Sunday, December 30, 2012

At year's end

December has been horrible.

The stress of the 16 Days Campaign. No matter how much we plan. No matter how great the team. No matter what, this is a pressure cooker period for all of us.

Through December, my Periamma was very, very, very ill and she left us on December 15. That's December's worst blow. It's such a big loss that I haven't wanted to say it aloud. I can't write about it. I don't want you to know because then it won't be true. If it's not true, we will still see her again. So don't read this post that I so desperately need to write.

And then the Delhi gang-rape and everything that has followed. Horrible for all of us. For me too, even if I don't outrage or lament or rage or cry. Particularly because we talk about these things all year. Just spent an intensive 16 day period of doing absolutely nothing else. And when I see people react as if they didn't know these things happen, I don't know what outrages me most. I want to cry because the task is so enormous, it sometimes feel futile. Will my feeble voice be heard in the cacophony?

An assignment that is endless and in content, just as depressing as anything, is like the blight. I cannot see the beginning or the end of it, and I am writing in small sections that don't add up to anything in my head. The template is not mine. Nor are the strictures--and there are many strictures. And yes, it's about the same kind of thing: the misery of women in times of conflict. Except that the point is to contextualize policy strategies to change that. But I can't feel that point in my heart right now.

And through much of this, the grief has just sat there like a massive rock in my heart. I cannot afford to look it in the eye really. It would engulf me and this work would never get done. It's another matter that work is going really slowly anyway. The body and the heart are so weighed down with sorrow that the brain is not really interested in anything.

Someday, I will be able to tell you what a wonderful Periya-Amma I have had. Someday.

December has been horrible. And yet, in comparison to the lives I read about for my work, it's been an absolutely marvelous time. I have been safe. I have been warm. I have had food, clothing, shelter, family and friends. And the Internet. And quite a bit of electricity and clean water.

And someday, this grief will lift and transform into something that is easier to carry around. It will not snowball so rapidly into anger and annoyance and resentment and fury and sorrow and blankness and slow-wittedness and impatience with the world and with myself. But that's not this evening. Someday.

I sit here, chip-chipping away at small tasks. This is all I can do. This is all I can do. And do it, I must.

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