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 🙂