Thursday, 29 March 2012

Of mangoes and ...?

This year the mango trees have flowered well. However, proportionately the fall of flowers and mangoes in their various size of growth too is much. I was wondering if all the flowers were to yield fully grown mangoes...! I guess the tree would soon be dead or withered or several branches broken. The tree too knows how and what is best for itself in the long run. And so it takes the necessary precautions accordingly. Then there are other factors too that cause the fall of flowers and fruits. But I guess they are beyond the natural capacity of the tree itself. The pic on the right is of the tree just outside my room - perhaps the one most laden with fruit this year.

Lessons to learn: know your limits before you yourself get limited!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Religiosity?

This article (NGOs spent over Rs 1,300 crore on religious functions during 2005-10) couldn't have come at a better time ... any better than me appearing for an Income Tax hearing!

Would not contend this...
spent on religious functions, publication of religious literature and education of priests and preachers
Rs 737.28 crore has been spent for setting up religious schools and education of priests and preachers

God's Secretary

Well, at the rate at which things are moving with me, I'd not in any way be surprised to get a call from God to be His secretary! For I almost know the what, how, when, how many and the why of almost everything (OK, except for that 'why' part, the rest for sure!). Well, today was a crash course in accounting and matters related to Income Tax and all that stuff. Even if I were to attend a three credit course, I'd not learn what I learnt today. Thanks to the income tax (IT) hearing that I need to appear tomorrow morning - or rather in a few hours!

And to make matters easy - or worse? - the accountant who is supposed to know it all, asks for leave because someone in his family passes away right this morning! Luckily one apprentice Chartered Accountant lands up at the gates saying he received instructions to help me with the preparation of the required documents and procedures. So began the day!

What I learnt (both directly of the stuff and otherwise), will require more than one blogpost to do fill. Perhaps after I initiate the IT hearing tomorrow...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

To see and acknowledge

As I sat for meditation this morning, I was trying to see what it is that I gained most this academic year. Like every year so far, it has been a roller coaster ride. Every year end finds me in amazement of myself. I can hardly believe that I managed to do all that I did! Anyway, let the donkey praise its own tail...

One thing that struck me during Mass and thereafter too is that most often we, including myself, fail on several counts. However what makes us real failures is the stubborness to NOT see where we go wrong. We either refuse to evaluate or worse, even acknowledge that it requires a relook. Perhaps if I were to see, acknowledge and transform those not-so-positive aspects, I'd be a better person.

Power play!

We've had 10 hours of power cut today. Luckily I have the back up battery and that sustained my work on the laptop and the modem power supply. Even otherwise, we are now so used to this power cut that we hardly feel anything odd about it.

Yesterday in the papers I read that the President's foreign trips cost the exchequer a whooping 205 crores! Whew! I hope someone tells her about this and she keeps that in mind the next time she thinks of taking off, entourage et al!

Now that's what one can aptly call, power play (both the instances)!

History of Chandur

The land at Chandur was given to the Salesians by Bp Mathew Cheriankunnel who continued to support the Salesian mission with great zeal even later. The idea of a college in that remote part of Nalgonda was inspired by the model of Tirupattur college. Fr T.J. and the pioneers (Frs M.A. Jacob and K.T.Jose) envisioned the place to be transformed just as the Salesian college in Tirupattur did to that place.

Don Bosco Junior College, Chandur began to be operational by 1985, of course in two shed constructed temporarily for the first batch of students. The Salesians had arrived a year before. The attempt to obtain a government grant for the college never succeeded due to a clause which left us behind by two years. The recognition and grant was issued for colleges which commenced by 1883.

Beginnings in Nalgonda

The Salesian mission in Nalgonda District of Andhra Pradesh commenced in a minor way in a village called Kottayagudem. It was spearheaded by the so-called 'grass-rooters' from KJC, Bangalore. I'm told Fr Sebastian John was one among them. However this enterprise was not looked upon kindly from the higher ups and was slowly 'dissolved'. Soon Fr Koshy Thomas and Fr Sebastian M. began to assist in the Parish of Bheemanapalli. It was with the diocese (most probably with Fr Casiagi as the Parish Priest - the same one who took nearly 42 years to build the Parish!). Having worked there the Salesians slowly began to stabilise (read that as 'institutionalise') in Chandur (the present location).

While the establishment of Chandur was overseen by the pioneers Fr M. A. Jacob and Fr K.T. Jose (then a newly ordained Priest), the Bheemanapalli Parish was managed by Fr Devasi (twin brother of Fr Phyllo). However after a span of two years it was handed over back to the Salesians and Chandur continued to flourish.

Fr Chinnappa Thomas in AP

Fr Chinnappa Thomas to-date (March 26, 2012) has spent 43 years in Andhra Pradesh and that too in just five houses: Brahmanakoduru (5 years), Mangalagiri, Punganur, Sodum and presently in his first year at Kondadaba. He was the pioneer of Don Bosco Premnivas, Mangalagiri, the only house in the whole of the Salesian congregation catering to physically challenged children. At Brahmanakoduru, from where the Salesians later shifted to Ponnur, Fr Thomas was sent as a helper to Fr V.T. John, in the place of Fr Chacko Thattil.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Balancing justice and charity

During the recent visit of Fr Maria Arokiam, he stressed the need to ensure just wages for our non-teaching staff. He was clear in stating that charity needs to be avoided and justice to be meted out. Now that's a rather thin line dividing them both. Most often, people prefer charity (not to be confused with love) than justice. Of course, an employee would love to have a hike in his or her salary. But refuse him or her a 'helping hand' in their trouble, because you've been just, by way of giving a good wage, and you'll earn their wrath!

However, I find myself agreeing much with what Fr Maria stated: less of charity and justice for sure.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Human adaptability

While at supper tonight we were discussing the power cut that we have had since last night... that's 24 hours straight - with the exception of 10 minutes of 'grace' that we received this afternoon. This cut is due to some high tension wires getting burnt up and when I called the line man in the evening to find out the situation, he assured me that they would be able to get it done within a 'short time'. Anyway, back to our discussion. At one point Fr KT commented that this year the power supply has been really good. And I quickly added, "Besides the 6 - 8 hrs of power cut everyday."

Looking back, Fr KT's statement was true. We barely had any inconvenience, in the time we had power (perhaps, today being the only exception). But for one who is used to power supply round the clock, to hear that we have 6 hours of power cut everyday is something unbelievable. The first question they ask us is how do you survive? how do you manage? Frankly speaking we have now so grown to this everyday feature that if and by chance there is power during the scheduled cut, we feel uneasy and quite uncomfortable! So much for our ability to adapt - for good or bad, is another question!

Why not?

I watched the movie, We bought a Zoo today. It claims to be based on a true story. Seems a bit unrealistic but all the same is worth watching for the values and ideas it offers. The basic storyline is about a man who has lost his wife and is now left alone to bring up his two children. The teenaged son has his own ways of going about and is barely comfortable with the father. The little seven year old daughter is still all awe and happy about what she has than mourn about what she has lost. In an attempt to 'resurrect' his life, Benjamin Mee purchases a new house, far off from the city – only that it has an abandoned zoo attached to it. He takes it upon himself to reopen the zoo with the assistance of the limited staff and of course, without any knowledge of zoo-keeping. Slowly but surely he wins the confidence of the staff – and the animals – and by the end of the movie, all is well.
However, at one crucial point when the head of the staff questions Benjamin as to why he purchased this whole thing with absolutely no idea of animals or zoo, he replies, “Why not?” Only at the end of the movie, it is shown, how exactly the same reply (or question) opens up a whole new life for him earlier when he meets his would-be wife for the first time.

Interestingly the question, 'why not?' is a very revealing one. A sincere look in such a direction throws open so many possibilities which we often – gladly and comfortably – shut out owing to fear, laziness and refusal to move out of our comfort zones. Even in my own life, sometime ago I remember asking back, some of those who always questioned me why I choose to be a Brother and not a Priest. To some I had indeed replied, “Why not?” (Of course, don't ask me if that made any impact on them or least of all, convinced them a bit!)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

For a purpose

With yesterday's farewell we officially concluded the academic year. The evening get-together specially organised to bid farewell and thank the final year students was well organised by the first and second course Brothers. Most of the ideas were theirs but I did have to intervene and polish them. What they wanted to do was 'something' but with no definite purpose or intention - other than merely doing it! I had to make them see the various things they planned and wished for in a comprehensive manner. I wanted them to have a clear sense of purpose for which they were doing all that they were doing... so that they could send out a meaningful message and not just some hotchpotch of actions.
Finally the programme went on well and as planned - contained in the time allotted and appealing to all involved. All the Brothers - including the outgoing students - liked it.
The backdrop with an alphabet printed on one side of the paper and the other half containing a funny description of one of the third year student and a photo of the same, was quite an innovative idea.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cozy travel

Last week while on my way back from Vizag, while in the jeep on the highway, we came across the following scene. The auto was loaded with all sorts of things and yet inside - - and on it - were a couple of men, totally six of them, quite comfortably travelling. What's more about half of them were fast asleep! Good lesson for all those of us quibbling about the heat and demanding air-conditioned vehicles every time we step out of the house!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The real work of Religious

Addressing the Salesians here at Kondadaba, Fr Maria Arokiam conveyed the concern of the Rector Major regarding the situation of the Congregation. He singled out the following: the inability to distinguish between discipleship and aspostleship. The Rector Major feels that we Salesians are slowly failing to see the distinguishing line dividing the two. The latter is the mission and the former the need to be with the Master. Lost in work we fail to see our real purpose. Activity is good but prior to that comes the call and the training, the 'being with Jesus'. What distinguishes us, religious from the ordinary lay people is the meaning we render to the activity we do. Merely doing an activity well is no big deal. That anyone can do it. However the challenge as religious is to make it meaningful to others too - having made it meaningful to oneself!

The fact that we do service, does not mean that we can shelve our identity as a 'sign'. Our identity is precisely in being a sign of the Kingdom while all around, people try to be signs of themselves or their private agendas. We are called to be counter-cultures in today's world.

With interest... to hell!

Here's one one interesting joke we heard from Fr Maria Arokiam today:
A man found himself outside the gates of heaven with St Peter blocking his entrance to heaven for want of good deeds in his register of good deeds. The man thought for a while and told St Pete that he'd once given ten rupees to an old lady down the street. St Peter checked it out and found it to be true. However, in a dilemma as to let him or not, he asked St Michael for help. St Michael heard the whole story and then told St Peter, "Just give him twenty rupees and send him to hell!"

Virtue, wisdom and courage

The day in the presence of Fr Maria Arokiam was very interesting and enriching. One of the many things he offered for reflection was the goodnight thought based on three virtues of a leader or superior: Virtuous, Wise and Bold.

Virtue, of course, is a good habit. It has to be both, good as well as a habit. Occasional acts of charity cannot make anyone virtuous unless repeated enough number of times, so as to make it a habit.

Fr Maria Arokiam defined wisdom as loving intelligence. That was quite a summary of wisdom. Intelligence alone can be dangerous (even a crook can be very intelligent). Love alone may lead one to foolishness. It is in the right balance of the two that wisdom is to be found.

Bold is of course, the courage to tell clearly and distinctly that something is wrong when it is wrong and appreciate something when it is right. It is based on integrity of life and moral standing. Of course, where there is boldness, there is no room for fear.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Machine Gun Preacher

Last night I watched the movie Machine Gun Preacher (here's the official site). It was quite interesting to note the transformation of Sam Childers from a drug addict to a 'missionary' with a very definite and clear vision. The movie is based on the book Another Man's War and describes the story of an American who takes up the gun, again, albeit for a different cause now. That too in a far off land, Uganda to save children from becoming victims of a bloody civil war.

It also in a subtle way shows the swings of the 'hero' between his personal life and the chosen extended family; between reliance on God and carrying out His mission and his own determination to 'set things right'; between being a preacher and a mercenary...

Gerard Butler, who plays the lead role, does a great work and as one review of the movie reads, his "born again, dead again" characterisation is something that makes the movie realistic. An interesting angle to this movie is the recent outcry on social media against Kony and the 'wave' to get rid of him and save the children of Uganda and South Sudan.

Besides these contemporary and actual facts, the movie raises several moral questions. The most challenging of them is perhaps the one posed directly by Sam Childers himself at the end of the movie.

... If your child or family member was abducted today, if a mad man came in or a terrorist came in, abducted your family member or your child, and if I said to you, "I can bring your child home," does it matter how I bring him home?

In another instance in the movie, a relief worker questions Sam Childers' 'rogue' means of carrying out his 'ministry', to which he replies that he does the same thing as she, but in a different way. Having heard all his arguments, she concludes, "Kony too had the same reasons when he began his reign of terror!"

I suppose it is a thin line that one treads here. Killing a human being is always wrong, but does become permissible if that one wrong preserves and promotes the lives of several children?

(last photo: the real Sam Childers)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Voice of conscience?

The hot topic for discussion is the bold move of the Railway Minister, Mr Dinesh Trivedi and his budget proposal. The dust it has raised will take some time to settle. However, I read and watched this particular minister air his views and reasons for the budget and found him quite unlike the rest of the brood of politicians. His open acknowledgement that there is nothing that will benefit him personally out of this proposal and his challenge that this will benefit the railways in the long run and simultaneously increase some of the basic travelling facilities (including fares!) is something quite interesting. We now have to watch and see what would become of all of this. Will this be turned into another political game or would there be some good coming of it, somewhere? We'll have to wait and see.

Till then, it is good to reflect on Mr Trivedi's reasons:
I listened to my conscience and not some populist voice appeal.


I stand to gain nothing from this and if anyone would think why so, would clearly understand that it is done for the railways and railways alone.

I have only done my duty weighing the best options and in favour of the railways.

What logic is it to weigh this decision of mine against me losing the chair? Nothing in politics is permanent. Tomorrow there will be someone who would do better than me. I only do what is best for the country.
Well, that's some "strange" talk for a politician! Barely does one get to hear such things from politicians... leave alone take such bold stances, wherein they risk losing the very chair from which they are speaking! Great, though!

Certitude is that which exists!

Like they say, the best is always reserved for the last... Today was the last philosophy exam of the academic year. This time it was Epistemology and one of the many 'great' answers was the following. The question was about certitude and the types of certitude. I asked the Brother, what he meant by Physical certitude? The answer was this:
Physical certitude is that which exists.
I asked him to repeat and he stated the same. Explain, I said, and again the same answer. Well, I did not have a further question for him!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fine day

We had the first mango of the season. Well not very tasty, though... but the first one always is exciting. This year with the good flowering, the yield seems promising.

Besides this, there were other exciting things today. Like the finalisation of the renovation of the dining hall. Not that we had it decided upon today but with the arrival of the contractor and the mason, things are assured to get off to a start soon. I only have to now coordinate and God knows, what else!

Meeting Ramesh, the contractor, after long was good. He is a typical local guy meant to do this sort of rough and hard work. However, he indeed has been greatly touched by his Salesian training hence his attachment and affiliation to the Salesians.

Monday, 12 March 2012

For what...

It is said that in a race between the lion and the deer, often the deer wins. That's because the lion runs for food, whereas for the deer it is a matter of life and death, sheer survival! This only proves that purpose is more important than need. 'For what' is a greater challenge than 'if what'.

Every time Brothers approach me for some permission or request, I mostly and only ask them, "for what?" Only and only if their reason is valid and genuine do I grant them their request, even if it is something odd or 'not in the rule book'. And they dread me for binding them to that choice for that particular reason; I ensure that they enjoy that privilege, exactly for the purpose reported to me and not anything else.

Existence and essence

After a whole semester of teaching metaphysics, I received this reply from one of my students during the final oral exam today. The question was to state and differentiate between essence and existence. He never went beyond the first part of the question - or rather I was in no mood to let him, having heard his answer for the former:
Essence is what it is and existence is what a thing is.
Wow!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Political sham

There was an interesting piece of news online stating that 35% of our 'esteemed' politicians are rogues (read this)! The article primarily presents stats about UP, Goa, Uttarakand, Punjab and Manipur but I guess things are not very different or drastically saintly in other states.

How then is it possible for anyone, even remotely dreaming of making a decent and truthful living in such circumstances wherein such a high percentage of our leaders - if at all, they deserve that title - are themselves on the wrong? Like one of the Provincial stating about the state of his province, "Most of the confreres are good and very cooperative when it comes to the common concerns of the Province. There are only a few wayward or self-centred confreres. That way animation and governance becomes easy, as it involves careful dealing with just the handful wayward confreres. The rest, with or without supervision, will do great! However, if most of the confreres are wayward, then it is another issue!"

I guess this is possible only in a place like India... and of course, as the old adage goes: as the people, so the ruler!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Conned...

This evening I was bluffed by one vagabound. He claimed to be on the staff here in the Seminary about a decade ago - and was rightly so. He said that he had a lorry and that it met with a minor accident and he needed some money and a pair of clothes to retrieve the documents of the lorry. He seemed all genuine but I could clearly smell alcohol from his breath. However, I gave him a hundred rupees and two pairs of old clothes (of the many waiting to be disposed off). Much later when I reported this to Fr KT, I was surprised to hear Fr KT tell me the same story which this guy narrated without even having met him... turned out that Fr KT too was conned by the same story!

Hope the next time round he at least has some other story to narrate!

Stay the same

Here's one song that I really loved a decade ago. Suddenly I remembered this song by Joe McIntyre and checked for it on the youtube. It is quite meaningful. I remember playing it as a gift for a good friend of mine while in Nashik during Mass.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Plants and fruits in Kondadaba

Summer certainly has set in, but along with it, new leaves too have begun to show up on most of the trees. The grass however is all dry and eaten by white ants. Here's a photo of one of the trees along the road bordering our football court. One can see the court in the background. Some great soul planted these trees along the edge of the court and they do provide good shade and are a sight to behold all along the year as they are full of leaves.

The cashew trees too are putting up new leaves, but I thought it is time for them to put out flowers and fruits. Looks like this is going to be a lean year for cashew crop. On the other hand, the mango trees all over the campus are laden with flowers. If they survive the morning mist and the possible rain that comes around this time of the year, it would be a good crop. Let's see how things turn up.

Our lady of Kondadaba

It has been a week since our lady of Kondadaba, Simhadramma, underwent an operation for rectification of her eyesight. Today she was here in the Seminary, loud and clear, proclaiming that she could see. Of course, as usual, she recognised only Fr KT. Others only 'appeared' to her. However, everyone was happy for her and as usual, she entertained all more than before with her new acquisition: her green eye patch.

Here she is! The thing she is holding in her left hand is a plastic bag containing a couple of papers related to her operation. She informed me faithfully that she is not supposed to eat dal, brinjal and a couple of other things. I suggested the cooks to prepare a menu card only for her!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Quotes on life and trust

Here are some quotes that I've been happily receiving from an old acquaintance of mine:
Fallen flowers cannot grow back on the tree; but new flowers can certainly grow. Life isn't about what you couldn't do so far, it is about what you still can.

But this one that I received yesterday was the best:
There are two reasons why we do not trust people. First: we do not know them. Second: we know them!

Fidelity as an act of worship

Like many simple Christians, our Brothers too have a very pietistic idea of Lent and related practices. Very many of them 'like' to fast on Wednesdays and/or Fridays. However the very same guys will be the first to skip their morning community duties or be sluggish when it comes to the evening work or games. So the other day, Fr Wilson bluntly called them 'white washed sepulchers' in his goodnight and the effect was the next morning there was none fasting! Asked why did they suddenly stop fasting, "Fr Wilson told us not to fast!" was their immediate and spontaneous response. So committed and intense was their fast - and reason for the same.

Fidelity, (or integrity) as an act of worship, is something that is still to sink in most of us. Till then we will be greatly and foolishly carried away by something cheap and petty... not because we are ignorant of it but because we feel convenient and 'nice' about it.

Exam wisdom

While conducting the exam for Modern Western Philosophy some of the 'brighter' ones had some interesting facts to reveal to me:
Galileo Galilei proposed the Christo-centric theory. It said that the sun is the centre of the earth.
Another 'scholar' found this great truth:
Religion is the opium of religion.

What triggers what?

An IPS officer was crushed to death in Madhya Pradesh today. All he did was his duty. The reward: loss of life. Well I suppose he did not see it coming. However, there are brave men like Narendra Kumar who are willing to take a stand (and pay the price). What interested me more than this truth, which is good on feelings and emotions but does not work with those who have neither heart nor head (read that as the real brains and gains behind the illegal works) is the fact how different people react. A cursory glance at the list of comments that has kept increasing in the past couple of hours is quite revealing. Some people connect what to not, others nothing to nothing, a few merely express their sympathy, others blame (all sort of names and persons can be found herein) and quite a few use this as a lever to gain "supremacy" over someone else (who may be equally corrupt or sincerely honest). How one tragic event can cause an avalanche of ideas and thoughts.

Whatever it be, may this tribe of brave and honest persons, like Narendra Kumar, increase.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Ministry abroad? Then...

Fr Wilson's sermon this morning was quite challenging. Using the Gospel of the day, wherein the mother of James and John asks Jesus for a place on his side in His Kingdom, Fr Wilson asked the Brothers if their motivation to Priesthood too was just for similar reasons. Whether they were willing to partake of the cup of Jesus or only intending to use Priesthood to go to the States or Germany?

As I reflected on these words of Fr Wilson and their truth, it struck me that most often words alone do not inspire. To really sift the present generation of young people joining the Seminaries or formation houses intending to become Priests, we ought to present the real picture. Like for example, Fr Joji, our present vocation promoter does not go around in the Bolero that is available for him. He goes about in any public transport that he manages. I'm sure it makes a great impact on people, especially young people, when they see such a person. Most often, youngsters join not because of Don Bosco or the person of the vocation promoter but because of the type of vehicle the Priests of that congregation go about in! (Besides, the person of Joji himself makes a profound impact).

I know not how sensible it is or feasible at all (given the mindset of those already Priests) but radical it is: Let those who crave and 'demand' for a trip abroad, whether it be for ministry or any other purpose, agree to work on their return, for double the amount of time spent abroad, in a very rural or backward part of the Diocese or Province. I know it's a barter but as they say in Hindi, when one cannot take out ghee with a straight finger, one must bend his finger!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Survival!

Yesterday one of the reflections was based on the idea of Karl Marx and his idea that the society will take care of individuals and hence individuals need not worry about private property (over and above anything else). Then there was this whole idea of alienation of the working class people. However, the Brother applying these ideas to our domestic staff, the gardener in particular, wrote the following:
Unless he works hard he can't survive his family and himself.
(emphasis added) I immediately understood that he actually meant that unless he worked hard, he will not be able to sustain his family and himself. But then on a second reading, it struck me that given the nature and situation of our gardener, the original statement also holds water - albeit in a different sense!

Monday, 5 March 2012

The 'opposite' attitude

Whenever I come across the word 'Vipassana' I am reminded of something that happened about seven years ago when I was at Karunapuram (Warangal dt of AP). I was then the assistant of the Brothers. The Rector was one who had completed all possible courses at Igatpuri (Vipassana). He used to lead the students in the morning meditation using the techniques he learnt there (or elsewhere, I'm not sure). The initial part mostly consisted of a set of 'clearing' exercises. However, he used to always begin the meditation and the exercises with the statement, "Let's start with a positive attitude!"

Months later, he had to attend a meeting and was absent. He had already delegated the course leader to take his place as leader of the meditation. That morning, as usual we all gathered in the lawn and the course leader began, "Let's start with the OPPOSITE attitude!" None of us could meditate that morning... most of us were literally rolling on the grass. The course leader just couldn't understand why. Because all this while he heard the initial statement as, ... opposite attitude! And that's what he said!

Well that's how life is: positive or opposite, it still is a thrilling experience!

Thank you God

Being a special day, I did spent some moments in silence, thanking God especially having received this particular quote from some well-wisher:
Don't think of the few things that you didn't get from God after praying. Think of all those countless beautiful things He gave you without asking.
Frankly speaking I found it difficult to really reach this state, for my list of 'known' blessings itself is so long, that it would really take a long long time to finish merely compiling it in some sensible order. Anyway, couldn't think of anything better than this prayer: Thank you, God!

First day at school

Today was my nephew, Chris' first day at the playschool. Mummy accompanied and stayed with him the two hours or so. (The school permits parents or relatives to be with the child only for the first couple of days.) Mummy tells me that when Chris was engrossed in the play things she tried to sneak out but on realising that Mummy was missing, he started to cry. By the time the school hours (just 2 hours or so) were up, he was tired and pleading Mummy to carry him. I gather he is truly being pampered by all four of them at home. As this scene itself is interesting, I wonder what Papa would be doing alone at home! He's pretty addicted to being at Chris' side.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Making oneself loved/weak

As part of my course on Philosophy with the second year students I had asked them to write a reflection each day combining or connecting any idea of any philosopher of the Modern Western Philosophy era with an event of the day. I've had very interesting ideas coming up. The best so far has been the following:
Blaise Pascal says that we should not make ourselves weak relying on someone else's love for us.
XYZ (name of a senior year student) made himself weak when his friends loved him so much that they did his dissertation for him. He was made weak because he knew nothing of his paper.
Now that's quite a reflection, given the intellectual ability of the one who wrote it.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

'Sound' Management

Having burnt my fingers (to be precise, the house amplifier) twice, I was keen to get to the root cause of this whole issue and not shell out money again and again. One of the tips I learnt was how to check the speakers. The technician tells me that the main reason for the burning of the amplifier could be the faulty speaker.

Joining the two speaker wires going in to the speaker box with a 1.5 v battery should emit a scratching sound. That's the sign of the good health of the speaker. If not, there is something wrong with the speaker and in turn will damage your amplifier.

Political idiocity

I went to Vizag today for some purchasing and while crossing the national highway junction at Pendurthi came across people digging holes in the middle of the road. Satyam and myself had no doubt that it was for another round of lighting and decoration for some feast or politician's son's marriage. While returning we were surprised to see that the poles had on them flex prints welcoming some group of politicians. As it is, the road
  • is narrow
  • is under construction
  • is a busy junction
  • part of the national highway
and yet the guys had the 'least common sense' to erect posters in the MIDDLE of the road. Satyam tells me, only our political leaders are capable of such idiocity. I wished a lorry, in the middle of the night, would drive in the middle of the road and knock down all those posters.

Indian hotcakes!

The other day I was in the saloon getting a haircut. Just outside the barber's shop there was a couple preparing and selling bhajjis (sort of fried edible things quite common all over the country, I guess). What surprised me was that there was never a moment of rest, neither for the woman preparing it, nor for the man, packing and selling it. It was literally selling like 'hotcakes'!

As if this was not enough, something else also happened. The ladle which the lady was using to cull out the fried bhajjis slipped and fell on the ground - the same ground with all the dust and mud and every other imaginable (and unimaginable) filth - those who know Kothavalasa or for that matter any town market area will not have to imagine hard. I took it for granted that she would wash it or at least shake it well or use a piece of cloth to wipe it before using it. I was proved totally and confidently wrong. She just picked it up and as though NOTHING happened she inserted the ladle back in the boiling oil and continued her cooking!

Perhaps it all adds to the taste of the bhajjis!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Setting a new trend

At times we rue that there are no sufficient role models or there is a great dearth of courageous examples. I came across this one, from today's news: Sisters carry dead brother to cremation ground. Often we look at some many of the negative angles of things and realities that we fail to see the good and great aspects. This act of the three sisters was truly a great act. In the Indian tradition, women are normally not permitted to enter the cremation grounds, leave alone, carry the corpse. Given this 'national' scenario, the three sisters indeed set a new and good trend.

Hats off also to those who encouraged this bold and affectionate step. Indeed an ideal way of affirming the role and power of women in our life (as individuals and as a society). God bless the three women, and all those who stood by them.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Print out of the leg?

Fr KT completed his English oral exam yesterday with the second year students. As usual, he could not wait to share his 'insights' with us at table during meals. Here's one of them:
The earthcock shook the earth. (he meant, earthquake!)
Last week, on two different days, two Brothers injured their foot during football. They approached Fr Wilson for his permission to meet the doctor and consult him and if necessary go for an x-ray. Here's what each of them told the doctor separately:
Doctor, shall I get a print out of my leg?

Doctor, is a xerox necessary to know if it is fractured?
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