Reflection by Sheila Yoder

The tyranny of chaos. I was talking with a friend last night, and he used that phrase. It stuck in my mind because so often in this city, all I can say over and over in my mind is, “Chaos. This is complete chaos.” How true this phrase is: chaos is a tyrant that leaves little room for humanity. Part of my job now is to accompany ladies to the hospital. For the last almost three weeks, I have been going with one of our ladies to have an abscess treated. Last week we had it drained, but we’re still going back and forth to get the dressings changed. Today as I waited in the craziness of the crowds outside where the doctor was sitting, I just kept thinking how hellish the system is. Somehow, people are treated and most often come away better than they were before they walked into the hospital, but there’s absolutely no peace. There is so much fighting and yelling and shoving. At one point, I honestly thought there was going to be a riot because people were cutting in line and it was just a big mob scene. I stood squashed against the wall dumbfounded. I kept thinking how this chaos is not better than the relatively small amount of trouble it would take for those in charge to try to organize people and systems. Because this is all people have ever known, this is all that will every happen until someone has the foresight to make it better. Does anyone know it can be better? Right now, chaos reigns. And he is a hellish tyrant. No one walking out of that room (which was almost as crowded as the metro during rush hour) could feel good about himself. Not that people go to hospitals to feel good about themselves, but at least if there’s organization, you don’t have to fight in the midst of your pain and sickness. What happened inside me in response to this chaos did not catch me by surprise; it happens here all the time, but this time I recognized where the evil effects came from. The chaos surrounding me clawed its way into my heart. I began to resent the people around me, looking down at them for their reactions and their fight. I began to want to fight only for my friend rather than give back as much dignity as possible to the people around me. I felt the hate in my heart. The chaos around me sucked me in and I became part of it. This is the tyranny of chaos: that I can see it for what it is yet still succumb to it. But it’s not the people that I really hate. How can I blame them for simply trying to survive? That, however, is a whole other issue. Oh, but my friend is a trouper. She and I got through the mad chaos and then had tea. On our way to the metro, she bought a vegetable that resembled a cucumber, had it cut with spices put on it. As we were walking to Sari Bari through the Gach, she and I ate our snack. Inwardly, I wasn’t too thrilled about eating the vegetable because it wasn’t washed and who knows how many hands it went through, but I couldn’t say no when she had bought it to share with me.  We walked, laughed and ate our snack through another of Kolkata’s mad, chaotic places, but this time, as I walked with my friend, I felt like a human. I felt normal. There may be chaos all around me, but I must continue trying not to let that chaos infiltrate my heart and soul. If I can keep my eyes on our ladies and the beauty of them, I can detect rays of hope. It’s their friendship and love that make this world and work bearable. I hope that my love and friendship can quell a bit of the chaos of their lives . . . let a little peace flood in. That tyrant can’t rule forever.

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