Honesty starts with 'I don't know'
I keep finding myself standing in a dark hallway, full of snapshots of observations hanging on the wall. I have a couple of matches to light them up, then proclaim what I saw in them.
I am on a train in the night, flying past a town with a couple orange streetlights, and I am to declare if I observed the layout of the buildings.
I am putting a puzzle together with chopsticks, and 400 pieces are missing.
This is how I feel when sharing my observations in group.
We see workers spinning silk off cocoons .
We stroll across a sewage treatment reservoir catwalk like tourists through a park.
We see jaggery being boiled in a steaming open building. Strained fresh from elephant sized bundles of sugar cane, just chopped and hauled by ox cart.
We stand with craned necks under bird-whitened tree canopies learning of the plight and decline of pelicans and painted storks.
I almost want to cover my ears when Bhargavi starts to speak, shell shocked from the bombardment of information we receive daily.
It’s like trying to water a vase of flowers underneath Niagra Falls.
With all this discovery, a simple observation is usually an easy commute.
So What is where I slam the brakes. The alert rickshaw driver in my mind runs into a jam. Wedged behind a red light, between a bus and a concrete shoulder.
Do I indict the quality of life of the silk workers? Their 300 rupees per day is more than minimum wage, working 7 hours. Are they content in what we see as a poor job?
Should I decide to be outraged at Bangalore’s lack of tertiary water treatment, when I can’t list the primary and secondary treatments?
Am I that awful swimming pool lifeguard, desperately searching for injustices to blow my whistle at? An overzealous bouncer looking to break up a fight that isn’t happening? Is this the crusade?
I am back in the dark hallway of my observations. The match is almost out, and burning my finger. I still can’t make out any of the photos.
There’s a hand on my shoulder.
The GCIL Family is here too, and they have some candles and beedi. We light a few, and illuminate a little more of the hallway.
I speak up:
“What do you think that is?”
“I don’t know, we may have to look into it some more.”
“I have some ORS if you need some.” “Yeah, let me get two. I don’t know if I will need one later.”