The Mathura family is serviceable, assertive and alert.

 

Originele bron AD
Vertaling door Julio Flores.

Henna en Narain Mathura-Dewkinandan hebben elke dag hetzelfde ritueel. © Thierry Schut

Henna en Narain Mathura-Dewkinandan hebben elke dag hetzelfde ritueel. © Thierry Schut

‘We dare and are not afraid’

Together they build spiritual bridges with clear language. In this way they do not avoid discussion or a tricky topic. “Talk, talk, talk. I say everything!” AD visited them for the column “This is how we are”.

“I was quite assertive and dared to say anything”.

Henna
“As a small child I stood up for injustice,” Henna continues. “I was quite assertive and dared to say anything. Also against the ‘boeroe’, the white man who had power in Suriname for a long time. Most are still in awe of that. In the multicultural melting pot of Paramaribo, where I grew up as a Hindu, things sometimes clashed. At home I was punished for it. I had to stand in the corner. It didn’t help, because that big mouth stayed!”

Mathematics tutoring
“Henna and I attended the training college in Paramaribo at the same time,” says Narain Mathura (1949). For the occasion, he’s wearing his smart suit, just no shoes. At home he prefers to wear socks, his wife in slippers.

“I liked Henna, yes. We struck up a conversation as we both stood looking at our hands in amazement. The dyes red, purple, orange and yellow from the Holy Feast had soaked into our cuticles. After that we sometimes did our homework together . The courtship was on hold. Our parents thought it more important that we get a diploma first. During the final exams I tutored Henna mathematics. She didn’t understand and I did.

My tutoring had helped. On the day of the exam, Henna was ready within half an hour and she left the room. It took me all the time. Sums dipped before my eyes and I could no longer formulate a sensible answer. Had I given away all my knowledge?”

“In 1970 we got officially engaged and two years later we got married with a big Hindu party”.

Henna squares her shoulders and responds with a mischievous look: “I just got it and got a 9 on the exam! Narain had a meager six. In 1970 we got officially engaged and two years later we got married with a big Hindu party. In Suriname we completed the training college and then a two-year training for the master certificate. We were both qualified to teach at a secondary school. Two years later we went to the Netherlands.”

“We wanted to continue studying. I Spanish and Narain economics. His older brother lived in Vianen. We have temporarily withdrawn there. Narain was soon asked if he wanted to teach at a secondary school in IJsselstein. He accepted that job. Almost at the same time we got a house in an apartment building. One of the first things I smelled in the gallery was the smell of Brussels sprouts. I can remember that so well. Maybe because I was pregnant.”

Up six o’clock
“I gave up my economics studies earlier. Even then, these were uncertain times,” sighs Narain. “In the 1970s it was a crisis and you were happy when you had a job. With a child on the way and a home, I opted for security. More than forty years ago we settled in The Hague with our three children. They are now adults, busy with work and their own lives. They also dare and are anything but afraid.”

“Sometimes they are involved in organizing events, lectures or workshops for the Sarita Foundation. If they want to visit us, they send an app in advance. We always have to wait and see if we are home. Henna and I are busy. We serve society and do a lot for the Hindustani community in the Netherlands. Together we build spiritual bridges. We both received a royal award for it.”

When people run into depression or burnout, I always say: meditate

“When people run into depression or burnout, I always say: meditate”

Henna: „Narain and I start our days with a fixed ritual. We get up at six o’clock in the morning. Then we will meditate first. We have made an altar especially for this in the house. Meditation is a medicine. When people run into depression or burnout, I always say: meditate. That helps to find peace in this hectic society. In the almost fifty years that we have lived here, we have become real Dutch. I think like a Dutch, businesslike and fast. In fact, only in India do we feel even more at home. We are currently involved in the establishment of a new ashram.” Narain: “As soon as it is possible again, we will go there.”

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