she would be paid in full. Her situation is so pitiable that we need to search our reasons to pay her ! She thought I meant her pay would be cancelled for that month. I realized the misunderstanding today when i asked her if she had collected her 'salary' from the small shop I use as 'banker' to pay her ! She said 'what salary'. Thinking i can cancelled her 'salary' because of many leaves, she had simply taken it in her stride. Not protesting, not demanding at least 50% of the salary. I felt a shrinking that this child had thought i would deny her her small, and so much needed, pay. And had simply not demanded. And she knows me very closely, very well ...

And this power to accept is a deep strength, not a weakness. Which only someone who knows the village people will realize. The oppressor feels diminished and slowly hearts change ...There is  the need for struggle, for satyagraha - and all that strength is also there in the village people . But there is also the other facet of tolerance, which also exists, and is often misunderstood for weakness.

No comments:

Post a Comment