“Your move sister!”
“There can be no move; it’s a check-mate”
“I know, but I just wanted to rub it into you”
“What are we doing here Sr. Catherine?”
“Chilling” as the kids would call it Sr. Anita”
“We have to finish our prayer, Sr. Anecdote would not like that; and I did not finish the correction and…”
“Araam Karrii (Relax) Anita, You think too much!”
Sr. Catherine always vouched for me, in this saintly life I found her to be my role model and my light, she always had that charisma which the other sisters were jealous about, she’s more like a mother to me because I’m a junior sister and she’s a senior sister so that creates that motherly bond. Being a sister of the Church of Our Lady of health gave us sister’s some repute, but that was not my main point of concern in life, for me it was refuge.
“Come let’s leave”
“Tell me something Anita, your young, Beautiful, attractive, talented; why lead such a life?”
“It’s not my choice Sr. It’s the path of god I have chosen; god decided it.”
“Anita, come on; now you are being harsh on yourself, tell me Chardu (Child)”
“I’m not, I’ve lived life at the mercy of man now I want to be succumbed into the light, free of this materialistic thing called as love”
“Were you in love Sr. Anita?”
I see a smile so decisive like I had never seen before, her round glasses were at the tip of the nose as her big round eyes glared at me.
“Some other time Sr. Catherine, I’ve got other things on my mind for the moment”
“Now’s the best time child, let it go, don’t hang on to the past”
“My past is my present and my future for now”
“You make no sense”
“Relax; let’s get back to the convent”
Life at the convent was more comforting and secure for me, do the menial jobs, sit down and meditate and pray until dinner, finish preparing for the next day and sleep with nothing to fear. Sr. Catherine always tried to break through my introvert wall but could never succeed because I was the special recruit in the entire convent. Some hated me, some sympathized me but I just did my duty. There is thing about how my life brought me here, I never imagined after all that had happened, I would become a nun. It was strange because I wasn’t given much work, they made use of me mostly during the mass and plays, where I would play the guitar and sing. That was my true talent. I’d quote Sr. Martha: “It’s been a long while since we had a nun who could play the guitar and sing, heaven has come to us”. It was encouraging for me at that time. I had fun only in the classroom where my kids would make me feel special in a way where no one can imagine! I love them, they love the English classes I give them; the math class bores them and puts them to sleep. The school is an amalgamative action taken by the Agnel Orphanage and Our Church. Its fun, we get our pocket money to spend on petty items like, books, soaps, toiletry items, movies, etc.
My relationship with Sr. Catherine is special; she picked me up from the darkest corners and gave me salvation! A motherly figure, someone who gives warmth and comfort, where she is so full of life and doesn’t seem to care about the convent rules (maybe because she’s a senior sister or she just doesn’t), everybody loves her for her joyous attitude and her wisdom. She loves, John Lennon and is a big fan of him as well as Our Lord, she has all the songs.
We get two hours of spare time, no prayer, no work; you are free to do what you want up to 6 pm, that’s the deadline otherwise you would be “punished”.
She takes me out during that time, I don’t like to go out much but she pulls me out from the convent. Goa is in her blood, she talks about her childhood, her love affairs, her spiritual transformation and keeps molding me to have a different approach towards religion.
Sometimes we go for a movie and come late, and she takes the blame for it; and if it’s food, there is no stopping her. She would indulge in all cuisines, sometimes she would take the orphan kids along and they’d play by the beach and I would just watch. Sr. Catherine is very dear to me, I fear of losing her and when I confess about it, she tells me: “I won’t leave you until I have made you a strong woman”. This gives me relief and also doubt.
One day we went to the beach with the kids…
“Sanjog, Kona aassa (Who is it?)”
“No one, Sr.”
“I’ve been looking at you looking at that girl who is looking at you” “She is cute, go and ask her if she wants to join us”
“No no Sr. she’ll say no”
“How do you know that? Go; try to do things before coming to an impossible conclusion”
How does she do that, she is a nun yet she’s so free and open minded about life, it’s something I have yet to learn.
“I see a lot of eyes on you Anita”
The same smile again.
This time I blush, natural tendency for a young girl I presume.
“Aha, nice nice; someone is opening up”
“No matter, come kids lets go eat some ice-cream”
The other sister believed that my beauty was a problem, where I never believed I was beautiful or that the exterior part of my body mattered at all until I was corrected or humiliated with utmost humor by Sr. Catherine: “Philosophy is not for you, you think any boy will look what’s inside your heart at the first go? We are human beings with hormones; we are attracted to the exterior first then we decide if it is only the exterior that we are satisfied with or who the person really is?”
There was always a special day for the kids to go out the whole day and have fun, two classes with two sisters were sent out as batches and they decided where they wanted to go. I thought the 5th standard students while Sr. Catherine thought the 7th standard students, she made few adjustments in the list as I was supposed to be accompanied by Sr. Francesca of the 6th standard class.
We decided to go to the carnival which was happening by the beach. The budget was a little out of hand but the kids wanted to go so I and Sr. Catherine pooled in with our own money.
Tomorrow would be an exciting day…
To be continued …