Monday, 31 December 2018

Solitude

Being at home with the whole family, especially with the kids, is a totally different experience than being in a religious community.  The one thing that stands out is the passage of time.  Time just flies.  Moreover, nothing really serious can be done while at home. Especially with the kids around, not that the others are any better but still, I could never think of doing any serious reading or writing.  I just didn't!  It's another matter that I did not plan or want to.  Even if I did, I wouldn't have been able to.  The silence and solitude my room in Chertsey offers is something I cannot even dream about while at Aziz Nagar. 

The inverse of it is also equally true: Cannot really have all that fun and interaction I enjoyed while at Aziz Nagar, all by myself while being alone in my room in Chertsey.  Especially with my research the only objective ahead, I just need to make the most of this time and opportunity.  

Back after holidays

The trip home these last few weeks was good.  Got to see the new house and the new place.  Did visit the old house as well.  Compared to the new one, the old one looks very small and cramped.  Didn't feel so all my life when that was the only house we had!

However, this holiday was different from all the other trips back home.  For the first time, I could visibly see the aging of all those whom I knew, even Mummy (of all people).  Beginning with Papa's fracture of the leg, these past few days have been a string of visits to the sick and ailing.  A couple of confreres too, completely bed-ridden.  The height of it all was the funeral on Christmas day!  A family friend from our acquaintances when we were at the old house passed away on Christmas eve.  So Mum and I went to visit the family on Christmas morning.  Since the priests were not available for a funeral Mass, their parish priest conducted a short service.  While spending time with the family, I was imagining what Christmas would mean for them on this particular day, especially for the grandson of the lady who passed away.

Looking back at the three weeks at home, Christmas was hardly 'experienced'.  For me it was all about being at home with the family.  So has every holiday been!  Back now in Chertsey, it feels as if I was here all along! 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

A cat

One of the masterpieces of my niece, who then wanted me to judge whether the cat was a big or small.

Tough decision!  Initially it did not have a tail, no ears, legs thin... I had to bide time to find out what exactly it was before calling it a bird! Luckily I did and was then told it is a cat! Oh yes, a cat!

For the future...

Reading an article on BBC, what struck me most was the concluding comment of a simple shepherd.  Here's the complete article...

Typical of a parent, he did not aspire anything for himself.  All he really wished for was a better future for his children. 


Friday, 14 December 2018

Driving

Have been driving quite a bit since I arrived back home in Hyderabad since the last week.  Having been driving in the UK for the last two years, being on the road in Hyderabad really feels a bit weird.  Not only has the traffic grown, the drivers have grown more crazy! 

Beside the occasional (unguarded!) road works and wonky u-turns, our roads have all the same aspects of the UK roads: speed signs, painted lanes, traffic lights, even round abouts (I don't remember seeing them before).  However, perhaps the only difference is that none of the above make any difference to the drivers, riders, pedestrians!  None at all!  Pedestrians walk across the road as if they're on a stroll in the park.  But I've to admit there are hardly any pavements!  Two wheeler riders and auto-drivers sneak in the least available space.  Forget the lane discipline, there's no indicating or giving way.  Each one is convinced he or she has the right of way - no matter where you are coming from, where you intend to go!  Even if I stop to give way to someone crossing a busy road or a vehicle passing by, the one behind me gets restless and keeps honking till I move. 

And yeah, the honking!  The first thing I noticed as I stepped out of the airport was the honking!  I think, if the horn does not work, none would take their vehicle out on the road!  That's the 'importance' - felt need - of honking while on the road!  The round-abouts are just a 'waste of space'!  I'm sure that's the opinion of most people around here. Parking is another adventure: one can park anywhere one wants.  The difficulty is when everyone wants to park around the same space. Then the road becomes the parking space!!  The condition of roads is another story. Add to that condition the heavy rain we were blessed with last night.  It's called 'icing on the cake'! 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Don't toch!

My nephew received a remote controlled (RC) car for his b'day!  That has been his heart and soul since last weekend.  Last evening his 5 year sister played with it for a while when he was having his bath.  He was devastated!  When he went to bed, leaving the battery for charging, my brother and I found this note beside the car and the charging battery...

Green mangoes

Children have a totally different perspective of the world than we adults. They see things and the world in a totally different light than most of us. 

In one of my casual conversations with my 5 year old niece I asked her what colour are mangoes.  I only thought of yellow.  She, on the other hand, started with "Green, red and some are yellow!" At first I was prompted to 'correct' her and say mangoes are yellow.  But then I realized she was right.  Mangoes are green and red too!  

Monday, 3 December 2018

The world through the phone

For quite some time now there is this psychological tendency we are warned of and most often everyone is familiar with: living in the past.  The danger is that we forgot the present and miss out opportunities that the 'here and now' offers. 

Of late, viewing some videos of some significant events or even of accidents, I think we're now well into a different 'time-zone'.  Most people in the video, rather than cherish the event they are privileged to witness firsthand, in person, are busy taking pictures or videos of the event!  So rather than nourish the moment live, they're viewing it through the screen of their smart phones! Earlier there was this craze of getting our photos clicked by others. Today others need not be involved. Each one is a photographer. Each one is the one being photographed.  What about the scenery or the event?  That has relevance only in as far as it is 'captured' - not by me, but by my smartphone! 

Worst case scenarios are where people record an accident or incident and continue doing so rather than reaching out to the victim or standing up to some bullies or goons.  

Understanding health

The last few days have been a strange meditation on medicine, trees, fruits and health!  Even this morning, my mind was all about medicine and health and trees!  Where it ultimately led me to is to see how I perceive evil and that perception deciding how I deal with it.  It's difficult to explain since there are several things floating in my mind and it feels like a baniyan tree with not just one clear trunk and a couple of branches.  It is all a jumble of branches, trunks, roots...

However, one of the things that has been coming up over and over again in my mind is the notion of health.  Most often we associate it with physical wellbeing.  Sometimes also add mental well being.  However, we think of health as something delicate, something that needs to be preserved and safeguarded.  We rarely cherish it.  Even when we say we're healthy, we mean that we are physically fit.  But I think that's a very narrow understanding of health.  Health is to be measured by growth, not absence of illness.  And by the standard we measure health, so will our approach to it also be.

The same applies to evil - whatever that means and includes.  Rather than try eliminating evil, why not strengthen the good?  The medicine that we take when we are ill, if it is meant merely to attack the virus, is a very substandard and instant remedy.  Rather if it strengthens my immunity, already existing capacity, then those antibodies within me do the work of tackling the virus.  A twin achievement: strengthening the good and destruction of virus.  The former achieves only the destruction of virus, leaving my immune system still weak and vulnerable.  

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Entering advent

We begin Advent today.  For me it only meant preparing an Advent wreath... for now.

However, looking back at my own relationship with Jesus over the past two Christmas' that I've spent here on English soil, I wouldn't say that I've remained the same.  Far from being 'scandalised' or shaken by the lack of external practices of piety, I find myself far more consolidated in my real connection with the person of Jesus.  He certainly has not become more divine; he's become more human.  And thereby I begin to appreciate Him and His role better.

The most significant change that I've begun to notice is the way the Biblical texts, especially the Gospels, sound different.  Not extraordinary in themselves but personal - though, not always.  
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