Friday, December 9, 2016

Angel's Midnight Garden

We cannot appreciate light unless we have known darkness.  It is the contrasts that heighten our experiences.

I like contrast. I like big, bold patterns that stand out. I am a big believer in - if you have to do something, make it bold.

Meet Midnight Garden.

This quilt is for Anju, and yes that is her real name :-D But I call her Angel.
Angel went to medical school with my sister. We have known each other for the last 25+ years.

Angel, at my wedding
Angel is the eldest of five siblings - four sisters and a brother.  The year was 1995. When Angel came down with rheumatoid arthritis, it was severe. She was in a lot of pain.  But when she turned to her mother and said -  "You should get Vee (her younger sister) married", it became clear that she did not think that she would make it.  (Traditionally, sisters get married in order, with the eldest first.)

Initial Fabric Pull (discarded)

Kaffe Fabric
This works
This will shine against a charcoal background
Some practitioners of SahajaYoga meditation heard about Angel's situation.  They visited her in the hospital and gave her realization (initiated her into meditation). Slowly, Angel's entire family started following Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi (founder of SahajaYoga meditation) and practicing meditation. I was living in Mumbai at that time. When I returned home for a visit, Angel rode her cute scooter and came to see me. I was dumbfounded. I asked her - what are you doing?  The evidence of RA was still there but she was mobile and managing well. The best part - her spirits were buoyant.

Enjoying the process
Staying organized

Angel introduced me to SahajaYoga meditation and I have been a follower ever since.
The first block

Loving it!

Added drama in the middle

Angel had lost a year of medical school due to her illness. But she went back and finished school. Vee got married and I remember being at her wedding, while I was struggling with my marriage. 

Backing from Connecting Threads

Angel went to work at the SahajaYoga hospital in Navi Mumbai, about two hours away from me.  We visited each other as often as we could. Angel went to Aurangabad to study Pathology, while continually battling the debilitating disease. That is where she met Dr. S and they fell in love.  I have asked her several times to share the details about how they met, how they fell in love...who said what and when. But Angel does not kiss and tell.

Quilting the Beast
Thank goodness for Walking Foot
Getting there - slowly

My dad passed away in1998. In 2001, I walked out of  my troubled marriage and moved into a working women's hostel in Mumbai.  It was then that I received the invitation to Angel's wedding. I was at the lowest point in my life and it was nearly impossible to go.  I sent word that I would not be able to attend.

Quilted and Trimmed

I will never forget the expression on Angel's face - a mixture of joy and disbelief - when I slowly emerged from behind my mom to look at Angel - the beautiful bride in her wedding finery.  We hugged and cried.  I wished her all the best. I took a train back to Mumbai the next morning.

Bound too!!!

We met off and on over the years, whenever I visited home.  Paul and I got married in 2007 but went to India in 2008 to remarry with Hindu rites.  My mom was just relieved that finally her daughter was no longer a divorcee, that Paul was willing to take me off her hands (figuratively speaking).

Paul - such a natural!!!
It was my second marriage so things were rather low-key. Mom had arranged for someone to apply my henna.  As the design developed, I felt depressed. It was pretty but it was too plain and simple and not fit for a bride. I started crying and called Angel.  She came and picked me up and got my henna done at a professional's. And then she bought me bangles - the most beautiful, glittering red bangles, arranged in a design, fit for a bride.

All the guests brought gifts for me. None for Paul. It is the tradition that bride's guests bring gifts for her, whereas the groom's party would give gifts to him.  Since there was no one to represent Paul's side, he got no gifts. It was only Angel & Dr. S who brought gifts for Paul.

So Bright - Love it!

Wine Flower on Orange - WOW!!!

Eye-Popping Colors
Angel continues to deal with pain, deformities, and other health complications as RA takes a toll on her.  One day it will be over but till then Angel does what she has to do. She gets up every morning and goes to work, socializes, inspires, cares, treats, meditates, inspires and gives thanks for all the love, joys and blessings in her life. Did I mention inspire?

Charcoal Fabric - Background and Binding too!

All done!

Thank you Kaffe!

Shining all the way

This quilt is a celebration of Angel and her indomitable spirit, of her love and thoughtfulness.  How she keeps the faith, and not only shines through the darkest of times, but brings joy and hope to all those around her. 
That is Paul - modeling it

I will be seeing Angel at Christmas when I will give her this quilt.  I can hardly wait to see that expression on her face. And a few more because there is no such thing as too many pictures.

Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a flurry of happiness!!!