Monday, 27 September 2010

Guinea-Bissau

This evening we had the good fortune of listening Sr Deepti, a Nirmala Sister working as a missionary in Guinea-Bissau, a country in West Africa. We always thought that India is poor but hearing of this tiny country, poverty takes on a different meaning altogether. With political instability and rampant illiteracy and superstition prevelant, there is hardly anything bright here. No electricity, no newspaper, no decent transport facilities, no proper communication network, no text books in schools, scarcely any medical facilities and hardly any major industry - there is barely anything else that could be missing! It was a Portugese colony and the local government is still to stabilise.

Anyway God bless this country and its people.

God, His gifts, Job and me!

Perhaps the reason, besides the many offered by Theologians and Bible commentaries, Job chose to 'bless' God in spite of the many trials and tribulations that come his way, is that every time he received something from God, his focus was not on the thing in itself. He saw that merely as a by product of God's continued assurance that He was on his side. So rather than take pride in the 'by product' Job's eyes were set on God the real gift. Hence when all these so-called 'gifts' were taken away from him, he was never really perturbed. His assurance was firm: God was with him (perhaps more than him being with God). Suppose God Himself were to have questioned his fidelity and love, that would have been the end of Job... but that was not to be.

Most of us, on the other hand, want more. We ask for something and when God assures us that what we already have is plenty, we do not listen. When out of His generosity, He grants us something, we say a casual 'thanks' and before long, ask for more. Like the camel and the Sheikh who were travelling in the desert. At night when it started raining, the Sheikh was in the tent and the camel outside. The camel asked the Sheikh to let it just put its head inside. The tent was a small one, but the Sheikh agreed. Soon the camel asked permission to put in its neck too. The Sheikh consented. Then it was the hump and a while later, the camel was in the tent and the Sheikh outside in the rain!!

We are so full of God's bounty but without God; not because He wants to be away, but because we put Him aside (or outside) and keep His gifts near at hand... who knows which of the gifts we need at what time!

A service to the Church... and myself!

Today was my last exam for this semester with the Brothers... Modern Indian Philosophy. It went or rather well, I should say. However there were some who were a real pain in the ...! I guess, I'll have to meet them again, at least face their written supplementary exams. Some had no idea of what they were saying. Some were so enthusiastic and eager to narrate the life of the philosophers but by the time they began to explain the philosophy all wind was out of the sail!! As one was literally pouring out words which meant nothing at all to him and me, I was picturising him preaching from the pulpit as a Priest!! Not permitting such guys to carry on their formation and become Priests, is a great service I'd be doing, not just to the Church of Andhra Pradesh but to myself as well!!

Nothing against the Holy Spirit, but I firmly believe that those who really do not even make the least of efforts to understand what they are up to, deserve no concern or sympathy - not even from the Holy Trinity - at least in the field of formation. The best is to gently lead them to the gate and kick their butt off!!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

St John's, Kondadaba on wiki

Today by chance I came across the details of the Seminary on the wikipedia!! It did not take me long to realise that it is the handiwork of Pradeep. Well, I wonder how he managed to do this with no connections to his work. I would have understood if he had created one for Ramanthapur, being a theologate, he feels more close to his pastoral work, but this is a philosophate...!!

Any way, God bless him. Just in case you wish to have a look, here it is!

Descrimination in death

At lunch yesterday while talking about the legal procedures to clear the corpse from the lake, I was a bit disturbed and also made a comment saying we are all worried about getting rid of the 'body' but we never felt any sympathy to the person or even prayed for him. That he later was found to be one of our own Parish boarders made us feel all the more touchy. But even otherwise, my first thoughts were about the relatives of the deceased. They would be searching for him or missing him (since the body was in the water for more than two days, for sure!).

Moreover the stench was so bad that none would approach the body. Four men had to be given money to get drunk and then venture into the lake to drag the body out on to the road. I remembered Charlie uncle. Doing a similar job, of course without drinking, for unclaimed bodies. I also remember the disdain everyone had for Krishna when he died in that road accident. None would come close, leave alone touch him. Just a couple of minutes ago he was a lively chatting young boy, one who had grown up with us in the house, and now with one stroke of life (or death) he was anything but Krishna! The very Salesians whom he lived with and worked for were not willing to even touch his body. Perhaps it was more of anger against them that prompted me to carry the body than love for him. But I always looked at him as 'our boy' even though I'd never met him before. I believe the way we treat our departed is the way we treat other living people too - if not physically, mentally for sure. There can be nothing more humiliating than being totally and absolutely rejected by our own - but the good thing, at least for the other, is that he is not there to feel it!

Another disgusting group of people are the police and mortuary personnel. Nothing would move - not even the dead body - unless each one is paid a bribe, each depending on their position. People do not hesitate, even a bit, to make a profit on corpses!

Death on the campus

Yesterday was a terrible day for some in the Seminary, especially Rinoy. It all began in the morning, when I had to tell him that there was a dead body floating in the lake beside the Seminary! Then began the whole process of informing people concerned and getting the state machinery to work... which is easier said than done!! Luckily for us, the lake belongs to the Parish and therefore we have no real 'legal' complications. However, it borders our property and is considered by most as the 'Seminary lake'. Till lunch time, we we not sure who, what, how... to make matters worse, the body was already bloated and lying upside down in the waters.

Things began to worsen when on our way to Vizag to attend the funeral of a diocesan Priest at 1.30 pm, Fr KT, Fr Parish Priest, Fr Wilson and I get the news that the body 'could be' of a missing boarding boy! Now that was serious matter, given the fact that the Parish Priest is the boarding in charge. However, they attended the funeral and we were back in the house by 7.30 pm. By then the body had been fished out of the lake and the police were doing their usual investigations - all in our campus. Things became a bit more complicated when a relative of the boy started acting smart and instigating the father of the boy, who was very calm and sober all along. However, there were enough sensible people to hush him up. A while later the mother reached the place and was inconsolable.

The body was highly decomposed and was smelling badly. I am told by those who carried the body out of the water to the roadside (all heavily drunk) that the parts were all coming apart. Being the second one to see the body, after one of the Brothers first saw and reported the matter to me, I was not affected at all. After having been involved with a much gruesome death case earlier, I was quite calm about things. So I was mostly with the Brothers trying to get them to study rather than get all excited - and later terrified - about this whole affair.

The boy was a tenth standard boy - very careless and unruly (says the Parish Priest). He had a long standing record of running away from the boarding. But how he landed up in the lake, dead, is a bit mysterious. A couple of his companions seem to know something as they were with him a couple of days ago, exactly the time he disappeared. It may be a while before the truth surfaces. Anyway, God bless his soul... and his family.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Letters to God

I just watched the movie Letters to God... a beautiful tale of an eight-year old boy diagnosed with cancer and fighting a losing battle with the support of his mother, grandmother, brother and a faith-filled community and friends. It's a lovely picture of what prayer and faith can bring about in any life. Though fictionalised, the movie is inspired by a true story.

What I liked best in the movie is its challenge to believe, especially when things are not going your way or worse still, you know that things are not going to be any different than they are. But you believe that not everything will be the same. And great are you if in those distressing moments are able to pray... just say God what you want to say. No big lists of requirements or petitions, just pouring your heart out to God.

I remember Fr Stan telling us during one of his sermons or goodnight talks the simplest definition of prayer: not telling lies to God.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Decision to leave the Seminary

This afternoon Fr Rector made known to the community the sad news that one of the second year students had made a bold decision to discontinue his seminary formation and get back home. Given a chance to address and thank the community, he openly stated that he was not really desirous of becoming a priest and that he did not want to drag on and be what he did not really want to be. Appreciating his bold decision, the community thanked him for his sharing and gathered round him, especially the second year students. They gave him a fitting send off. Here he is seen with his companions before leaving the Seminary.

What I appreciate in him was his desire to quit (hopefully genuine) not because he was asked to leave or anything else, but because he thought it was the right thing to do. He was not keen to carry on any further this pretense of 'wanting to be a Priest'. Good for him and the community as well. I hope and pray that others who are not really happy here and find themselves out of place take inspiration from this Brother and discern their true vocation sooner than later.

The community now numbers 88 (83 students and 5 staff members). God bless...!

Of suffering and suffering!

I read this morning the moving tale of a four year child, Naomi Rose die of a rare genetic illness. You could read the narration of her last death, as told by her father here. What struck me most was this statement:
It is one thing to talk piously about being at the foot of the Cross, another to carry it, and still another to hang on it.
Rightly so! We 'think' we know it well, but when we really are in that place, all 'knowing' evaporates.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Hudson, Vivekananda, Gandhi, WTC and 9/11

There was an interesting discovery I made this evening as I glanced through The Hindu of September 19, 2010. It was an article titled Vivekanada, Gandhi and 9/11. The author, Rajni Bakshi weaves together three other significant 9/11s which indeed prove as crucial crossroads in the history of humanity. The first 9/11 is that of 1609: the day Henry Hudson, the first European landed on an island called 'Menatay' - today it is Manhattan.
Within half a century of Hudson's landing, much of the native population had been wiped out by European guns and germs, those who survived retreated inland.
The next significant 9/11 is of 1893: the day Swami Vivekananda gave his famous "Sisters and Brothers of America" speech at the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago. A day for celebrating peace and brotherhood through reason.
Vivekananda realised that all spiritual striving is beyond reason, but reason is the only way to get there. For, reason is the greatest gift of the human existence.
The other great 9/11 is of 1906: a day when Gandhiji first spoke of Satyagraha at the packed Imperial Theatre in Johannesburg.
In an atmosphere charged with anger and the will to fight, Gandhi dropped an idea that acted like a depth charge. Let us fight disciriminatory laws by refusing to comply - by offering unflinching non-violent resistance. His logic was impeccable. Truth is God and God is love. It follows that a struggle for justice cannot involve hurting one's opponent. Instead, the 'other' in a conflict must be weaned from error by patience and sympathy. In turn, this means cultivating the willingness to examine 'truth' in all its many dimensions. This can only be done by being strong - not physical strength but the strength of truth-force or love-force.
What I liked best was the author's intention of drawing our attention to not the incident itself but the attitude with which we recall those incidents. That these ground-breaking events took place, is a fact, but with what outlook and attitude we face today and especially live the events related to these 9/11s is what really matters.

Power of Don Bosco, stories and... Fr Lens

The other day when I was in Gunadala, Fr Louis (the Rector) and Fr James Jerome (the dean) asked me to give the goodnight to the boys after supper and Rosary. As I sat there waiting for the boys to finish their night prayers, I was reminded of my days at Gunadala (way back in 1993-1995) especially the moments in that Chapel. Of course then the Chapel was smaller, carpetted with some coir mats and with no amplifier and sound system. During my second year there, Fr Lens was the Rector and I still remember the weekly narration of Salesian history he gave just before the Sunday adoration... we just loved it!! The very fact that it was about the life of Don Bosco was enough to make it interesting. But what made it all the more 'addictive' - if I may say so - was that it was narrated by Fr Lens. If it were someone else, I don't think it would have made such impression upon us. On Sundays when he narrated the life of Don Bosco for just 10 minutes, we hung on to every word of his, every action of his was followed, every expression on his face was registered. There was nothing, really nothing, that we would have exchanged those 10 min. for.

Power of Don Bosco, and the power of story telling and I would also add, the power of Fr Lens!

The smallest stop-animation ever

I know not what exactly is the director (team) trying to convey through this but the idea is simply great, of course besides the technology. I think it is a great example of the ecological crisis we are battling in the present world. I think it is high time to stop running or turning our back to the issue and address it headlong, before we run out of space and time!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

CWG: Corruption and Waste of Games

The sham concerning the upcoming Common Wealth Games is a great blot on the image of India. The fact that this has been let to continue for the past few months is most shameful. I hope the games are not held at all ... this would be lesser agony than hosting it in the present pathetic conditions. Today's reports cite dogs using beds meant for players! In the morning a foot overbridge collapsed! The living quarters are inhabitable say those who have inspected the place. And what's best, people have already begun to arrive!! God save our country.

The curse and shameful thing is not that there is corruption, but that it is let to thrive, even when we know our whole reputation and honour is at stake.

Affirmation through criticism

On Sunday I received the best affirmation about my work... it was a day of the official visit of the Episcopal delegate of the Seminaries. Having met the Brothers in the morning, he reported to us their feedback on the life and activities of the community. Most of the points he stated were ridiculous, but since he could not grasp their motives or was ignorant (knowingly or inherently!) of the students desire to lay low, there was a long list. The most emphatic of his observations was regarding the weekend ministries. Of course, he had his own opinion about it and was looking at their anxieties from that perspective.

And as I always believe, the more the students criticize (and feel free to do so) while you are with them, the better you are doing your job!! I prefer they feel the heat now than 30 years later when they have no chance of doing better!!

Traffic violations and gender

Two days ago on my way back from Vijayawada, at the railway station, I was amused to see a couple of large advertisement boards for awareness of traffic rules in the city. The boards were a set of real life photos of transgressors in their act. The bottom row of photos were a set of creative ideas depicting various traffic rules. It was indeed a noble and creative task of the town. However of the many photos that I saw and approved of, there was one (just one) that I felt was offensive and totally out of place. It was of a woman pulling a rickshaw. I wonder why at all was that an offense?? Should not women be allowed to work. Just because the rickshaw was being drawn by a woman how could that be an offense... that too on par with riding while on the mobile, or without a helmet or without belt...! Ridiculous!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Digital Resurrection

Today in my reading of some text, I came across this phrase 'born digital'... it was about young people today who are born and grow up playing with the latest of media technology and gadgets. By the time they start speaking and reasoning, they are experts in the use of these media, much much better than some elders who may still be stuggling to know or find out the very idea of them. This has special significance for us Salesians since the younger generations that are coming up are only progressive - though not all - and if we are to make an impact in their lives, we too need to be familiar with their world. Therefore, if not born digital, we need to at least have a digital resurrection!!

Definition of a Cemetery

Definition of a CEMETERY: A place people are dying to go to!

At Gunadala, with the Prenovices

I am in Gunadala for the day. I came here to address the Prenovices about the vocation of a Salesian Brother. Far from promoting vocations to the Brotherhood or making these Prenovices choose for Brotherhood, I (as always) spoke about Salesian life. As with the previous batches, I found the present batch of 16 of them, alive and enthusiastic - though not all. They had some interesting thoughts and ideas to share; not to mention the several questions they had. However, I was able to get them to think beyond the whole concept of Priest and Mass. That, in itself is a great achievement, according to me. While very many of them have fixed their mind about Priesthood, I was able to help them see the larger picture of Salesian life. Hope they live up to that too...

Passion and Talent

This morning during Mass Fr Louis cited a very inspiring quote:

Where there is passion, talent is created or invented.

I suppose it is the truth. Whenever we are passionate about something, we somehow find the time, talent and the resources to accomplish that what we are really after. Whereas when we are not interested in something, however much talented we may be, the work is never accomplished or complete. The worst I fear is passionless talent! It is as good as a bald man living in the temple town of Tirupati (where most of the population is with a shaved head) having a comb; it is neither useful to him nor to others. The comb in itself, is neither good nor bad, but what use is it to anyone, if there is no real need of it. So too, what great worth is a talent if there is no passion to achieve, be, do, something with it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

For the next semester

The Brothers concluded the classes for the first semester today. They commence their study leave tomorrow onwards. Most of them are shit scared of exams. So assistance now becomes a bit easy. Furthermore I told them not to loiter around the whole house but stick to the vicinity of the study hall and the library. With them busy and seriously involved in 'study', I need to get my act together for the next semester. Prior to that there are holidays in between which I need to get ready with. Some of the Brothers are already apprehensive that the holidays after the exams are anything but holidays!! They say a lot of things about it but I also very well know that they look forward to it.

As with regards to the next semester, I have a subject with each of the course - that's something I always look forward to, interacting with them in the class, as much as I do so outside it. However, having seen the Brothers style of study and learning habits, I wish to try something different with my teaching style. I want them to learn rather then me teaching and they looking at me with great admiration, while all that I am saying is flying high and well beyond their heads! More of a seminar style with lots of exercises, short assignments, group work and of course, plenty of reading. I do not see any other way to deepen their thinking pattern than this.

Faith as inevitable

Everyone believes in someone or something. Everyone has faith... the only question is in whom or in what! Faith is indeed inevitable. The atheist too believes in something; so does an agnostic. Even the most hardcore terrorist has faith. There would be hardly anyone in this world without an iota of faith, at least or in the last analysis, in himself. So the question is not whether we have faith or not; it is rather, what is it that we have faith in or whom do we believe?

Love and forgiveness

Jesus forgave the prostitute her many sins since she loved much. In the light of the fag end of the semester and all the students rushing to finish their assignments and submit them, some invariably fail to meet the deadlines. They innocently ask for extension and pardon. I've been strict, really strict with them!! As I listened to the gospel and Fr Wilson's homily yesterday, I was wondering if I should forgive them... after all I ought to love them. So if I love them, I ought to forgive them. However, in this case, I do not think it is an act of charity of real love to forgive. Jesus forgave the woman and she never sinned. I am not sure if I have that trust that these brothers, the defaulters, will not repeat this lethargy the next time round. Granted 'bail' once easily, they'd not really be serious about their duties and commitments later, for they'd know that we would be kind to them.

On the other hand, I don't think genuine love would debate or ask so many questions!!

Private resolve endorsed by a public expression

The gospel of yesterday was quite revealing... It is about the faith of the woman and the love that Jesus recognises in her. The Lord states that her many sins are forgiven because she loved much. The gospel ends with Jesus saying that her faith has saved her. I firmly believe that she went away happy and lived a very difficult life... yes, a difficult one. She never again sinned. But the stigma of her past life would have followed her around like her own alter shadow. Yet she chooses to live with that disgrace and not fall back to it, in spite of everything and everyone expecting nothing more from her.

For this transformation to happen, there ought to be more than just weeping and wiping of feet. Her private resolve to seek forgiveness - or I don't know if that is what she came to Jesus for - or just seek Jesus' help was accompanied by a public act of repentance. She enters the house of a person, where I'm sure there are only men. She courageously Jesus straight and proceeds to wash His feet and anoint them. She could have very well said that 'interiorly' she has realised her sinful ways and she would change them. But no, she decides to make known to all and does not feel guilty about her act of conversion.

Her private resolve was endorsed - at least by her - by a public expression of conversion. I wonder how many of us have that courage!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Another Mass wasted!

Yesterday evening was another torturous Mass!! The introduction was more about the exaltation of Rajasthan than the exaltation of the Cross. Anyway, the sermon was a real bore. The preacher did not know what to say next. He just kept wandering about in a maze of words, which meant nothing to anyone, least of all to himself. Then as the icing on the cake came the moment of announcements by the Parish Priest.... another episode of comedy and confusion. However there were enough events happening simultaneously that kept the Brothers - and me - awake all through the Mass, like there was this small kid talking and playing with his father all through the Mass, literally all through the Mass... and the father did nothing!

The moment I knew that the Preacher had no clue what he was speaking, I tried to meditate on what could the 'Cross' mean to me. I was wondering what if Christ was beheaded with a sword or an axe. Would we be having either of them hanging on our walls as we now do with a crucifix? Imagine an axe around our necks and on our walls at home!! Well, I don't think there is anything about the cross - or for that matter, the sword or the axe - but the love and generosity with which Christ embraced the cross. This we need to understand and take to heart, lest we get stuck to the cross, forgetting that Jesus himself the cross long long ago!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Jesus' death and our salvation?

During the heated discussions during the Anthropology class, there was something I said... something akin to this: Jesus Christ would have been our saviour even without dying on the Cross. Later one of them came to me asking if it were really possible? I told him that, had Jesus any better option than the cross, He would have chosen it. His goal and mission was to redeem mankind, not merely dying on a cross.

I remember reading and discussing something like this in my theology classes in Shillong (if I am not mistaken with Fr Gomes). But now I forget what answer or 'way out' of this dilemma was given. Hope I'm not kicking off a heresy or some idiotic principle.

Whatever it be, if I'm able to get my fellows to think a little, leave alone think different, then I'm blessed!!!

Living rather than dying

Living for others is a far greater challenge than dying for others. This was the point I was trying to drive home this morning with the second year students. Of course, I could not go too far!! However, they simply would not believe an iota of what I was saying. For them death meant the greatest and the most important of all sacrifices... and here I was telling them that it is not!! That living is more demanding than dying.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Dilemma

The tension and the uneasiness about the Parents' day events are still playing large on the faces of very many third course Brothers. I know too well that while for most of us in the community, the programme went on well, quite a few of the third years are still 'hurt' by my 'intolerance' and 'unreasonably stern attitude'. Looking back I also see that I was really hard on them. I didn't give them an inch more than what I had decided earlier. At times I wonder if I was too rigid. But I also 'console' myself saying that if I weren't so, there would have been real chaos and disorder. I still don't know whether what I did was right or not. But this I know, that I can and need to do better... the only problem is that I'm caught in a dilemma: what to do better and how!!

This reminds me of the dilemma between the urge to impose one's ideas on others, on the one hand and the need to make oneself acceptable, on the other.

Grafting virtues

Can virtues be grafted? Meaning to say, can a person's ability in one field in which lies his strength aid his effort to shift something of that strength to another in which he is struggling? Thus attain a sort of balance of virtues...? Something like grafting plants...

I think it is possible, but the requirement herein, as in the case of botony, is the need for a Guide, one who would direct and point out the strengths and weaknesses and thereby assist. All by oneself, this may be possible but very difficult. But with the aid of some sensible help, it should be easier than doing it all by oneself.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Firm but reasonable

I was reading Archbishop Thomas Menamparambil's book, Never Grow Tired for meditation this morning. Precisely speaking I was at the section containing his talk to the deacons preparing for their ordination. One of the points he mentions therein is to distinguish the need to impose one's own ideas from making oneself acceptable to the people whom we serve.

Reflecting in the context of my apostolate here in the Philosophate, I realise I have to constantly make my points clear and convey things (most often not easily taken by the Brothers)... well, I can't help it in a way, after all I'm supposed to be the disciplinarian of the house! But I also realise that when I make efforts to ensure that Brothers see that I'm not one to dictate terms to them and take off for a holiday, leaving them alone to slog it out, I make myself acceptable. There are several ways in which I can win their favour and their attention and when I dish out my instructions or guidelines having done that - even if bitter or difficult - they are better prepared to accept and follow. Firm but reasonable! It works!

Marian hymn

I taught the Brothers this evening the Marian hymn, 'Mother of Christ...' the one in the breviary (final anthems for night prayers no. 118) . Somehow I liked the hymn since the first time I heard it in Yercaud. Of course after that, I don't think I ever sang it anywhere else. But the tune is still fresh in my mind. Every time we used to recite it, I would silently sing it by myself. Though I was frightened that the Brothers would 'hijack' the tune and I'd forget it half way through my teaching, it went on well. The Brothers too picked it up fast. Next week onwards we can solemnly sing it whenever we recite the compline.

Just not listening!

I have serious doubts about our Brothers 'listening' to what is being told to them. Even if they do listen, they really are not listening to what you are saying... they hear and understand only what 'they think' you are saying. Frankly speaking I do not have a problem with that. But teaching such a group of students, Philosophy... yeah, that's my problem!! When simple instructions of life and living are rushing, flying, evaporating right under their noses and they seem oblivious of them, what impact can Philosophy make on them?? Gosh, it is very discouraging and irritating. I still am not able to pin point the real crux of this. And unless I know and understand the core of this problem, all my interventions and instructions will only be either water on duck's back or fuel in the fire! Here I am struggling to make them think and reflect, but they are not able to do so because they just don't listen. I do not say that they are bad or disobedient, just that their ears and minds are shut. Shut blind!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Alarm piece hunt!

The other day was a wild-goose chase... or should I call it, a digital alarm piece chase?? Since we were in Vizag for lunch and wishing the Bishop, on his birthday, I decided to make use of the chance to purchase a digital alarm piece. The one I am currently using is so eccentric that it either needs an overhauling or needs to be hauled over the fence!! Anyway, what surprised me was that after searching practically the whole of Vizag, I couldn't find one decent, simple, functioning digital alarm piece. I remember seeing them galore in Hyderabad everywhere. Here not even the best or sophisticated shops had one.

I wonder: Is Vizag too different from Hyderabad or is it that I was not looking for the thing in the right place. Whatever it be, I hope to get one soon. It is another story that Fr KT was trying to make use of this opportunity - again - to convince me to get a cell phone. But I think I'm pretty much clear and decided about that: no cell phone, at least for now.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Always welcome and at home!

This evening I saw some of the children of the neighbouring school come to the Seminary to meet Fr Rector. Since they found me at the entrance and seeing that I was not working but 'supervising' they concluded that I had to be a 'Father'... that's how they wished me! (Clever and observant, they are!)

Well on knowing that Fr Rector was away and would be back late in the evening they decided to come tomorrow. Just as they wished me goodbye, an auto packed with people stopped at the seminary gate. Immediately some of those children who did not have cycles, 'disappeared' in what till then was a perfectly packed auto! I just stained a bit to see where exactly did these children manage to squeeze in and I was surprised to see that all the passengers made place for these new entrants. I guess they (every one in the auto, including the drive) were from the same village and they certainly did not mind a few more passengers, and most certainly, not children!

The children were perfectly welcome and on their part were totally at home, even if it meant a tightly packed ride back home!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Attitude and life

We met the Archbishop of Vizag this morning to greet him on his b'day. It was part of our day out as the staff (however, Fr Rinoy was away in Hyderabad for his retreat). I found the Bishop surprisingly pleasant and cheerful. Though he would not remember what he had just asked or spoken about, he was quite happy about things. As we were on our way back home after a good lunch at Daspalla hotel, I was wondering what if he were not to be a Bishop? Would he have been treated, respected and held in honour just the same way as he is now? Perhaps, no! But would he have felt the difference or would it matter to him whether or not others showed great interest in him? Well that would depend much on what attitudes he has grown up with.

As someone said, ultimately it all boils down to our attitude to life. True indeed.

Those who have more, want more

Another lesson that I'm beginning to learn and understand slowly:
Those who grumble most are those who have been blest most!! It is only those to whom much has been given, will want more. Those who have something or little will go about life in a contented way. You give them little more and they'll treasure it. You give them something more again and again, then they will start grumbling about it sooner or later.

That's another of the lesson of the Parents' day!

Monday, 6 September 2010

The plastic bag


Lessons... valuable lessons!

A few lessons from the Parents' Day that we celebrated till yesterday - yeah, it was supposed to be 'a' day but it turned out to be for 'four' days!!
  • Never take for granted that what you think is what Brothers think. Or even the other way around. No thoughts match!!
  • Never assume that the Brothers have understood every word of what you have said, even if you repeat your instructions thrice. (They have understood/listened to only what they want to understand, or have already decided to think about).
  • Never be sure that what you said will be done, for they already have their mind fixed on something. What you said was only affirming what they have been thinking... so they 'think'!!Ex.: "I THOUGHT you said..."
  • Never give more than an inch of what you have decided and finalised ... lest you lose every bit of what you have!
For the news about the Parents' Day, here it is!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Drawing lines and making decisions

The past three days have been hectic, crazy...!! It was all about organising and arranging for the Parent's Day of the third course Brothers. With me overseeing it all, it was a bit difficult. But the Brothers were there to do the work. I only had to reign their enthusiasm and channel it in the proper direction. With the third years I was a 'Hitler'... I did not give them an inch more than what was decided earlier. Not that I could not but I certainly did not! The reason: I realise that they are not able to understand and be responsible for the exceptions or relaxation that I make for one instance. They would stretch it far beyond the permitted limit and for all crazy reasons. But once I told them in no uncertain terms what was my stand, they fell in place... no matter how hard or difficult they made it appear. Most of them only test the waters; they only wish to see if they can get something more than what is already granted in abundance!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

About politics and movies

The telugu movie Godavari is an interesting and amusing one. I remembered it for several reasons... the most primary one regarding its take on politics. The protagonist of the movie comes back from the States and intends to join politics!! He goes about meeting various political parties expressing his desire to join politics for public welfare and presents his certificates and all for verification. He is scoffed in every place!

But the whole movie is an interesting take on social attitudes towards women, marriage, love and role of men in society. The director Shekar Kammula really has a knack for conveying profound truths in a very simple but clever, convincing and humorous manner. His earlier film, Anand too was a great lesson! So was the latest movie, Leader.


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