Thursday, 31 January 2013

The power within

A couple of days ago I was reading something about training puppies and dogs.  It basically consists of getting one's pet, early in life, to listen, connect sound and action and obey a set of commands.  A few instructions like, the commands to be a single word, not complicated, be accompanied by a sign, and reward be used as an incentive...  were quite clear and useful.  However what caught my attention was the trainer's last observation:  It is not so much the word or sound that matters but the conviction and inner force with which the master commands.  Even training mighty elephants depends much on this principle.

Dogs, and perhaps other animals too, have this amazing ability to see into our soul, our inner state of being and can sense the slightest quiver of hesitation or fear.  Interacting with Ginger, our German Shepherd I realise it is true.  It knows when I really mean what I say and it obeys.  If not, I do not unnecessarily yell or shout at it.  Even a glare or stern look at it suffices and within seconds she comes coyly with her tail tucked beneath her hind legs, ears bent to place her head between my feet.

The power within...!

I myself

Fr Maliekal offered a very rich insight today during his sermon on the feast of Don Bosco.  Citing the text from the book of Ezekiel where Yahweh assures the people saying, "I myself will...," Fr Maliekal spoke about the Salesian pedagogy of assistance.  It is not remote controlled but physical and involved. It is "I myself" who am involved; 'I myself' who is there full time with those entrusted to my care.  It is 'I myself' who takes responsibility for their growth and well being in every aspect of life.

From one perspective it may sound a bit egoistic but viewing it from a wider and committed angle, it is really very inspiring.  Our God Himself makes this promise to be with His people...  "I myself."

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Finding oneself

A thought for the day from my friend and the 'crazy wise man', Rabbi:
Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere and sometimes in the middle of nowhere you find yourself. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Truth and Lies

What is the difference between a truth and a lie?
One sets fire to everything in its path (could be positively or destructively) and the other, haunts.  The only thing in common is that none can ever escape either.  

Learning to grow...

I did not approve one of the students final dissertation paper today.  He was furious when he was told about this by the Principal.  He stormed into my office and demanded why I did not approve his paper. He initially accused me of not guiding him at all and then now insulting him by not approving his final paper.  I stayed calm and asked him to get all his drafts in order of their submission, along with all the comments and remarks that I passed on to him, each time he submitted a chapter. He banged the door and left to get his drafts.  He came in a couple of minutes later with a pile of papers and started to put them in some sensible order - which he was unable to do.  I asked him to take his own time and come back with the papers put in order.

He returned after 3 hours, still unable to trace the order and sequence of drafts of his own paper!  I then took him along a 'guided tour' of all his papers. Since I knew all his crazy stuff better than him, I showed him his lethargy and irresponsible attitude all along, in spite of my repeated warnings and instructions - all written in black and white, all along the year.  Soon he realised he stood no chance of arguing or that his anger was meaningless. He had no one but himself to blame.  His last question, "What shall I do now?" I only asked him, "Did that question occur to you any time I returned your corrected drafts?"  He had no answer.

As I type this episode, I still am calm and in total control of myself.  All along I kept telling myself that I only intend to show him his laid back attitude which has cost him his academic certificate.  I should not break or insult him.  Never to shout or raise my voice.  I did it and feel that I've been just.  I know well, it is not about me, but about him.  

Siesta: Luxurious curse

Fr Wilson's goodnight thought today was quite challenging.  Citing the life of Don Bosco (in whose feastday honour we begin the triduum today), he stated that he slept only for 5 hours, that too barely. The luxury of sleeping in the afternoon is only for a Priest or religious. No working person, anywhere, in any profession, gets this special treat of resting in the afternoon.  People working in the world for a living, have no such privileges.  Moreover, Priests and religious who profess to God FOR the people, are often unavailable from 1 to 3 (or more) in the afternoon.  

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Philosophical Wrestling

Lecturing a youngster about the worth of life is a waste of time because he is too busy enjoying it and he would not 'waste' time on reflection and appreciation of it.

Lecturing one on his deathbed about the worth of life is AGAIN a waste of time because at that point of time, he knows because he has realised it for himself.  He also knows that he does not stand a chance to make amends.

Moral:  Stop lecturing others about life and live yours worthily.

AND now the story begins...

Context: Jan. 28 (tomorrow) is the last date for the submission of the dissertation for the final year students.

I live in a formation house and constantly tell / remind / exhort / cajole / petition / (may be even) threaten the first year students to take their studies seriously and engage in philosophical reflection (what I call as philosophical wrestling) for their own good - and for the good of the Church!  They listen with both their ears - entry through one ear and exit through the other, because nothing is retained / retaining in between.

I do the same with the final year students especially with regard to their dissertation process which begins way back in June.  They 'wake up' (that too only a handful of them) to its amazing enriching ability only on the eve of the submission of their paper.  That's when they start searching for time and resources because they now see the worth of doing it well.  Most of the others barely see any merit in this whole 'wrestling'.

Unfortunately, unlike the previous story, I do not have an option.  'Lecture', Challenge, I must - in spite of knowing well that the first years see it as futile 'sermon' and the final years have no time left to begin 'afresh'.

The only hope: That when and those who see the worth of this philosophical wrestling 'wake up', they have atleast some fragments from which they can build up the edifice of their life or strengthen their foundation. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

About "level"

I just had a very informal and jovial discussion at the tea table with our domestic staff.  We gathered together to meet the Provincial and after he left, we (the seven staff members and myself) sat for some more time.  As always the case, whenever they relax and feel at home, they start pulling the leg of past and present staff (Priests and Brothers). Along the way they share quite a few insights, given the fact that half of them are Hindus and view things differently from the way that we view things.  However, they have been in the Seminary for more than a decade and hence know also the inner workings.  Today, of the many things, they shared and joked about they mentioned one past staff member who completely 'changed' when he was appointed at a higher post elsewhere.  So much so, he did not even wish them when he left the house.  Kasi, our cook, said, "I thought only politicians and local goons are conscious of their 'level' (referring to the feeling of status and posts). But after I saw him change his attitude so drastically, I realised whether there or here, once the level increases, everything changes!"

That's wisdom from ordinary lay people who slave for us everyday of the year!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Burden of titles?

The last few days I've spent more time in bed than on my feet - a sort of headache and a irritating fever. This has also given me some time for introspection about my own work and responsibilities and the efficiency with which I've lived up to them. If I've to be true in my evaluation, I think I've let myself be burdened, more often than necessary, with the titles of my responsibility much more than the actual demands of the same! Perhaps a joyful focus on people and practical possibilities rather than on imaginary responsibilities, would have been wiser.

Anyway, never too late... I hope!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cemetery fence

Just remembered a quote based on which I delivered a talk while as a student in Yercaud...
The fence around a cemetery is useless as those outside do not want to enter in and those inside cannot come out. 

Beyond barriers

This week, being the Unity Octave, Fr Rector has planned and prepared a set of prayer services for the evening prayers.  Not keeping too well since that last two days, today's service was the first one I attended. I was quite impressed by the text of the altar panel: Walking with Jesus beyond barriers.

I was reflecting on the word 'barriers' this evening. How interesting it is to note that the very walls that protect us also imprison us.  Barriers are often erected to safe guard ourselves from those that intimidate or wreak havoc on our identity or very existence.  But in the long run, we use these very barriers as catapults to throw stones at others.  Formation of groups and units is healthy as long as it fosters growth and peace.... but when they turn into gangs of demolition squads - perhaps unconsciously - then it is time to erase boundaries and envelope all into a wider circle of sanity and humanity. 

Action...!

I heard an interesting event this evening in one of our neighbouring villages. Incidently Fr Maliekal too was involved - of course, almost as a victim!  It was said that a man, perhaps psychologically affected weilding a big chopper hacked a man and severely injured a woman too.  Fr Maliekal who was on his way to the railway station, riding pillion, with a Brother riding the bike just missed his swing.  This whole episode went on in the village, and traffic was blocked for more than an hour (the village being located right along the inner main road). 

From all the descriptions I heard, I had only one question: Why didn't anyone try to overpower him and stop him from causing further damage?  Everyone was only watching the show or running away worrying about their own safety - that too for more than an hour?? It was nothing short of some Telugu Balakrishna movie.  Only the difference was that all those who roam around the street as heroes always were not the heroes, in time of need.  That solitary figure was! 

Using available force than battling it...

There is always a huge outcry whenever there is a depiction of a religious founder or leader in a sort of caricature mode or in a "derogatory" manner.  There was always somewhere someone depicting Jesus with a smoking pipe or a bottle of whiskey or puffing a cigar;  not to mention someone, drawing a caricature of Prophet Muhammad (not too often though!); or some celebrity dancing around trees in a movie draped with some shawl with imprints of gods and goddesses.  Immediately there are protests and letters and agitations...

Well, understandably sentiments are delicate and thereby one easily gets hurt.  To voice a corrective note is obviously a sensible thing to do. However, things often are taken overboard and an unnecessary ruckus created.  More than stage protests and create a scene, the same occasion could very well be used to instruct, perhaps using the very same "derogatory" text/movie/picture.  Take the wind off the sails! Or use the wind to steer in your direction...

I suppose that demands much prudence, wisdom and knack.  

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Try growing up

I was watching part of Chariots of Fire this evening and was quite amused by the passion driving two young men for the same purpose. And just before I stopped the movie for the day, was the following conversation.  The context is Abrahams looses to Eric Liddelle and he cannot reconcile himself to this fact.  He's speaking with his girlfriend Sybil.
Abrahams (in childish desperation): I just don't know what to do!
Sybil: Try growing up!
That really is quite a challenge one must offer oneself once in a while, especially when faced with failures and difficulties.  As it is said, the quality of a man is tested not when he is successful but what one does when faced with failures. 

Religion massacred

The class test I conducted, the day before yesterday, for the third year students for my subject of Philosophy of Religion was almost a massacre of some key theories and names.  Here's how some of my students managed to achieve the feat!
List the major beliefs of Islam
  • Belief in Guru Muhamad 
  • Belief in maccha (I think this guy must have been a Tamilian in his previous birth)
  • They have a book called Kuran.
  • There is one and only one Quran
Name the philosopher who used the idea of 'archetype' to describe his idea of God (the answer is Karl Jung.  And here are some of the names I got to know for the first time in my life):
  • Kalum
  • Kalyum
  • Karl Hume (That is actually a crossbreed between David Hume and Karl Jung!)
  • Kalinung
  • Khackal
  • Kalahinge
  • Karl Young Just
  • And one good Brother thought it was, Aristotle!
There are several more answers (a bit long ones for me to type out here) which my guys wrote. One can only imagine if Jung underwent this transformation, what fate would have befallen Sigmund Freud and his theory of the Father-Son complex, Rudolf Otto's Religious experience, Paul Tillich's symbol, inter-religious dialogue ("the one for which at least two persons are needed," said one).

How I wish I could pass on some of these answer sheets to the Taliban for them to read the about Prophet Mohammad and Islam and then point out to them the authors! 

Queue psychology

As I spent four and half hours standing in the queue, I had ample time to formulate a 'queue psychology'. Here are some of the insights I gained while on my feet...

  • As long as I was the last one, the fear that I may not get a confirmed ticket loomed large.  However, when there were almost the same number of people behind me, as there were before me, I someone was sure of getting a confirmed ticket.  Added to that was a sense of pity for those who kept joining the queue, as whether at all they will manager to reach the counter before it shuts down. 
  • However organised and orderly the queue, the number of squabbles is directly proportional to the duration of wait. 
  • There are always some who reach the scene late and a while later, find themselves much ahead of us in the queue.  No one knows how and when did he manage to squeeze in, but the fact is that he is there!  And, of course, when noticed by someone there invariably erupts a fight! 
  • The degree of tension is inversely proportional to the duration of time for the counter to open. 
  • Just when the counter opens, everybody rushes to reach the counter - gone the line and order!  And after some heated discussions and jostling when the order is restored, there invariably are a few who have managed to get in.  
  • If jumping the line is a skill then staying unnoticed till your turn to submit the form at the counter arrives, is a real talent.  Some do it with great ease and flair!  
  • When one joins the line fresh, he is a novice - unsure, perplexed, seeking knowledge...  After a couple of hours, he'd be doling out advice and instructions to newcomers as though, he were the Buddha himself! 

All for the ... railways!

Yesterday morning, I had the privileged fortune of standing in a queue for four and half hours! I went to the railway station to submit the railway ticket reservation tatkal scheme form in the morning at 6 for one of our confreres.  It was supposed to be an easy process: hand-over the form, and then collect the ticket later in the day.  Unfortunately due to the peak holiday and travel season, the railways decided to bend the rules!  So here I was in a queue from 6 am to 10.30 am.  The icing on the cake was when I reached the counter (at 10.30 am). The man across the counter, staring into the computer, solemnly shoved back my form saying, "Waiting List no. 55!"  There was nothing else I could do other than turn around and walk back - as did most of them who were on that queue along with me.  So much for our tatkal ticket booking experience. 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Death of the ... class!

We were discussing the relevance of symbols and signs in religion, particularly from the perspective of Paul Tillich, as part of our subject, Philosophy of Religion.  Differentiating a symbol from a sign, I listed all that goes into making a symbol.  I explained how symbols are 'born' and not merely created overnight. Towards the end of the class I asked the students what would cause the 'death' of  symbol.  As I negated most of their answers one of them concluded the discussion, "When we die!"

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Music from thrash...



Landfill Harmonic film teaser from Landfill Harmonic on Vimeo.
People realise that we shouldn't throw away thrash carelessly... well, we shouldn't throw away people either. [Concluding words of the inspiring and creative video]

Monday, 14 January 2013

Everything's fine, until...

In India, almost everything is OK, permitted, allowed, let be till something happens.  At that point all hell breaks loose.  There is lot of talk, debate, media attention, gossip, political slander ... what not.  A couple of days later, we are back to how life was.  Occasionally there would be a murmur or two and within a week even that would become a memory.  Perhaps only those who were directly affected by the incident try to keep the focus on the issue but for the rest of us life carries on, albeit with a short - very very short indeed - break.  I guess it is pretty much the same all over the world, but I feel we Indians are really good at this.

I remember distinctly, while at Karunapuram, there were these 'toofan' jeeps, those super sonic four-wheelers plying between Hyderabad and Kazipet, which would contain easily about 18 to 20 people, besides the driver.  An accident caused the death of a young sister and another person, on one such occasion. There was lot of hue and cry.  These jeeps never hit the road for three to four days. Those that ventured out were chased and pelted by the people.  However by the end of a week, the very ones who were deadly against these jeeps were travelling in them!  

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Baptism

Through Baptism we are made into the children of God - the adopted Children of God.  Fr Maliekal has an interesting narration with regard to this 'adoption'. Two children, one of them an adopted child, were arguing.  The adopted one finally stated, "You were born of your mother's womb;  I was born in her heart."  So when speaking of being adopted children, we are all born of God's heart.  

Fr Maliekal added this last bit to his sermon this morning: Baptism is a gift and a task.  Given freely but for a commission.  And what would that mission be?  The Second Reading of the day specifies that: '... doing good to all' (Titus 2: 14).

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Picnic group

A group of children accompanied by a couple of their teachers and the Sisters Community (of the Mary Mediatrix congregation) were with us for the past two days as their picnic. The group are students from a school in Karimnagar and they joined us mostly for their supper, since during the day they were out visiting some picnic spots in and around Vizag.

I was pleasantly surprised by their smartness. They were all of the 10th standard students and supposedly from a rural area.  Given all these facts, I certainly did not expect them to be frank and forthcoming in their interactions.  I was proved totally wrong as they spoke good English (some of them spoke even better than our Brothers!), were free and at home interacting with us all, quite sportive and very reverent too.  Though they did not get to see the Seminary during the daylight, they were keen to take a round of the same at least in the night.  Some of them were so taken up with what they saw, that they wanted to stay back for some time.  And I told them, those inside long to get out and those outside love to get in!  

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thanks...

Prayer for the day:
(Thanks to Rabbi)
Lord I thank you each day for the nights that turned into mornings, friends who became my family, dreams which transformed into reality. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Sensitivity and love

There are many expressions of love; sensitivity being one of the smallest, nonetheless a genuine expression. Each of us experiences this in more than one way: in the train, when a co-passenger lends a helping hand with our lugguage rather than take up cudgels against us or when someone smiles and lets you share his seat when all you have is a wait-listed ticket; in the house, when delayed for meals due to some work, someone at the table keeps the meal hot in a hot-case and then sits with you, though he has finished his meals; on one's return from holidays, a community member is there at the entrance with a broad smile and a strong handshake to welcome you and ask a question or two about your stay at home;  during the rosary, recited with a confrere, he offers a decade for you...

In one sense, sensitivity is indeed a litmus test for genuine love: associated mostly with petty things, one is likely to skip or overlook these aspects, unless one is really... really... concerned about you. 

The Energy Quotient

In Physics there is a law which states that energy can never be created nor destroyed; it only changes form.  I was reflecting to see if this is applicable to the energy within human beings.  Well, as for creating energy, I'm not sure if one is not capable of generating energy within.  However, one thing I feel convinced about:  Energy necessarily does exist; it is only a matter of application!  Whatever be it, energy is consumed!

If I do not use the energy within, for something or anything, I end up using the same energy for 'doing' nothing!  From another perspective, if I do not invest my energy in something constructive, I'm all the same using (dissipating?) my energy.

I ask myself if I'm making the optimum use of my energy for something creative and progressive or am I spending my energy in wasting energy? 

Suffering of reason?

This afternoon one of my first year students met me to discuss with me his seminar paper. He was doing a theme related to Buddhism and suffering.  When asked to explain one of the scede he had collected, he spoke elaborately for a couple of minutes.  I understood not a bit of what he said.  However, there was one phrase he kept repeating several times: ... suffering of reason...

Only later, I realised that what he really meant was 'reason for suffering'.  

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I'm Yours (Jason Mraz)

Uno Palabra (A Word)


This is a song from the movie Man on Fire.  It's lyrics, in Spanish, convey a lot of meaning and with great efficacy as well.  The tune is very very simple, with very little of orchestration and a ton of emotions. 
Here is the English translation of the same: 
A word does not say anything 
And at the same time it hides everything 
Just as the wind that hides the water 
Like the flowers that mud hides.

A glance does not say anything

And at the same time it says everything 
Like rain on your face 
Or an old treasure map

A truth does not say anything 

And at the same time it hides everything 
Like a bonfire that does not go out 
Like a stone that is born dust.

If one day you need me, I will be nothing 

And at the same time I will be everything 
Because in your eyes are my wings 
And the shore where I drown, 
Because in your eyes are my wings 
And the shore where I drown

Praying prayerfully

The feeling that this is all boredom and meaningless while reciting the morning and evening prayers (from the breviary) is not a strange one for any religious who has really tried to pray sincerely.  However, what keeps me going is the self-assurance that prayer is not only what I have to say to God but also includes what God has to say to me.  Therefore, rather than utter those lines and passages as though for a reading practice, I might as well pray them. After all why waste precious moments of vocal prayer - that too when we are often so stingy about allotting time for it. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Oh my God

Yesterday I watched bit of the hindi movie Oh My God! Truly amazing and well made.  It basically contains the whole syllabus of the Philosophy of God (Theodicy) but in a neat comical package. None better than Paresh Rawal to essay the role of the atheist/protagonist!  The analogies offered generously all along are quite amusing and lead one to reflection.

Of the part that I was yesterday, the best I liked was when Paresh Rawal asks Akshay Kumar (Lord Krishna, in his modern avatar) to drop him at his house, the latter replies:
My job is to show you the way; reaching the goal is your responsibility. 
I wish to screen the movie for my third year students sometime this month. I'm currently enjoying my course on Philosophy of Religion with them. Though in Hindi, the subtitles should offer them something at least. 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Seek Him

The feast of Epiphany, among the many other things, helps me reflect on the aspect of search.  While the main theme is that of manifestation, it is also the celebration of the success of the eager search of the wise men who started off to look for the Promised One.

The readings of the feast of Epiphany, rightly emphasise this dimension of the zeal to know, find out, seek Him. Well one might add that even Herod was searching for Jesus, but was not so fortunate (fortunate for Jesus!).  So what was the difference between their search mode and mood?  The wise men knew the worth (as did Herod) and wanted to be with Him; Herod on the other hand, saw the newborn as a threat to him, and thereby wanted to eliminate any competition.

So, in that sense, we all do seek... but let us also be clear as to for what do we seek Him? 

... if our heart does not condemn us...

The last line of yesterday's readings taken from the first letter of John (3: 21), was quite inspirational. I never heard that before or perhaps, it never struck me before. It states thus
... if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God. 
Basically I believe it means that if we stand the test of our own conscience then surely we have nothing to fear before God. If however, we have something pricking our conscience, we need not disturb God to find out if we failed in something... our own conscience would point it out to us.

One may well argue from the ethical point that if the conscience is not formed well, one might go on living as if a Saint while engaging in all wrong deeds.  But supposing that we did form our conscience well and that it is still sensitive to God and others, then we have  a great signpost for our journey in the right (or wrong) direction. 

Saturday, 5 January 2013

A proper attitude towards women

Though not very keenly but I did follow the news about Nirbhaya, India's new-found braveheart, who breathed her last after being raped and brutalized last month.  It was sad to hear her pass away... sadder still is the news that keeps trickling in.  The initial fervour of stronger action and tougher laws as protection and equal dignity to women is now being diverted to fights and blame-games between media, police, laws, ministers and the medical fraternity. While I hope something worthwhile and truly noble emerges out of this whole tragic incident... that Nirbhaya's struggle for life will have brought about something substantial for those still undergoing the trauma, is my hope.

Initially I was skeptical of all the protests and candle-lit vigils held in Delhi. But when I saw that the protests continued also on the midnight of December 31, I was all praise for those young and old braving the cold and the temptation to forget it all and just celebrate the new year!

As for me, I strongly believe that more than law and patrolling, it is a proper attitude towards women in our families that will help our society.  In a culture where boys are preferred (in every sense of the word and for all matters, except that of doing household chores!) girls too need to be treated with equal dignity and respect.  Only when children, and subsequently young men and adults begin to see women as another human being, as a person with feelings, sentiments, hopes, desires and dignity, will this sort of upmanship and violence end.

And as someone rightly pointed out, violence against women is caused not by anger against them, but is in fact, a response (of men) to our incapacity to be able to respond to situations better than women. Hence instead of accepting the fact that women do compliment us and are in certain fields better than men, use the muscle power and 'subdue' them. 

At the Church for the new year

On December 31st night, I joined my family for the midnight Mass in the Parish - it was not out of love for the midnight Mass but that the morning Mass was in Telugu, something my people are not comfortable with.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people attending the Mass!  There was hardly any parking space.  The Church was packed, so was the choir loft and every chair in the corridors.  Secondly I observed that it was mostly a family affair.  People attended Mass as a family.  Though I did not see very many youngsters, it was nice to see that so many people preferred to spend the first moments of new year in the Church rather than in front of the TV or at some party.

The only thing I felt a bit odd - at the same time happy - was that there was hardly anyone I recognised in that whole crowd.  It has been 20 years since I joined the Seminary and I suppose people also have moved on.  There are just a handful of people whom I recognise and those who know me.  The rest are all Parishners, but unknown to me. 

No comics help!

During our stay in the farm house, one afternoon, our neighbour's farm hut caught fire. Dad, Willy and I rushed to help out and save his paddy and hay stacked up just beside the hut.  I ran faster for I happened to see a calf tied just a little distance away from the hut.  After twenty minutes of firefighting, we controlled the fire and then began to douse it completely with water from the paddy field.  There was no electricity and luckily we had a small sump filled with water that came in handy.  However, what I really realised and learnt is something else that day. ... comics don't help much!

Yeah, comics don't help much! My little nephew, all of three, is crazy about the TV comics of Chota Bheem.  He all the time imitates his fights and actions and dialogues.  But when this fire broke out, he was, at first all excited but after a while so frightened that he shut himself in the inner room, bolting both the doors of the house!  I wonder what happened to his Bheem heroics? 

Even the sky is occupied!

I returned from home after almost two weeks of holidays this morning.  In my memory, this was the longest time I stayed away from the computer and internet since I got hooked to it after my student days and since I was appointed Secretary.  Anyway, no regrets... no one committed suicide nor did I lose my sanity!  It was a good and welcome break.

During the one week that I was at home (another five days or so were spent at our farm house, outside the city of Hyderabad), I would go to the terrace every night and spend some time there.  One thing that I couldn't avoid thinking of was how the skyline has changed over the years.  I remember well that as children we would love to climb up the asbestos sheets of our house and look around.  The only tall building (and quite majestic too) in the whole vicinity was our own Don Bosco School.  Slowly things have changed so much that there is hardly any sky left to be seen!  All that one gets to see is tall buildings on every side.  Anyside you look, you find yourself looking into someone's house!  
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