STRANGER'S SADNESS

6 March 2016

I had one of the most intense moments of my life yesterday. In words it may just seem like a calm, strange experience but it brought upon feelings and emotions that have never been inside my body before.


I have been living in Faridabad, India for nearly two months teaching the children living in the slums. Throughout my time here, I have been walking the same path, smiling at the same strangers, and occasionally snapping some photos. This week I printed the pictures then went knocking on doors, asking neighbors if they know where the person lives and ringing door bells to distribute these photographs.

This is the last woman I needed to find after over 50 deliveries.

The first time I saw her I said namaste and gave a 'how are you?' in Hindi. I suggestively lifted my camera with a smile. This was the outcome. The next time I saw her, she was sitting just the same way a bit further down the alley. I bought some chocolate biscuits and brought them over to her.. She didn't really say anything and I couldn't even tell if she was happy so I just went on my way.

 

This expression that speaks so loudly seems to be the only one that this woman wears. To me it screams a story of sadness, struggle and pure loneliness.


I found out where she lives and peeked my head over the gate. After my Indian mum shouted a few things in Hindi she noticed us and waved around signaling her family to let us inside. She was sitting on a bamboo bed inside a courtyard surrounded by apartment style homes. She excitedly waved me over to sit with her and held my hands. She could not have been more overcome with emotion by the photo and the sight of this reoccurring stranger.. She was so happy yet inexplicably overcome with sadness.


I quickly found out that this woman is paralyzed. About a year ago she lost the feeling in her legs as well as the ability to speak. She cannot speak a word..

 

We sat there understanding each other through her own way of communicating. For an hour she hugged me, held my hands, and cried touching her throat whimpering the only sounds that she can make. I never wanted to leave her side.. Leave her sitting there in this empty silent life drowning in her trapped thoughts. 


Despite the tears, her happiness showed that she got exactly she needed.. People who finally listened to what she wants to say