<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Rachel Kellett: Life and Times

Life and Times

2003 Sarnath Lepper colony & Varanasi with Tsultrum

Tsultrum on Mother Ganga.
Cold day in January tsultrum
Kit flying on Sunday
Dhobi Ghat
Boat of plastic bottles
Wood for burning Ghat
David accompanying the famous Dhrupad brothers, the Gundecha brothers, taught by the also famous Dagar brothers. Ganges View Hotel, Varanasi sometime in December 2003
David and Avital

Dear Jan

One December Sunday morning, Lenny took me to visit the leper colony just outside Sarnath. He regularly visits once a month, making sure they have enough potatoes and rice. He's got some small 'funding' from an American woman to buy these two basic foodstuffs for them.

Shiv Pujan (seen here patting the dog) lived at the centre for some years, inspired by a Christian Father who was resident there. He visits every Sunday to bring company and make sure things are as ok as they can be. (He lives in a near by village, and has a business of weaving string on 20 or more Health Robinson like looms in his house).Shiv Pujan is also a teacher of Hindi - should you ever wish to learn this washing line writing and speak these words.
The place is surprising, green and spacious - amid the chaos of India. The land was brought and built on in the 1930's by a philanthropist Doctor originally as a TB centre. It is somewhat run down now, but secure for as long as one leper lives. The land is valuable and there is a feeling of waiting for the last leper to leaves.
Behind Lenny and Shiv Pujan sits Patak, a kind of headman, who has been here for about 20 years. In front of Lenny is a car radio - given to him by a Dale, a past volunteer, which is Patak's pride and joy, and he seems to listen to it most of the time (and therefore has a desperate need of batteries whenever Lenny goes shopping)
This man looking up is the oldest leper here. He can remember the buildings being built. He came 40 years ago and he told us in a very straight forward way he is impatiently waiting to pass into the next life. He is a devote Hindu and worships an ancient god called Shanka.
It's the cold season and lepers are particularly susceptible to chilblains, so Lenny has organised the bulk purchase of vasseline. Ram Naresh is proudly demonstrating to Lenny how little he has left.