Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Fr Bala in UPS, Rome

Latest information gained:
This morning as Fr Balaswamy was sorting out his collection of books and files (something I'm sure he's not done in ages!) he managed to lay hands on his licentiate dissertation. And the theme he did was 'The idea of Apostolic Consecration in the Constitutions of 1984'.  His guide was Fr Adrian Vaan Luyn (Luke Van Luuy), the same one who would later become the Vicar of the Rector Major.

As Fr Bala reminiscences he completed his studies in straight two years, just as his Provincial Fr Thayil told him to.  Fr Thayil was surprised that Fr Bala secured 'summa cum laude' - we too were, when we heard it! Fr Bala attributes it all to his tricks of the trade. He said Fr Peter Briado was the examiner and to impress him he carried a whole load of books to the exam hall.  The first part of the oral exam was about India! When the questions started coming, he was asked what was the whole pile of books and Fr Bala elaborated the first one - the only one he really read!  Fr Braido was impressed and told him that he could now hold the chair of Salesian Spirituality in India! Wow!
Fr Balaswamy being embraced by Fr Benji, when the latter came to visit the Province
during the official visit of the former Rector Major, Fr Pascual Chavez

Religious Life

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Interesting twist (ad)

The other day while watching TV after many days, I was amused to view the above ad.  Truly creative, even though sexist, but mischievous!  Watch it till the end to know the real twist!

Beautiful Day by Jamie Grace

Fr Panampara Abraham and computers

This afternoon while remembering Fr Panampara Abraham, of happy memory, I recalled the time when I was in the Provincial house and he had come from Kollapur to spend sometime in the Provincial house. It was the time that some of students from Tirupattur had gifted him a new laptop and he was learning his ways with it.  By then he already knew how to put it on and shut it down.  He only had difficulty in opening a file, saving it (because he was busy writing his books then) and some editing skills in Word.  He had asked my help and I used to spend some time everyday helping him master some computer skills.
Fr Panampara Abraham with Fr T.D. John
During the course of this 'computer course' I suggested that he write down some of those instructions rather than leaving it to memory.  He immediately secured a A5 size diary and meticulously began to take notes.  However after two days he realized this was not working... he could not read his own handwriting!! Such was his writing!  He used to say, he secured his Ph.D. with high marks merely because of his handwriting - the professor could not read one bit and awarded him marks fast!!

Another amusing incident was when he was mastering the art of using e-mail.  I assisted him in creating an ID and showed him how to go about sending, replying mails.  For trial runs, I would send him mails from my office (across the corridor) and then assist him understand the logic and process of e-mailing.  A couple of days later, I suggested that he himself make known to the confreres his new mail ID. He gladly agreed and successfully managed it too... only that the mail he sent contained not only his mail ID but his password as well! 

In my lifetime, I'd like to...

In the last issue of the Reader's Digest I read an open contest the magazine conducted online asking readers to complete the following sentence:
In my lifetime, I'd like to... 
Some of the interesting sentences were published in the last issue of April 2015.
What caught my attention was the whole idea of having a vision for one's life.  Of course, for fun sake one could very well complete the sentence with a witty saying.  Even then, I suppose what counts is that we are consistent with it. Most often people seem to aim for a 'one-time achievement' and then what is the 'lifetime' dream?? I'd rather go by those who have a simple dream but are willing to be consistent with it and strive for it in one's own simple ways. Better still if it is something non-material! 

With the SG Brothers

Yesterday I had the fortune of meeting 43 young Montfort Brothers of St Gabriel at Hyderabad in their new Provincial house.  These young religious hailed from the two Provinces of Hyderabad and Pune. My session was more for easing them into the 4-day animation programme they had in mind.  I was supposed to enthuse and 'entertain' them prior to the heavy dough that would befall them.  It was good interacting with them all, even though for a short time.

I also had the opportunity to meet some of their stalwarts: Br Lambert, a pioneer and senior Brother, for long in the formation line; Br Showry, whom I was meeting after 6 years and who is a very well known Brother among the education/school circles in AP and TS; Br Rocky, the principal of the school here in Kazipet; Br Ronald, the Provincial bursar and another Brother (I forget his name now) who is presently staying put for rest in the Provincial house after years of teaching Theology in Bangalore and other parts of India.

In spite of my best efforts at understanding their formation procedure, I sincerely did not get any clue of what their formation pattern is.  But one thing was clearly stated by one of the senior most Brothers who happened to be present for the occasion:  Quality of commitment and joy is drastically reducing in the congregation.  During the inaugural session wherein he was called upon to address the young religious he stated a few of his concerns about their own provinces and confreres... and I was amused because he seemed to be listing issues plauging us Salesians! Motivation, commitment, joy in religious life, appropriate choices, desire for serious intellectual work, passion for doing some good consistently, hard work... seem to be the areas of concern for the Brothers too!  

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Honour and Justice

Honour requires more than admission... so I offer a full confession and the whole truth. For far too long, I failed to recognize my own hypocrisy. I ignored my own cowardice, conveniently hiding behind a position of political compromise. And for what? To retain the meagre wealth and rank that men desire. So I come before you a condemned man for having finally stood up to injustice. My shame and regret is that I failed to do so before it arrived in my own court. 
(from the movie Last Knights)

Friday, 1 May 2015

Political camouflage

The death of the 13 year old girl in Moga of Punjab brings to light the same point I made recently: how real issues are being hijacked in the political drama that unfolds after a tragedy.  Rather than addressing the issue at hand, the event is so politicized that the real issue is totally lost!

Rather than question and bring a change in the morality of the male dominant society, the 'impotent' and silent approval of such dastardly acts by those around whom this incident occurred, the very societal structures and individuals who very consciously and brazenly endorse such incidents under the name of 'mistake' or 'manliness'... the whole state machinery is involved in using this event for political mileage. What of the cause?  What of the main issue?

The same was evident in the death of the farmer Gajendra Singh who committed suicide a couple of days ago during the AAP rally in Delhi.  Today his death is merely another news item in history. And what of the purpose or reason which led him to undertake such a desperate measure?  That, is totally lost...

Very very subtle and clever camouflage technique by the politicians, the bigwigs of the economy and most essentially by the media!!  
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