Today, me and a girl by the name of Theresa from Seattle ended up going to the Mother House to get directions on where we could find the convent Mother Teresa actually lived and worked at for 20 yrs prior to starting her order. Instead of getting directions to the Loreto Convent, a gentleman by the name of Dipankar who just so happened to be going to the Mother House for prayer told us to give him a couple minutes and that he would personally take us there.
With Dipankar being a “man of God” I of course, had to make an exception to the “too friendly” rule I’ve incorporated into my local encounters and so off we went to the Loreto Convent. Could this finally be the CARE MORE type of person I was looking for that could restore some of my hope in the Kolkata people? Time would tell. After the usual complicated route that I’d never be able to back track even if I tried, we arrived at the Loreto Convent, which ended up being about a 30 minute walk. The biggest thing I took away from this experience wasn’t what was outside the Convent, or even the story of Mother Teresa as related to the Loreto Convent, which was still quite fascinating; rather, it was the opportunity to meet Sister Tina, who is the principal of the school the convent runs for displaced girls grades K-12. If there’s one thing that has been just as consistent here as the crazy traffic, the beggars on the streets, and the poverty, it is the sweetness of the Sisters and Sister Tina not only fit the bill of sweetness, but I’d say she sets the benchmark of sweetness that every Sister strives for. Maybe I created the halo in my own mind above Sister Tina or maybe it was legitimate, but either way I could have sworn she had one. Sister Tina’s philosophy on how to make the world a better place...”it needs more love and it all starts with each one of us to love it, specifically our own communities, and all the people within it more. I don’t know if Sister Tina realized it, but she has a lot of CARE MORE in her and it inspired me.
After all of us exchanging hugs and me not wanting to let go of Sister Tina, Theresa, Dipanker, and I hit the road and in walking back I figured I throw out the “long term accommodations” question again and see what happened. Turns out...Dipanker did have a suggestion for me, which happened to be the Salvation Army only a block away from the Mother House. Although I wasn’t that familiar with the place, Dipanker said the Salvation Army was (insert Indian accent here) “a very good place...yes, very good place” and so I decided give it a try. Of course, Dipanker offered to take us there and long story short, I chatted with Captain John and he said he’d be able to find a room for me at a cost of about $100 American a month. Score! As far as what the accommodations look like at the Salvation Army, they really aren’t bad with the exception of not having my own private bathroom and also potentially having to have a roommate. When checking in was all said and done, I guess you could say my soon to be “roomie” also had his reservations about having a roommate and it was later brought to my attention that he put in a request to stay in the dormitory room instead of with me. Not sure how I’m supposed to take this request because essentially he was requesting to be taken out of a room where he’d share it with one person and get put in a room where he’d share it with a bunch of people. Maybe he also has a “too friendly” criteria and I came off too nice when our introductions were made. Regardless, I won’t lose any sleep over it because this means I get my own room and that’s fine by me.
As a side note, while at the Salvation Army I was introduced to one of the tenants there who kind of showed me around and in telling him my name was “Tyson,” I received the usual “Oh...Mike Tyson!” response. Regardless of Mike’s past and his ups and downs, one thing he definitely has going for him that a lot of people don’t is that he is always thought of anytime a “Tyson” in the world has to make an introduction and I’d say that’s quite the accomplishment.
Although Dipanker still pleaded with me to help his family and daughter out financially and I kindly obliged given how good of a deal I got at the Salvation Army, I won't put him in the same category as I have the "other guys" I've encountered so far and that is in large part because he had some pretty good CARE MORE things to say throughout the day, the biggest nugget of wisdom being "you can use your time in the day for good or you can use it for bad and I don't like it when people use it for bad." Whether Dipanker was saying this kind of stuff to me to "plant a subconscious seed" in my head that would eventually result in me giving him 500 rupee or he was in fact sincere about it, either way...I'd agree with him on his philosophy of time and how a person should use it in their day.