Making Peace at the End of the Lane

We have brokered peace in the neighborhood.  We still want to move, but it will not happen quickly.  We simply don't have the money.  But we do have peace for now, and it's been a process involving the neighbors and us, talking, sometimes yelling, but in the end understanding each other better.

First of all, I learned a few weeks ago that the night of "Barbarians at the Gates" the neighbors thought I was calling them all "bastards,"  That's simply not a word I use, or think of as an insult, as some of my favorite people are members of a group of adoptees calling themselves "Bastard Nation."  I was shocked when this news was casually dropped by someone, who had assumed it was true.  I was told, "Well, it upset them when you called them all bastards."  I thought and thought and then realized that when I had yelled out, "Bhaccha" meaning children, trying to say children were sleeping, they heard something else.  That explains the level of rage which had not been present before.  When I learned this I immediately called one of the goondas and explained.  He understood.  I also said how hard it was for me when they threatened to kill me, and he said, "We were drunk!!!!!  We say bad things.  We don't mean it."  I hadn't expected the admission. 

There was another bad night when some young men tried to intervene on our behalf, but they also had their own motivations.  Caught in the middle between factions, we chose to stay with our known neighbors, and defended them against the new outsiders.  It sounds complicated, which I guess it was. 

Things have changed though.  The music doesn't blare any more.  That makes a huge difference.  Over and over we are told they do not want us to leave.  (They have seen our possible replacements, and they would rather have us.)

Last night was the cricket game between India and Pakistan.  I could hear each scoring (of India), cheers coming from the houses around us.  Firecrackers were set off from time to time.  Then India won, and I knew because of the sustained cheering outside.  I somehow felt I should go outside.  Our front gate was locked, and I went out the side door.  The lane was deserted, with people obviously in their houses.  So i stood and yelled out, "Bhallo India!" and a woman ran out and looked at me and I yelled Bhallo India again and she grinned and went running down the lane and next about 20 men came running and screaming to our gate and we were shaking hands and I was saying over and over again, Bhallo India.  Then everyone was out in the lane and celebrating, and I went inside.  I learned today that the girls had been awake and worried I was going out to fight with the neighbors.  I assumed the neighbors were afraid to really celebrate… just a feeling, and I wanted to establish I'm not a grump.  I get pushed sometimes, and I get scared, very scared, and very protective of my kids.

Just yesterday morning I had thanked the young man with the store for keeping the music low.  I think that had been a big factor… the constant music I couldn't shut out.

When I moved here the girls were little.  Now some are big.  Anyplace I move, people will be suspicious of us, what we are doing.  I learned that even in our area there are people who think we are raising the girls to sell the the U.S.  It's just the mentality.

Peace in the neighborhood… a process, an achievement whether it lasts or not.  I feel good about it though… working it out… trying to bridge misunderstandings, trying to keep us safe at the End of the Lane.




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sam
    Apr 05, 2011 @ 10:36:25

    hey. cheers. thats good news. so lot of this tension was xenophobia and misunderstanding.


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March 2011
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