Zendagi (life)

Axel has an enormous collection of Indian music in addition to a bunch of Indian playlists on Spotify. Only on the mornings when I stay home do I get to listen to them. I like the Indian music, especially the peppy songs. I can imagine the music videos that one could make with that music.

But this morning, before heading out to his yoga class he put on very mournful Indian music. I recognize some of the Hindi words that probably come from Persian, and which I learned in my Dari classes; words, like zendagi (life) and hamkara (colleagues).

The combination of these words and the mournfulness of the music make me think of M. whose young son died about a month ago, after we came back from Maine. I talked with her before we went to Maine and she was bored in her new life in Amman, waiting anxiously for her two boys to be back in school. Their school in Afghanistan had closed more than half a year before because of threats and the boys had been climbing up the walls, until they left for Amman. And now this; zendagi, life, and then it is gone, suddenly. I have only electronic means to comfort her but it doesn’t work. I don’t think there is room for electronics in her grief. I remain a very sad bystander.

And then there was P, whose wedding I attended in Kerala in 2010 and who was going to have a baby about the same time that Saffi was born. But she died at the start of this year due to an ectopic pregnancy and life ended, for P and her baby to be. My friend, her mother in law, posted pictures on facebook of the happy couple and my heart broke. It’s breaking over and over again as this Indian music tells about other lives that ended long before old age took over, and of the grief stricken survivors. As a Quaker, we are using language such as ‘holding people in the light,’ the ones who have gone and the ones who are still here. Sometimes I wonder, does this light thing actually touch people they way I would like it to?

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