Today our domestic worker Mary came a little early and was looking rather troubled. I gently enquired and out came the story of a matter of difference of opinion between Mary and her children (one of them is married) and how used she is feeling, etc. As she was describing the chain of events of last evening, night and this morning, she sounded tired and a bit hopeless. I did not know what to do, except to give her a patient hearing and be there lest she needed support. I did not want to patronise her by comforting her or advising her as to what she was to do, etc. I believe she is perfectly capable on making her own decisions on the matter. She possibly needed someone to just listen to how she felt, like we all do from time to time.
Anyway, in the afternoon today, I requested her to teach me to do a diwali rangoli as I am quite the novice there. She agreed and soon enough after showing me a bit here and there, she took charge of the entire rangoli while I became the observer and she continued to draw and decorate. The design was entirely hers although I had offered to provide her some designs or templates but she refused and continued. She finished one part, inspected it for a while, made some corrections and moved on to a new one and from what I had envisaged to be a small one, it became quite a big affair. She was working beyond her scheduled hours and I wondered whether I should remind her about it; but she was having such a good time that I kept quiet. A bit later, it dawned onto me that creative expression are perhaps expressions of our soul, specially when we are in pain and don’t know how to express it in any other way. Many of my poet and write friends have told me that they write better when they are in pain, personal or otherwise.
Mary did the rangoli painstakingly for more than an hour, re touched it, loved that I photographed her work and sent to my daughter, and then told me how good she felt expressing herself the way she did. She said, “finally I feel as though I am breathing again”. I could see what she wished for herself in her creation, as can you from the photograph below.
Happy Diwali to you all