Monthly Archives: May 2017

Post 200. Loving Looli

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Looli and Lata

The year 2002.

After an amazing holiday in Goa, we arrived back to Sarangan’s New Year’s Eve party in G.K. 2,  Delhi.

Towards the end of the evening a few of us were on the balcony overlooking the park. Creeping around in the shadows was a young woman who was very disturbed.   Lata and I went down to talk to her but she “ran” away.  She had a bad limp and it seemed she was paralysed on one side. She kept looking back as we kept calling her. When Lata spoke to her in Hindi and mentioned “Prabhu Yeshu” she came towards us with a big smile. We took her up to the party and the smile stayed on her face as she gobbled down lots of food.  Her name was Looli.

She talked with a slur but we could understand what she was saying. She had lived alone in the park for five years. The residents believed she was insane and violent so they left her alone. It seemed she was happy for them to believe that.  She told us how her family had beaten her and that she was too scared to go home.  It seemed they didn’t understand why she wouldn’t co-operate and being un-educated,  started to beat her to get her to obey them. She embarrassed them. They beat and broke her feet so she couldn’t run away.  She was also burnt with “beedies” (small brown local cigarettes) and cut with knives.

She was filthy dirty and smelled of 5 years of grime and Delhi dust. Her hair was full of lice. Her teeth were yellow and there were bloodstains on her grubby kurta. She was homeless and was more than happy to come home with us.

Lata got her into our washroom and gave her a good scrubbing. We could hear them laughing and chatting the whole time.   With her permission I shaved off her lovely curls so we could get to the bottom of the lice-infestation. She looked so pretty when her teeth were clean and shiny.

We kept her with us for a few days and she was such a pleasure. She was a bit mentally challenged but definitely not stupid. She was bright and loved music. She had learnt the lines, “We will, We will rock you!” from one of the houses around the park and she would slurringly sing it when she was bathing or when we gave her a guitar to “play.”  We gave her little jobs to do and found that she was a perfectionist. Sweeping was her favourite thing and she would automatically clear the table after meals. It was fascinating to watch her.  Lata developed a good relationship with her and they talked for hours at night about her life and Prabhu Yeshu.  Her HIV and TB tests were all clear.

We knew we couldn’t keep her with us forever.  We tried to put her in a place of safety but she only lasted a few days. She was too hard to handle.  When we found out where her family lived, Arun and Tony went to see them.   They told them to treat her well and give her work to do to keep her busy.  They also threatened to tell the police if the abuse continued.  They got the message. It was hard to leave her there, but it was our only option.  All we could do was check up on her every now and again and pray that she would be ok.

Her nickname was “Looli” (Handicapped).   Her birth name was Rajkumari (Princess).

Amazing how much humans can mess humans up.

PS.

Last year (2016) I was driving around G.K. 2 and who should I see on the opposite side of the road, but Looli! I recognised her by her limp and flapping arms. I called to her and I was surprised she knew who I was. I crossed the road and we hugged. She looked so good. She had put on some weight and her clothes were clean. She told me she was with her family and that she was fine.  I had often wondered.

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Post 199. Losing Lata

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Lata was a small, friendly, charismatic young lady in her mid twenties. She was full of energy and talked a lot. She talked a lot about her life of hardship. It was very hard.

She was born in Bombay, never knew her father and had a hardworking mother who gave her to a family member who brought her to Delhi to work.  She went from one domestic job to the other and learnt near- perfect English from the foreign families she worked for. She arrived on a Sunday morning at Madhur Milan and made friends quickly.  Her life had been traumatic from childhood but she had found life and hope in Jesus.

When Santaram died, she offered to help us. We took her on, excited that she was a believer. Lata was amazing to have around and did everything so well and so fast. In the evenings she would sit in the girl’s room doing their hair and they would do hers. She became part of our family.

After about 18 months something started to change.  Lata was getting intense and manipulative. We noticed she had started to complain and her peace had gone. We heard from our security guard that she had started visiting a guru lady who “wasn’t good”.

We left for Australia to attend a conference feeling slightly concerned about leaving the kids with her. Louise Bulley was also staying with them so we thought it would be fine.

We had been away for a few days when we got the phone call that Lata had “lost it”. She had started having demonic manifestations in the kitchen and was laughing loudly and mocking the kids right in their faces. They said she would leave food cooking on the gas and fall on the floor, writhing and throwing pots around. They were so scared. When Josh and Andries came to help, Lata ran up onto the roof, screaming and shouting and wouldn’t be pacified.   When she finally calmed down, Andries and Brenda took her to their house to see how they could help her.  The next day she jumped off their first floor balcony breaking a leg in the jump.

After some tests at Vimhans Mental Hospital, she was diagnosed as being bi-polar and a manic-depressant. We knew there were also some unhelpful spiritual things happening in her life and that wasn’t a good combination.   The police got involved and insisted that Lata sign an affidavit clearing the Lindeques of the insinuation that they caused her to jump off their balcony. It was quite a task. She was manipulative and pretended not to know what we were talking about. It took quite a while for her to sign, but she did.

We arranged for her family from Bombay to take her home. We encouraged her to keep taking her medicine and told her she could come back when she was better.

Within a week her family called to say she was refusing to take her medication and that she was back in Delhi. We saw her a few weeks later and could see that something just wasn’t right. She had lost touch with reality. She blamed us for everything and wasn’t grateful for the help, medical treatment or anything else that had been done for her. It was difficult.   We loved her so much.

That was the last time we saw Lata but our landlord saw her a week later, sitting cross-legged on the pavement with her hands in the air, singing and shouting at the top of her voice.

Lata, the little lady with the big compassionate heart, had helped so much with our Looli. Now it seemed that she, like Looli,  was also lost.

PS.  I have never stopped praying for Lata.  I sometimes find myself looking out for her on the streets of Delhi;  hoping that one day we will find her.

Next post: “Loving Looli” : With a photo of Lata and Looli 🙂