After fitting the sink tap in C1 we (Karaj, Dev, Ishwar, Calvin and I) sat together for a short supervision session. The message was simple. Karaj quoted S.N. Goenka: ‘If you cannot take 100% responsibility for yourself, forget it.’
Karaj left to prepare himself for the women’s group and the rest of us chatted about relating the management training we are doing here at the house to life and interviews. It’s quite simple really: teamwork, others’ needs, team dynamics… After putting the food on for the women’s group, I re-joined the others and we drove to Kuldip’s house to help him move some of his family’s belongings into storage. The brief was to support Kuldip and show his wife that he has supportive, normal friends.
At one point during the moving work, I told Kuldip to fuck off. I had earlier been talking to his wife and was now annoyed with his accusatory comment, his jealousy, and his lack of recognition of the positive aspect of a friend chatting innocently to his wife. While offloading the gear I chatted to the other men at the storage warehouse. I was glad to be among white men for a change and created relationships with them which were ultimately beneficial as they helped us with the final load of all the heavy stuff.
It was still only mid-afternoon by the time we finished, so I went with Dev to get his passport photos. The idiot has lost his passport! Will this catalogue of fuck-ups from the main three (Simran, Dev, Priya) never end?
Then, after a light lunch, a rest and a quick check of the agenda items, we joined the women’s group for an hour. Shona and Ishwar discussed Shona’s impending visit to the occupational health for a review her operation. There was also the point about Kuldip’s negativity and jealousy because he thought I was chatting up his wife. He is setting up a game which he will ultimately lose. I was just doing what I do and I was also Karaj’s representative. Kuldip should not have interfered.
As I reflected later, I saw that explaining and justifying – like I am prone to do with my friends – is Child ego state. Relax and have some fun, as I am starting to do with my friends.
During a break in the evening, we (the men) went to fit the tap in C2 before looking through the telescope at Jupiter and four moons. As we worked, I got annoyed because Karaj went on about the men being rubbish and useless and so on. I took it personally and went into emotions. He was not necessarily talking about me but I still took all the men’s feelings on myself, protesting silently in my head that we are not rubbish. The work was also an opportunity to manage, but I kept getting involved in hands-on work. Others do not seem to show any interest. It is up to me to inspire interest in them.
Back in the women’s group, there was Priya, Harriet, Imogen, Ishwar, Kuldip, Calvin, Simran, Dev and me. Priya was challenged for getting cocky and not following procedures and for pushing her luck with her job and her life. We moved onto Ishwar’s story of his depression and his slow, step-by-step recovery, just getting on with whatever needs to be done to move forward. In Ishwar’s case, it was ‘green files and reports’. When I raised my issue of Karaj’s comments that the men are rubbish, Karaj pointed out that he tells us we’re rubbish because he knows we’re not.
[I never really coped well with these episodes. They seemed to occur more frequently during the rest of my training and, even though I was not being addressed, I still always took Karaj’s comments about the others personally.]
Summary: Good support for Kuldip; and I related easily to other white men. Karaj – ‘This is the gift to you from the Sikhs. They have made it easy for you to relate to your own culture’. Everyone left around midnight and for the last 20 minutes of the day, I sat quietly with Karaj in the cottage.