Am at Chandur, the place where I began my novitiate 14 years ago. Oh boy, it is today a very different place. I haven't been to this place since then. So coming here and seeing all the difference is very refreshing. For one, the old shed (our dormitory) is still there - though it now being used as a carpentry shed. Our chapel, Fr VT John's room, our study hall are all gone - pulled down. I also remembered Shantha's funny giggle all through the Mass in the inaugural retreat, watching the ruins of what was once our chapel. The trees for one are really huge now. They give a totally different 'shade' to the whole house now. It is good to see Chandur green and fresh. The fields and football court are still the same. Of course, the Shrine is new (to me). A courtesy visit to the Salesian Sisters (my maiden trip) showed that the town remains EXACTLY the same!! I cannot understand how they managed to keep it the same.
This being the first time I am out with Fr Noel as his helper for the Visitation, I'm just taking it slow. I wait for his signal, if he wishes me to be around or if he wants me to intervene. Nice to hear all the good being done and the efforts being made. Makes you feel part of the house and mission. Had to really resist the temptation of vocally showing my appreciation for their hardwork.
Best of the day: Spent time chatting with the boarders for nearly an hour. It was lovely talking to them in Telugu and in their own lingo! The other thing which did not strike me then, but struck me profoundly when Fr Noel mentioned it in his goodnight, was that my presence and interaction with the boys was a real attempt at vocation promotion, that too for Salesian Brotherhood.
I am glad too that the senior boys remember Mariadas who spent with them just a month, last year around this time. He has a real knack of getting around these boys. No wonder his heart is in Chandur.