Jet-lag only lasts for a week or so, right? So if my body is still waking me up at 7 am, I take it as a blessing. The longer it lasts, the better, especially since I have no one else pushing me at Sambhavna. The experience is what you make of it.
Even though I've been here before I have forgotten many things. Like how to do laundry with the stale-smelling-environmentally-friendly-non-foaming sabun. I forgot how much it costs for an auto to Manohar Dairy, home of the best chole-bhature. I forgot ho
w everything happens at its own sweet pace; there is hardly a sense of urgency on a day-to-day basis. I forgot how soothing the Islamic call for prayer can be. I forgot that life has been going on without me here. This was most evident when I went to the IJCB office yesterday to meet Rubeena Khan, the RTI coordinator, and found my beloved Hajra-appa scolding someone on the phone.
I was delighted to see her. She hadn't aged a day. The same tightly braided hair, the same commanding husky voice, the same confidence I remembered. It was good to see her. She took us to the survivors' meeting where the men, women, and children were getting ready for the evening rally. Even though the heat beat down mercilessly, the leaders representing the survivor organizations captured the attention of those sitting on the frayed pastel-colored tarpaulin. It was good to see many new faces, and some old ones, like Bano Bi who promised to get me toe-rings if I got her something nice from Delhi.
If you ever get a chance to visit Bhopal, come to Sambhavna. See the type of work the doctors are doing. Talk to the survivors. Attend a meeting or two. And without even knowing it, you'll be infected with the highly contagious magic that sparks enthusiasm in those that have been fighting for twenty-five years. Despite the roadblock they face at every corner, there's no looking back. We can only look forward, toward victory. It's just a few moments ahead.
Sign on a wall outside the Union Carbide factory