Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Treated or Tricked

In India Halloween is not celebrated in a big way but westernized people living in the big cities are getting on to it, specially after the popularity of Harry Potter.

Personally I would stay away from it as it akin to the occult and dark practices.But Christians can use this holiday to share that Jesus defeated the devil on the cross , death is not our enemy anymore and we are protected from all evil by Him.

I read the following article by Don Cole in the Christianity Today Magazine , thought I 'd share excerpts from it.

Tonight is Halloween, the year's ugliest holiday—the only holiday that remains completely pagan. Unlike Christmas and Easter, which also had pagan origins but were successfully changed into Christian holidays, Halloween is still purely pagan, still ugly.
Halloween has its origins in Druidism; it was originally a festival celebrated by Celts at the beginning of winter. An adequate treatment of it probably requires a study of Celtic culture. We don't have time for that, except to note that the Celts were an early Indo-European people who occupied territory from Britain and Spain in the west to Asia Minor in the east. In the English-speaking world, Irishmen, Welshmen, Cornishmen, and Scottish Highlanders are said to be descended from the Celts.
The Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics deals with the Celtic calendar and notes that the year was divided into two unequal halves, summer and winter.
The winter half of the Celtic year began on Samhain (pronounced Sah-win) eve, that is, on October 31. Samhain was a festival of the beginning of winter and was intended (says Hastings) "to assist the powers of growth in their conflict with winter's death." But Samhain seems to have been the occasion for other festivals as well, including the festival of beginnings, and a harvest festival. Accordingly, it was at once an orgiastic feast (as were all primitive festivals of beginnings), and a festival of the dead. Halloween retains customs from both aspects of the Samhain celebration.
The old Halloween custom of throwing nuts into a bonfire, or a shoe over a roof, recalls Ezekiel's contempt for the king of Babylon who threw arrows into the air, thinking the way they landed would give him the information he needed. Some Samhain divination rites "had an erotic character."
Scholars tend to regard divination rites as quaint. In the Bible, God says divination rites are detestable and everyone who practices divination is detestable. That's the divine perspective, and it helps explain the refusal of many Christian people to attend Halloween parties, no matter how innocuous the parties may be.
Christian churches attempted to displace pagan notions and pagan customs associated with Halloween, but they were not successful. Halloween cannot be changed, but in the Christian community it can be replaced with church-sponsored programs. At some time in the year we Christians should recall the lives of departed believers—not just those listed in the Bible, but also men and women who have enriched the church by their godly lives. Why not do it on Halloween?
We should remember our contemporaries—believers whom we have known personally who have passed away. The Epistle to the Hebrews says, "Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the outcome of their way of life, imitate their faith."
That text tells us why it's helpful to recall the lives of godly people we have known: that we may contemplate the outcome of their lives, and imitate their faith. There are other values in a meeting convened to remember those who have passed into heaven. Believers who have lost friends or family members could be encouraged to talk about them openly. What the Bible teaches about the state of the dead who die in the Lord could be reviewed, and the occasion could be a fine opportunity for proclaiming that Christ is Conqueror over death and hell and Satan.
With a little enlightened imagination every church should be able to come up with something better than just sitting out Halloween, deploring its pagan, ugly elements.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Book Name Tag

My friend Piyush tagged me for the Book Cover Tag. You go to advance search in and type your first name in the Title and display the most funny book cover you find.

I found several books with my name

Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto is the funniest because of the name of the author. Imagine having Banana as a first name, Hi Banana how are you doing? Banana, would you fancy a banana for dessert? I am going bananas-that has several shades of meaning for him. He 's quite a looker too. Look at his photo.

Other books were
Amrita by Kalyani Ghosh
Amrita by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (she 's written Heat and Dust)
Amrita-the retake by Vivan Sundaram

This last one is about one of India 's eminent painter Amrita Sher-Gil. I found several books on her.
These are her paintings and portrait.
She was born in 1913 in Budapest, Hungary and died in 1241 in Lahore. Her father was an aristocratic Indian and mother, a Hungarian singer.She was trained in Italy and Paris and achieved much renown. She is so beautiful.

Our church building work is going on. They laid down a platform all around the building to prevent water seepage but its not satisfactory.To correct that mistake and finish the platform Rs 35,000 is needed. We don 't have it.Please pray the Lord may provide.Quite worried about it.
we have a lot to do but lack funds.
We are walking by faith and not by sight.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Karva chauth

Today is the Hindu festival of Karva Chauth on which hindu women keep a day long fast and pray for the long life of their hubbies. The follwing video is a jewellry ad but its very pretty.

The fast of Karva Chauth is of particular importance to Hindu women as they believe it ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands.
Karva Chauth has become more of a community festival Karva Chauth is one such occasion when most married Hindu women in North India seek the blessings of God for their husband's long life. Karva Chauth is observed on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin, which is also called Kartik according to some calendars.
Though it is a day marked with neither food nor water, this festival is quite popular among the newly weds. A few days before the festival, markets are full of items needed for the festival. The preparations for this festival start a week in advance. Appointments are made with beauty parlours, hands are decorated with intricate mehendi (henna)designs and jewellery and cloth merchants do a brisk business.
Before evening, the married woman receives a basket full of goodies from her mother, which is meant for the mother-in-law. The basket contains sweets, fruits and a sari. Before the sun sets, most of the women in a locality gather in one house and prepare a corner for the puja. This puja chowk (altar)is beautifully decorated and a small platform is prepared against a wall. On this, the image of Gauri Mata or Goddess Parvati is placed. In the olden days, this image was made of cow-dung.

A festive as well as enjoyable occasion for newlyweds. The day of Karva Chauth is celebrated mostly amongst the entire North Indian community settled either in India and other parts of the world. The most important aspect of this day is that a dawn to dusk fast is undertaken by the North Indian ladies and seeing the moon they finally break the fast. The fast is unique perhaps because nowhere in the world does a wife go without food or water just to pray for the longevity and well-being of her husband.Prior to the breaking of the fast it is mandatory to look at the moon and then the face of the husband through a colander.If the sky is overcast with clouds or hubby darling is late coming home, it becomes a difficult job and the wifey has to wait. the movies dramatize it a lot.
In modern day, with all the trappings of commercialisation attached, Karva Chauth, the big fasting day has turned into a full-fledged event. The event is growing bigger with each passing day. Karva Chauth celebrations promise to grow bigger with each passing year. The Halwais,(sweet shops) the Mehendi(henna) and Churiwallis (clothes)have traditionally been busy on this auspicious day. But joining the bandwagon in recent times are the beauty parlour owners, the event managers and the restaurant owners.
Karva Chauth special eateries are gearing up for now. Cashing in on the popularity of 'eating out' most restaurants have special menus for this special day. No wonder almost every happening-eating joint around town is offering plenty of attractive options to choose from. Various clubs organize special events on this festive day with various stalls, bumper Tambola and even a dance competition. With so much feasting and fun added to it, fasting had never been so good before.You can celebrate according to your economic level.
This is another video clipping from a Bollywood movie in which the girl celebrates KC with her husband or boyfriend (I don 't know as I have not seen the movie) in secret as the parents don 't approve of him.In the end the girl touches the hubby 's feet as a mark of respect and submission

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Vending Woman

On a narrow Tokyo street, Aya Tsukioka demonstrates clothing designs she hopes will ease Japan’s growing fear of crime.
With a deft motion, Ms Tsukioka, a 29-year-old fashion designer, lifts a flap on the front of her skirt to reveal a sheet of cloth printed in bright red, with a soft drink logo partly visible.
By holding the sheet fully open and stepping to the side of the road, she shows how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.
What would you like to disguise yourself as?

Thursday, 25 October 2007


Watch this documnetary on Discovery Channel. My hometown is located at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.


These are some pictures my niece Mahima took last summer of a wedding
procession passing by our house.the first one is the music cart. The musicians ride on this vehicle.The other two are wedding lights. The groom either rides a horse or comes in a beautifully decorated car.

Yesterday 's wedding was nice with flashy clothes, color, music, crowds of people and spicy food.
I like nans most of all.The bridegroom came at 10pm seated on a horse. We didn 't stay for the ceremony as it was too late.
Reminds me of the story of the 10 virgins told by Jesus.
The wise virgins had the oil in their lamps to welcome the bridegroom but the foolish ones neglected to fill
lamps with oil
missing out entry into the wedding festivities. I have to be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit, living as a true Christian so that when Jesus, the bridegroom comes to take me away He may not find me dry and faithless.
What excitement will be there when we join together for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.The grandest feast of all time and space.Are you ready for Him?
Yesterday was Aunt Sybil 's 86th birthday. She is not well so we did n't have a celebration.
It was so sweet.Sunila came to greet her and said, "Happy birthday Phupee "(father 's sister) and Phupee promptly replied,"Same to you Sunila".

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Footprints of Satan

Read this devotional in the Max Lucado weekly newsletter.The footprints of Satan can be seen all around us in terrorism, broken families, poverty substance abuse, perversion of all sorts, hopelessness and suicide.Lets be salt and light and try to erase these deadly prints.
Scene from the Karachi blasts at Benazir Bhutto 's homecoming last week.


Once he was approached by a leper, who knelt before him begging his help. “If only you will,” said the man, “you can cleanse me.” In warm indignation Jesus stretched out his hand, [and] touched him.Mark 1:40–41, NEB-I was in an emergency room late one night last week.Victims of Satan filled the halls. A child—puffy, swollen eyes. Beaten by her father. A woman—bruised cheeks, bloody nose. “My boyfriend got drunk and hit me,” she said, weeping. An old man—unconscious and drunk on a stretcher. He drooled blood in his sleep.Jesus saw the victims of Satan, too.He saw a leper one day … fingers gnarled … skin ulcerated … face disfigured.And he got indignant … angry.Not a selfish, violent anger. A holy anger … a controlled frustration … a compassionate disgust. And it moved him. It moved him to action.I’m convinced that the same Satan stalks today,causing the hunger in Somalia … the confusion in the Mideast … the egotism on the movie screen … the apathy in Christ’s church. And Satan giggles among the dying.Dear Father,May we never grow so “holy,” may we never be so “mature,” may we never become so “religious” that we can see the footprints of Satan and stay calm.


Tonight I an going to a Muslim wedding. Mom 's not coming as she has to stay with aunt Sybil who is not well.
I have posted a photo of a Muslim bride. They are dressed up colorfully and wear lots of jewelry and henna.They keep their faces covered.For the wedding vows the bride and groom sit in separate rooms and the priest goes to each one and has them say yes.Many times the bride is too shy or nervous to say the word so the family and friends say it for her and the ceremony proceeds.
Indian weddings are very huge its normal to have more , than 500 guests,that 's the minimum.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Sunday Blessings

Rev. Paul Sigamani from South India (Tamil Nadu) spoke in church.And a gentleman from the same state sang a special number in Hindi.Until a few years ago Hindi (our national language, spoken mainly in N. India) was not accepted in the south but now people are more open to it.I would have a very hard time learning a south Indian language.

My niece and nephew, Ashish and Mahima,she will be 15 on Oct 23rd.

Prem and Anjali in their church in New Brunswick
My sister Anjali (Canada) has married into a Tamilian family (although Prem is a Bombay-wala), speaks decent Tamil and understands it too, and cooks good South Indian food.

Was happy that our boys won the Twenty / 20 cricket match.They are the 20/20 champions so it was expected of them.
Now lets see how they fare against the Pakistani team from Nov. 5th onwards.

My Dad was a die hard cricket fan.During cricket season we hardly got to watch day time TV.And he had his radio on during power cuts to listen to the commentary or ask me to check the score on my cell phone.In Hindi he would say;"Upne usme dekho" - or "Check in your thingi' always forgetting what to call the mobile phone!

Which brings me to a funny mobile phone theft story I read in the papers a few days back.
A guy stole a platinum coated Vertu Signature mobile phone ( Rs.2.36 lakh-roughly US $6000) from the shop of an interior decorator in Bombay.The lady notified the police and told them that the thief would be looking for a battery charger which costs Rs 16,000.( about US $ 400)
When the robber went shopping an alert shop keeper informed the police as the it didn 't seem that the man would be able to afford such an expensive gadget.The cops came and nabbed him. The thief belonged to a slum area.

Please pray for Aunt Sybil she has a bad cough and fever. Some better after medication and frequent inhalations.Oct 24th is her 86th birthday,but we will celebrate when she gets better.I had already planned the menu of chicken chow mien (which is her favourite)scotch eggs and cake

If you want to read a story of courage click on this and read about the faith of a young woman who died of brain cancer.The blog post is entitled TERMINAL.(OCT 19)

Bought these trendy Armani style frames. (the photo is a look alike) In the Us they would cost around $180 but here they were Rs 450 (roughly $11 or 12) Good eh? I will have to get a photo in those.Oh for a digital camera!

The same thing went for the fish sauce.The foreign brand was Rs 175 (maybe $4) but the Indian one is just Rs 35 that less than a $ Yipee!I was eying the Louisiana hot chilli sauce ... and crab meat too dear for the moment, around $ 4 each
BTW happy that Bobby Jindal of Indian origin is the Governor of Louisiana.He was born into a Hindu family but converted to Catholicism
This has been a rambling, meandering blog.
Have so many things to talk about, but I 'm afraid I 'll bore my readers.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Does this mean- you fill my life with excitement?

Friday, 19 October 2007

The Crown of Rajasthan

Kate and I wanted to know more about turbans, as here is the result.These turbans are different from the Sikh turbans, I must tell you.Each state has a differrent style. But these kinds are worn in many parts of North India.

The Crown of Rajasthan !!!The turbans of Rajasthan are the most colourful and impressive in whole of the India. The use of turbans were basically started by the Rajput community, who reside in the Indian state of Rajasthan. They used to wear distinct turbans and the Hindi word for turban is Paag, Safa or Pagri. Once you experience the royal culture of Rajasthan, you will be amazed with the variations of colourful turbans.
It is said that the style of the turban changes with every 15 km you travel within the geographical boundaries of Rajasthan. In some parts of the region, the size of turban indicate the position of the person in the society they live. Relevance Behind Each Coloured Turban !!!Turbans add brilliant splash of colour and style to monotonous and barren lands. Each colour has its own importance and significance like Ochre is the colour of the mendicant, while the saffron is commonly worn at the time of weddings. In the medieval past, the colour saffron also denoted valour and chivalry.
Do You Know
A turban is usually 82 feet long and 8 inches wide, achieving different styles with this unstitched cloth, requires great skill. Skilled maidens in turban tying, were employed by the royal courts, but Rajasthanis generally take pride in practicing and perfecting the art of turban-tying themselves.When besieged by an enemy, and food and water supplies were scanty, desperate warriors wearing saffron turbans would sneak out of their citadels to lead sudden surprise attacks on the enemy. Turbans of specified colours are worn to mark periods of mourning. A white turban is worn for funeral processions by immediate family members. Whereas the khaki, blue and dark maroon are reserved for the solemnity of a condolence visit. Whereas in Rajasthan each caste have their own distinguishing colours, by which they are recognised, like shepherds wear red turbans, Bishnois, who are known as the most nomadic shepherd tribes and environmental conservationists, always wear white turbans and the other tribal communities wear printed turbans. Thus, the painted area is then wrapped with the tissue, plastic, or medical tape to lock in the body heat, so that it can create more intense colour on the skin. The wrap is worn overnight and then removed in the next morning. Which when washed, leaves a rich reddish brown colour on the surface of skin and can last somewhere from one to three weeks, depending on the quality of the paste
It is a great experience to note the characteristics of the turban tying in Rajasthan, it is said that the style and size of turbans change in every 15 km and is a great indicator to discriminate the position of the person in the society.Seasonal Turbans !!! Some turban colours are seasonal to wear like in between February and March, flowers bloom and crops are harvested, it makes the best time for tourists to see the royal Rajasthani men, wearing a falgunia turban having white and red designs. Whereas in the month of July, the predominant colour is motiya or pearl pink. A green and pink striped or yellow and red striped lahariya turban, where the colours are tie dyed in waves, are worn during the time of monsoon. Whereas the Pancharanga is the distinguishing turban in the colourful soil of Rajasthan. Different Turbans For Different Festivals !!! The famous Black Chunari (tie dyed) with the red borders is mainly used at the time of Diwali (festival of lights). The Falgunia Turban, having white and red patterns is wore at the time of Holi (festival of colour). A bright Saffron colour turban for Dassehra festival, held in the month of October. The Mothara turban, with tiny round designs is wore at the time of Raksha Bandhan (festival, when brothers pledge to protect sisters). yellow turban for Basant Panchami (spring festival) and the light pink turban is wore in the month of October, at the time of Sharad Poornima (full moon night). Commonly called a Safa, this beautiful turban is nine meters long and about one meter wide.
Off - Treck
These racial turbans of Rajasthan have become a source of prime attraction for international tourists, they also enthusiastically participate in turban tying competitions held in many fairs and festivals of Rajasthan. Advantages of Turbans !!! The turban's size and shape is influenced by the climatic conditions of the different regions. Turbans in the hot desert areas are large and loose. Farmers and shepherds, who need constant protection from the elements of nature wear some of the most voluminous turbans. They also have many practical functions. Exhausted travellers use it as a pillow, a blanket or a towel. Water, if muddy, can be strained through a turban. Unraveled, it can be used as a rope to draw water from a well with a bucket. The Maharajahs of Rajasthan were known for their colourful traditional costumes and grand turbans. The people of Rajasthan down the years would adopt approximately the same style of headgear as the reigning king.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Colors and Spirit of India

A friend emailed me these lovely pictures which I want to share with everyone.

Thank You Donetta

My friend Donetta gave me the Bloggers community Award for which i thank her.She is an amazing Mum and friend and her life story is really special.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


From desriretoinspire

From happylolday The two dogs are so cute. How can they so patient.

Sheeba"s got the fever. (The hots for the boys).Looking for some zany friends for her.
Tonight there is a Durga Puja and Ram Dal Mela or street carnival in my area.The streets and shops are all decorated with lights.There are stalls with food, ornaments, religious artifacts, garments,glass bangles, toys games etc.This year I did not go.I used to always go to buy roasted peanuts and sweets.
The religious procession will begin after 10pm. The city officials inaugurate the event with pooja(Hindu rituals). Horses, elephants and camels with moving floats depicting scenes from the Hindu epics come down the street. They are accompanied with bands and recorded music.Devotees shower them with flowers and money.When we were kids we used to give coins and peanuts to the elephants.Its a night long affair.There are 5 or 6 such melas or carnivals in our city during this festival each taking place on a different night.
Today I went to the district court to get our church trust registered. So glad we got it done. It had been pending since a long time.
The registrars office has been upgraded. The last time i went there it looked like a hangover from the British Raj. I could imagine the characters out of Charles Dickens ' novels perched behind the huge desk.And clerks writing with quills.Now its really modern with computers and web cams etc.
We have a general merchant store also which is a hangover from the British Raj and my friends visiting from Oxford really liked it. I also like the "old curiosity shop",only you have to wait hours to get your order filled.But sometimes I manage to get a discount from them as they keep me waiting so long. Now they have to compete with the shopping malls so they are really eager to serve you.
Wanted to post some pictures, but since yesterday the network is acting funny, so I 'll try tomorrow.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Poster Day

Found this uplifting poster.Good way affirm oneself.I can be all this and more through Christ who strengthens me.The Bible says we are complete in Him even though we are cracked earthen pots.He is our Master Potter and is shaping us according to His will.

Please pray for me. I need to be more


Self controlled

Anxiety free

and devote more time to prayer.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Feast Day

Inspired by the paintings of my blog friend Piyush ( at tried a hand at it too. I am at the pre-school level.Even pre-schoolers could do buddies with small kids will attest that.
Anyway Sunday was the Muslim festival of Eid and our Muslim friends brought us Eid goodies...curries, kebabs and pulao and the most special sweet called sheer korma (seviyan) or delicate thread-like vermicelli in syrup flavored with lite aromatic spices and dry fruit.This is why this festival is called Meethi Eid or Sweet Eid.

These days the vermicelli is mostly machine produced .But I asked Aunt Sybil how did they make it in the olden days and she said they used to roll them out on an upturned matka or earthen water jar. Aunt Sybil remembers the old times.
In India people of all kinds of backgrounds and religions live side by side and this national integration is seen during festival times. Although we may not subscribe to a neighbour 's world view or philosophy but we take part in the enjoyment.

Sunday Blessings

A brother from Punjab delivered the morning message.I like the Punjabi accent, its like strong black coffee and very sincere.
On Saturday evening a group of Bible College students came over for a cook out at the parsonage. They made a wood fire in the backyard and cooked chicken curry and pulao under the direction of the Pastor 's wife.Everybody enjoyed.
Aunt Sybil was not well that evening and as our maid was on festival holiday, Mama stayed home with her.
On Sunday afternoon, there was the monthly prayer meeting in church. About 25 people from various churches gathered together to pray for our city and each other. It was a great time of worship and fellowship.Dr John Thomas organizes it. He is a physician ,now into full time Christian ministry, an ex-Catholic.
Several people visited us afterwards. A longtime friend, (RJ) who was the financial director of a Christian College , shared that his 17 year old son does not listen to him. When he was his age he had accepted Christ and was involved in a youth group (he was our leader).His son is far from God.
RJ admitted that he has been very busy at work and not given enough time to his son, just supplied his needs. (We know they had marriage problems too). He wants to make amends, he has moved from his financial job and now is the director of a branch of the college and teaches economics. His son 's name is Abner, you can say a prayer for him too.He is a grade 11 student.
The electricity has gone off, I 'll continue later on as my computer will go off.

Friday, 12 October 2007


'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night', thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights'. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals but all of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various forms. Though it is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar, it holds special significance for Gujratis and Bengalis and one can see it in the zeal and fervor of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the season. The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion, next three to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity) dressed in gold and mounted on an owl and finally, last three to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge) dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan.Dandiya and Garba Rass are the highlights of the festival in Gujarat while farmer sow seeds and thank the Goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. In olden times, this festival was associated with the fertility of Mother Earth. Sweetmeats are prepared for the celebrations and children and adults dress up in new bright-colored dresses for the night performances. With commercialization, the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather than a religious or agrarian festival. In some communities people undergo rigorous fasts during this season that lasts for the nine days of the festival, only to be opened on the tenth day of Dussehra. However, nothing dampens the spirit of the devout followers of Mother Goddess as they sing devotional songs and indulge in the gaieties of the season. This year celebrate Navratra from Oct 12 to 20, 2007.

Idol Making

Clay idols of Bengal are famous for the skilled and traditional way in which they are made. The fundamental rule to be followed is that all things used should come from the river. The clay artisans labor hard for months to produce some of the most beautiful images of Goddess Durga at the festival time. Bamboo sticks are used to make the skeletal structure of the idol and the platform on which it stands. Then the shape is given to the idol using straw and jute ropes and strings to keep it in place. These clay artisans known as Pals have been making fabulous figurines of Hindu Gods and Goddesses since ages. The lengthy process takes diligence and skill for the creation of some of the most enviable artworks that can be said to touch the ultimate perfection in idol making. These artisans are grouped for different functions in making of an ideal. While one group makes the skeleton from bamboo and straw, the other group mixes clay and apply it. The most skilled of workers or Pals make the head, palms and feet of the idol. The second stage involves application of clay, which is done in three steps. The first coat of clay solution has high percentage of water to fill the crevices of the straw structure of the figurine. The second layer needs caution, as this is one, which gives the real finish to the figurine. Here, the clay has to be very fine and devoid of any impurities. Palms, head and feet that have been made separately by the highest graded Pals are attached at this stage. Moulds are created from one head to be used in the creation of many heads. The third stage involves a very thin coat of clay applied by using pieces of cloth soaked in fine clay from riverbed of Ganga. It is applied to the joints to strengthen them and fill up any cracks that may develop after drying. The statue is then painted with base white earth color and then pink or yellow earth colors. The last earth color is that of red blood. The main artist paints the eyes and other details before varnishing the statue and gluing jute hair to the image. The image is then dressed and ornamented with real or artificial jewels, ready to be taken to pandals (marquees)for worshipping.Pandal Making: Another art form popularly associaled with Durga Puja is the making of Pandals that are to be the guest house of Goddess Durga for the four days of her stay here. 'Barwari Puja' or community Puja, usually financed by the local land-owners or sponsored by the rich people are a common feature and thus these pandals and mandaps were done lavishly. Today, people set up pandals in every street. However, these making of pandals follow well-set plans that use bamboo poles, wooden planks and cloth. Creativity and skills rule the making od some of the most intricate and fine designs that are executed in an elaborate and grand manner. Decorated by lights and flowers and paintings depicting scenes related to Durga Puja, these pandals often look like film sets and even icure huge expenses.
My newspaper told me that the artisans take clay and mud from prostitute 's homes for making the face of the idols, this is considered to be auspicious
All this makes me think my friends. God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
We cannot liken God to any image, He is beyond our imagination.He is Light and abides in light.We cannot liken Him to any created thing.

Thursday, 11 October 2007


Australia gave us a good licking at cricket and to lift our spirits up I made apple strudel. It was symbolic because our boys were really baked.

In the evening I went to the Uttaranchal Mela at the cultural Center.Its a cultural fair featuring the hill state of Uttaranchal.
I bought

1. Tiny candles and earthen oil lamps called diyas.
2. Herbal sweets and meethi supari made with the betel nut.
3. About 2 pounds of flour made with grain only grown in Uttranchal.One is a mixture of 11 grains. And a packet of cookies made with the madua grain.

4.From the Rathasthani food stall I had them pack us dal and onion kachoris -stuffed pooris (fried bread) and a huge chili bhajji (fritter) with chutney.
5. As a family tradition whenever I went to this fair with Dad ,we used to have dosas (rice pancakes) ice-cream and I had to re-live the past.
There was an open air cultural show going on I sat down and enjoyed that, after calling Mom and telling her I 'd be a little late.

The show began with an ode to goddess Durga. After that there were traditional hill dances which were lovely.The story behind one of them goes something like this. In the month of Chaitra the brother goes to his married sister 's house taking halwa (sweet pudding) , poori (fried bread) and clothes for the family. This year the sister waited but the brother failed to arrive.It was like a mini opera in which the brother and sister converse with each other.I must tell you that I don't understand the hill language, so I could not decipher the meaning of the songs but the MC gave a short commentary in Hindi so we could understand what was going on.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007


On Monday India beat Australia in the one-dayer at Chandigarh. And we all jumped for joy. They were able to do this after Jan 2004.We are looking forward to tomorrow 's match in Baroda.Please don 't let us down boys!

On Monday evening we had a special meeting in church which was attended by more than a 100 people from various churches. Sister Angelica an ex-Catholic nun shared God 's vision for India and the church and what we should do to save souls. It was a challenging message.She made her presentation with a Powerpoint LCD display.

This coming Sunday evening we will have another inter-denominational meeting in our church featuring prayer for the unity of Christians and passion for lost souls.Pray for us we,want to reap a rich harvest.He who wins souls is wise,the Bible says.


Due to paucity of time and frequent power cuts (on Tues we had unlimited cuts) and also Internet problems. I am unable to blog and also comment on friend 's blogs as much as I want to. So please bear with me.Even if I am unable to comment I do read your posts.

I must tell you that on Monday night, the Queen of Sheeba killed a field rat which was disturbing us for many days.I had put out bait for it laced with sugar and cookies but it wasn 't biting. Finally Sheba did the job.

Desperate Measures

I am posting two stories of parents resorting to desperate measures to save themselves and their children.our country is reeling under the curse of poverty and illiteracy.We have millions of very rich people while the multitudes lie dying in the streets.

A father abandoned his four tiny children on a railway platform (train station) here, three days ago.The children are boy Rahul (5),girl Rita (4),and their two brother Rakesh(3) and Mukesh (2).Its difficult to say how these children managed to survive but someone noticed Rahul trying to cook chapatis on Sunday night They are too small to beg. But they could have been taken by beggar gangs and forced to beg somewhere else

Some passersby gave them money and helped them buy flour and vegetables, but they could not manage to cook. So a man bought them curry and bread from a nearby food stall.Mukesh the 2 year old is too young to feed himself,but he was trying to eat because of extreme hunger.

A local NGO operated by Catholics and others was notified about these abandoned children and they took them into their care center.

The children were in a state of shock and were unable to give their parent 's names but they were able to say that their father is a mason (construction worker) and they live in Meerapur, a suburb of the city.

A Childline worker said the children were feeling better and were playing with other children in the home.They will try to find out about their parents once they have gained their confidence.

Maybe the father abandoned them hoping someone would find them and take care of them. we hear many stories of entire families committing suicide or parents killing their children.
The prices of common commodities and food stuff have risen sharply in the past one year. We who belong to the middle class are feeling the pinch and our household budgets are very tight.The suffering of the impoverished, destitute has increased.
My adopted sister, Sonia was also abandoned by her parents due to poverty and family break up.We offered to find her family for her, but she did not want to go back. She wanted to forget her past,after finding love and comfort in our home.
God promises in Psalm 115;13,14
"He will bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.The Lord shall increase you more and more you and your children." (KJV)


This took place in Kanpur, an industrial city a few hours from here.
Unable to bear the expenses of their ailing daughter, a couple here made a bid to sell their 14-day-old son.
However, hospital authorities stepped in time and offered to pay for the treatment of four-year-old Shivani, who is suffering from pelvic tumour.
The incident took place on Sunday when Shivani, daughter of Rambabu and Chuniya, was to undergo a surgery at the Hellet hospital. She was hospitalised on September 29.
When doctors asked to arrange two units of blood for the operation, the couple decided to sell their son as they could not afford the expenses, the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, Naresh Yadav said.
Rambabu and his wife sat outside the hospital, asking passers-by to buy their son. It was then that the hospital authorities intervened.
“The hospital authorities didn’t know about the whole episode. But as soon as it came to our notice, we immediately decided to provide free treatment to Shivani,” Yadav said.
Several NGOs and other people have now come forward to provide financial help for the girl’s treatment.

Sometimes I feel the great tribulation period of the Book of Revation is here. If its not then what will the suffering be like?

I am reminded of Psalm 41;1

"God blesses those who are kind to the poor.He helps them out of their troubles." (TLB)

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Sunday Blessings

I went downtown shopping yesterday as things are much cheaper there.It was crowded with Ramadan shoppers.There was an array of festival clothes, food stuff, vermicelli and dates, embroidered shoes and prayer caps and ornaments and so much more.
I had to buy groceries.Couldn 't resist some sweets and bamboo and chillie pickle.Oh cholesterol! And from a take -away outlet I brought chicken biryani and kebabs.

The takeaway left overs I used for today 's lunch , just made Chinese egg rice. I had asked the muttonwala (Mutton is lamb) to deliver the meat this morning but he came very late...too late to cook it for lunch.So I will cook my Rajasthani lamb curry called Lal Maas or red meat on a weekday.
Sheeba sets up such a racket whenever the mutton-man comes. She barks her tail off.I suppose she gets excited because of the meat smell.

I want to wish my Canadian friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.God bless you all as you celebrate the Lord 's blessings. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord and to declare His praises for evermore.
This cartoon is really funny couldn 't stop myself from posting it.Never eaten turkey. Its not available here anymore. When my parents were young they could get it.But you can get it in the metros.
Today we had Bishop Masih speak in church and he presided over Communion.After that we had tea in the manse. I took Indian sweets called motichoor ke laddus.They are so called as they are made of tiny orange motis or pearl-like balls.
Tomorrow we have an evening meeting in our church in which some visitors will be talking about evangelism and praying our our city and country.Before that we 'll be watching the cricket match.Hope they don 't give us a reason to cry.

Friday, 5 October 2007


Another defeat for the Indian Cricket Team against Australia in the Furture Cup matches.There is no future for the Indian cricket team it seems. Watched the match, Mom and I and my visting maami (aunt). To lick our wounds I baked an apple tart, specially for my aunt.

Yesterday and today our Muslim maid brought us some snacks her family made to break their Ramadan fast.They are very poor but they like to share. Many people reject the food offered by their servants. But we don 't. We treat them with dignity and respect,with the caveat that we don 't accept food offered to idols and that which was chanted over.We just make this distinction and they know it and keep a portion separately for us.We visit their homes and see that they cook in hygenic conditions.

The poor are very large hearted. If you visit their home and they have nothing to offer you, they will give you a glass of water and some gur or jaggery (a lump of brown sugar ,non granulated made from sugarcane juice).

This reminds me of a funny story. Once an Englishman visited a Sikh in Punjab. The Sikhs are well known for their hospitality and welcome.As it was meal-time the host offered him sarson ka saag.and makka ki roti. A delicious chapati (a flat round bread)made with cornmeal accompanied with a stir fry dish of mustard greens. For the lack of a plate he heaped the vegetable on the chapati and gave it to his white guest.The Englishman ate the veggies and returned the chapati which he mistook for a plate.Everybody was really amused which left the poor visitor really nonplussed.
Now I can hear people saying it was politically imcorrect. But those were relaxed times and people were not easily offended.Just neighbourly fun.

A Close Encounter With the Animal Kind

Our three and a half acre campus right in the middle the city is a refuge for all kinds of wild life because of its lush green vegetation. All around us there is a concrete jungle of business buildings and apartment complexes.

We 've had peacocks, eagles,falcons, vultures and neelgai , an Asiatic antelope resembling a cow, its called bluebuck and jackals and a host of exotic birds visiting us. Of course we drive away stray cows, buffaloes, goats and pigs from time to time.
This is a picture of a civet or bijju.
About 7 years ago during the summer when our mango trees were laden with fruit a family of civets came to live in our campus-forest. they love mangoes. They looked so cute walking on our church roof parapet holding on to each other tails like circus acrobats.After being our guests for a few weeks they disappeared.

One evening our Pomeranian dogs (no longer alive) set up a great commotion up a guava tree.Sonia (my adopted sister)and I investigated we found a civet hanging on for dear life.We locked up the dogs and tried to get the civet down.It was very ferocious ( they are extremely wild and not friendly at all). It was really agitated because someone had tied a very tight rope like a noose round his neck and he could hardly breathe.Some cruel people had entrapped it and tortured it .

This called for immediate action and both of us gals got into our Nat Geo/ Animal Planet mode. Sonia tried to take hold of the civet but it nearly snapped off her fingers, they have very sharp teeth.It dashed off and hid behind some flower pots under our grapefruit tree.

We had to somehow get the suffocating rope off its neck. The poor creature was very thirsty and started drinking water from our garden drain.We thought of a plan to distract it. I got chapatis from the house while Sonia set forth with a flashlight and scissors.

Very slowly and carefully I approached the civet with the food and offered it some.At first it wouldn 't come near me, but when it found I was not going to hurt it he approached very cautiously and started eating and drinking water too. As it got busy doing this I shone the flashlight directly into his eyes to blind it a bit as Sonia came from the back and very gently snipped off the tight rope. The animal was too hungry and thirsty to protest but soon as he was free he escaped into freedom.Sonia really deserved an award for handling such a wild ferocious animal. it could have easily bitten off her hand with its razor like teeth.

A neelgai or bluebuck found a safe haven in our campus during Christmas one year. It was feeding on our garden plants and we wanted it off our grounds.,My Dad contacted the Forest Dept. as these animals are protected species and its illegal to shoot them.The forest officials turned around and said;What kind of Christians are you. Its your festival time .Shoot it and fill your freezer with good meat, make roasts and kebabs and enjoy with your friends and family.My dad absolutely refused and said he wouldn 't do a thing like this.

We found out that the neelgai belonged to a dairy-owner.It had wandered into the garden of a police official and chewed it up and the official was very angry with the dairyman.So he sort of abandoned it near our home.We were also quite peeved with it as it was a threat to our lovely winter roses.We gave it water but also put our dogs out at night.Unable to feed in our area it started visiting our neighbour 's garden, a judge . The judge 's son is an agriculturist and had just returned from the US and was conducting research on plants in his garden.

The neelgai (some people call it bluebull too) promptly ate up the son 's research work.And he was really mad. So he called up his friend and had him shoot the poor creature. Being a high court judge 's off spring he had no legal problems to worry about. But we were very sad , the neelgai could have been rescued and sent to the wild.