Hello everyone! Again I have taken my time to get around to supplying you with an update of the times spent here in Kolkata!
Unfortunately part of the reason there has been a delay this time around, is that we have all suffered a loss of a friend and collegue, and I didn't think I could summon the energy to really accept it.
It has been just past 2 weeks since the beautiful Shanti, a friend to so many, and the owner of the most incredible smile, ended her life due to circumstances we can only guess and wonder about.
Many questions have crept into all of our minds of, "Why?", and the initial devastation and shock completely consumed us for the first few days. Yet Freeset is such an incredibly supportive and strong community, and it is truly one of the most heart-touching experiences I have had, to really be able to see those support systems that only death can make visible to the eye.
The day after Shanti's passing was her funeral, and was the first (and hopefully last) Hindu-style funeral I have attended. It felt very strange and numbing to be attending a funeral for a 22 year old friend, when I was unable to be at home for my Grandmother's just a few weeks before-hand. Very sobering.
The way that funerals operate here are very overwhelming, and I found it easier to numb myself to it, and just watch - it almost felt like I wasn't there in myself - as the wailing, sobbing, fainting, and intense incense smoke around me really hit the senses. Back home, grieving seems to be more of a private affair, and here open grieving is expected... it is all very raw.
What made it all seem very surreal was that when we were down at one of the ghats for the funeral to take place, is that it is a public funeral site, so we were in a large room with about 4 other deceased people. It was all just too much to even begin to take in, really.
We continue to grieve for Shanti, still question why, but we will always think of her as being one of the kindest, most sweet people we have known.
Despite all of this, we have still managed to smile through other occasions, such as a final girls-night-out before Maire and Dan welcome a little baby to the world!
|Anna, Annie, Judy, and Deborah.|
|Our delicious Italian food!|
|Sarah, Pip, Maire, and myself.|
The following photos are from before Shanti's death:
|A lovely lunch date with Judy - reminds me of this time... here.|
|We even swapped half-sandwiches! Yumbo!|
|And then it was Kerry's 50th birthday, so we celebrated by smearing everyone with cake!|
|Lovely Annie!! I adore this woman.|
|Justin. What more can I say, huh? :)|
|Erika, moi, and the old-fella in the background.|
|The second cake, that was 70% used as face 'paint'.|
|A week or so before this, we had Mai's baby shower! This here is Sasha, she is awesome and lives in Thailand!|
|A slightly creepy looking baby...|
|This is inside the Freeset creche - I love this wall so much!|
|Before the 'feeding'.|
|Beautiful Esme about to be spoon-fed...|
|One of the games was to draw on a plate, and mine was one of the two winners! Yay! (I won henna - yussss).|
|Maire opening her gifts, aided by Mikayla.|
|The yummy cupcakes that Sarah baked!|
|Another night we decided we needed a night out for dinner at Macambo's, so we whisked Sasha off with us and enjoyed a great meal together! (I especially loved being in the company of a Kiwi around the dinner table!).|
|Judy and Erika.|
|Anna and Justin.|
|Nate and myself.|
|Using all the toothpicks for their REAL use - beard decorations.|