Wednesday, 16 July 2008

How Nomadic became Jaine

Last night a wood pigeon was torn from its haven up my chimney by the claws of my part Bengal feline beast. Blood, feathers and screams from the children filled the room like some Tarantino take on Santa. The cat was sent to Coventry and sulked in the gardens with sooty paws, whilst I set about making life changing decisions for the pigeon and clearing the bird crap from my fireplace.

Let’s go back 18 months. On divorcing my non compatible other half I was considering surnames. I was certainly NOT going to keep the surname of a white South African oppressor (which had caused me much agro born out of wild assumption for the past 14 years). The name I was born with (and oddly rarely used due to the separation of my own parents) was considered, but as it only represented 50% of me I dug deeper. My mother now has step fathers name, an ugly one I have used in the past and dislike. Her maiden name, was, well really her father’s name and again missed out due regard to my maternal grandmother. I considered inventing a whole new super name. A hybrid of every name I have ever had, or digging up an exciting name of a long lost relation.

Then I made the decision NOT to have a surname. It would have been my fifth surname after all. I’m done with them. I decided to take my middle name Jane and use that instead. My friends said my new name sounded like a cake shop or a dressmakers – but I persevered. I then found myself in India (as any self respecting Nomad does every so often). Unusually for a business trip, I also had some time on my hands, so I spent a whole day exploring Delhi. Art galleries, parks, shopping for shalwars, crazy taxi rides and my last stop, by chance was the Digambara Jain temple. I stopped the taxi (a lovely Hindustan Ambassador run on LPG) and got out, and headed for the crazy throng of people noisily going about their worship. My blondness and white clothing may have made me stand out a little, but I felt right at home. Having spent much time in Buddhist and Hindu temples in Sri Lanka I slipped off my shoes and soon found an inner sanctuary where I could sit and reflect on my surroundings. A few children came in to watch me meditate, but soon left me alone and my mind settled.

An hour later after basking in the warm smells of incense and having an all over feeling of calm (actually heightened by the gentle chaos around me) I looked around for a building that I knew to be attached to every Jain Temple – an animal hospital. Barefoot I trod upon grit and slid on recently disinfected floors, as I toured the cages housing mainly pigeons. If anyone finds an injured or sick bird in Delhi changes are they will bring it here. Jains are known for their compassion for animals and dedication to a pacifist path in life. And I made a decision there and then on the surname. I would insert an “I” (a “me) at the very heart of Jane to make it mine. I would be taking an essence of Jain philosophy with me wherever I went.

So back to the pigeon. There are no Jain Temples in rural Hertfordshire, but I needed to do something. I asked my blogging friends for advice and was overwhelmed with helpful suggestions. Kat (and her litter box) suggested letting nature take its course (surprised “Kat” didn’t recommend letting the cat back in to finish the job). I spent the night thinking about this. I consider myself part of nature, and frankly I would like to help. To intervene. So I am about to take poor frightened bird to the local vets and I will pay handsomely to repair this creature (unless it is considered, like my Landrover, “a total loss”). Someone else suggested blogging about it – this is probably not quite what you had in mind, but I have at last had a chance to feel like the Jaine that I am.


Alex Mcone said...

I'm glad my country helped you find a surname for you.

As for the pigeon - I hope it heals well and soon.

Caroline Jaine said...

Alas.....our feathered friend has met it's maker....he is no longer...(I like to think I did my best).

timethief said...

It's sad but true that when a bird is injured to the extent of bleeding that most do not recover.

cheths said...

oh I'm glad that you found some peace in India and yea how is the pigeon now :) u payed for it so good of you :)

Rani said...

I am originally from Delhi and its true the bird hospital is known. I was glad to read some nice things about Delhi as well, a city I love.