Friday, 31 August 2007

Remembering the Princess

Saw the tenth anniversary memorial service of Diana 's death on the BEEB. Although it was sad I really enjoyed the music. You just can 't beat the good old British pomp and circumstance and the ceremony.

Blessed Are You

"God will bless you when people insult you, mistreat you and tell all kinds of evil lies about you because of me" -Jesus (Matthew , chapter 5)

A friend sent this report about a place 3 hours away from here. I know Raju Abraham, I taught his daughter in the American school.Dalits are people from a backward, impoverished low caste background.The RSS and Bajrang Dal are extremist Hindu organizations.

. RSS attacks Christian Meeting in Uttar Pradesh 17 Aug. 2007 CPI Reports have just come in that a huge mob of RSS and Bajrang Dal activists attacked the Kacchuwa Mission Hospital near Varanasi in UttarPradesh. The hospital authorities had organized an Independence Day celebration where in they had organized Children's competitions and events in which about 400 Dalit Children were participating along with their parents. This was happening with the knowledge of the authorities and the police was duly informed about it. The RSS and the Bajrang Dal raised an objection to it and had complained about the event to the local authorities which had prompted the local authorities to further investigate the event following which they gave a clean chit to the mission. Infuriated by this the RSS and the Bajrang Dal today called on their cadre from various places near Varanasi and a huge mob attacked the mission at about 10:00 am. They destroyed property and caused mass vandalism and scared the children who started to run and took shelter at the back of the stage. Brother Raju Abraham tried to reason with the group and asked them to speak with him so that things could be solved through dialogue but the attackers hit him and roughed him up. He has a deep wound above his left eyebrow. Pastor Joy who was with Brother Raju Abraham, when tried to stop the attackers was also beaten up. According to reports the attackers shouted anti Christian and anti Dalit slogans and caused mass panic. It was only later that the police reached the spot. Last heard the Local Magistrate had arrived on the scene and statements were being taken.

I have many such reports from all over India.Opposition doesn 't like it when people are drawn towards the truth.The Indian constitution gives full freedom to all faiths to practice and propagate their religion.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Thank you Shari

My friend Shari has given me the Nice Matters Award. Thanks again Shari

Rakhi, Brother Sister Day

Today is Rakhi or Rasksha Bandhan.its a day to celebrate the tie between brothers and sisters. Raksha means protection and Bandhan means bond.

This festival has its origins in Hinduism, but people of all religions embrace it. A story goes that the kingdom of Chittor was attacked by Bhadur Shah, when the king was away.Queen Karnavati sent a distress message to the Muslim emperor Humayun to come and protect them. With the message she sent a cotton thread taken from her sari.Humayun, who was leaving for a war campaign immediately went to the queen 's rescue.From there started the tradition of exchanging rakhis between people of different faiths.

Amongst our Hindu friends, the sister ties the rakhi on her brother 's wrist and puts a mark on his forehead and feeds him sweets first offered to the gods.In return the brother gives a gift to his sister.

Now this festival has become very commercialized. You can buy gold and silver rakhis encrusted with precious stones costing thousands of rupees and ordinary ones for as little as ten rupees.The gifts also come at various prices.Sweet shops are over crowded. There is festivity and gaiety in the air.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Raksha Bandhan, Brother Sister Day

This is another great Indian festival. My friend Carol Ann taught me how to post videos so I am posting this one tonight and will write about the festival tommorrow.
The video is very clear , this festival celebrates the bond between brother and sister. I don 't have any biological brother, but many God given ones.

I heard about the bad weather in the US. Pray all my friends out there are safe. May God keep you all safe.Take care

Just Thinking

Why I Blog
1.It is a learning experience.
2.Wanted to graduate from being a consumer to a publisher.
3.Its a good change in my life. A new lease to my rather
mundane life.
4. A chance to make friends from all over the world.
5. Blogging helps you have better conversations and promotes
broader thinking and understanding.
Additional Reasons
6. I blog because I can.
7. Seems like everybody else is doing it.
8.Because ABC News calls us bloggers People of the Year
Blog Habit Changes.
I am going to slow down a little as its becoming a bit of an addiction and a compulsion to comment on posts and bookmark loads of them.Sometimes I just can 't comment as I can 't relate to the topic addressed.
But anyway blogging is fun and I am a die hard blogger. It has enriched my life.So whenever I will get a chance or don 't get a chance I will blog.

But the best reason I blog is to share prayers requests with my friends and pray for them , be built up in my faith and build others up too.


The present Indian government,the UPA coalition is facing a crisis as a result of the nuclear deal PM Manmohan Singh (Congress party) made with Pres Bush.Most Indians think so too as it will facilitate much needed power generation. Not so the Left parties, who are the principal supporters of the UPA and the right wing Hindu BJP party.This could lead to a mid-term general election.

Talks are going on between the Congress and the Left parties. Lets see what the outcome will be.

The shocking Hyderabad terror attacks has numbed the country again.More than 40 dead. Our hearts bleed for those killed, wounded and maimed.Will this ever stop?

Why innocent people? Seven Information Technology students visiting from the neighbouring state of Maharashtra died,young men full of promise.A brother left his two sisters waiting in cab while he went inside the fast food joint where one of the bombs exploded, he died in there. Many tourists were enjoying a peaceful evening in Lumbini Park when the explosion snatched their lives away.

O Lord have mercy on your creation.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Much Better

By God 's grace I am feeling much better, altho I have short dizzy spells while Iam laying down and my head feels like jello from time to time.I have decreased my medication.

My TV is acting up.The humidity is getting to it. Had a part changed a month ago , but the problem 's resurfaced , asked the repairman to have a look. Have to replace my car (Maruti 800) battery.
Well this is life.

We are coping much better with Aunt S Sort of getting used to her behaviour.
In India the cell phone battery blast scare is going on.Nokia batteries are exploding like WMDs so report the paranoia inducing news anchors. And this evening somebody 's Samsung exploded in Agra. Mine is LG so I 'm safe.Whew!
A lot of TV news is panic inducing , I like to take it with a pound of salt, unlike Mom who swallows it like a tonic.(She would have chopped my head off if she read this).LOL. I am also wary of health police.It goes on and on.

Saw a lovely movie this evening "Just Like Heaven" *rring Reese Whitherspoon and an unknown actor (to me) Mark Ruffalo.After a long time saw a decent flick. But the enjoyment was overcast from time to time with my Mom trying to explain the storyline to our uneducated Muslim maid who had no idea what what going on.

Speaking of my maid I must tell you that she was invited to a family engagement celebration yesterday. It was her BIL 's SIL 's family. In India the extended family extends quite a long way.The SIL 's 3 girls, all cousins (complicated) were getting engaged.So 3 groups of suitors and their entourages came (sounds like The Merchant of Venice).There were the SIL 's family and friends too in all about a thousand guests.

Now these are ordinary working class people, but they are well off as they run a family operated catering business. The Indian caste and class system is complicated but its a part of our lives.Still the number of invitees is shocking, just for an engagement.How many will they invite for the wedding? We had a thousand guests for my sisters weddings.

I am reading a book by the late Mrs Billy Graham called 'It 's My Turn ' its a delightful book all about being a wife, mother, growing up in China before the Revolution, faith and facing the challenges of being the wife of a busy man.I recommend it to all my readers.Ruth Graham is one of my favourite women.
In a chapter called Dog Training she writes;

"Dear Journal,

Every parent should read at least one good book on dog training.Odd how,in a day when children are notoriously disobedient,dog training and obedience classes are increasing in popularity. Basically the rules are simple.

1. Keep commands simple and at a minimum. One word to a command and always the same word. Come, Sit, Stay, Heel, Down, No (I talk my children dizzy.)

2. Be consistent.

3. Be persistent. Follow through. Never give a command without seeing it is obeyed.

4. When the dog responds correctly, praise him.(Not with food.Remember don 't reward children materially for doing well. Your praise should be enough.)

Its a fine kettle of fish when our dogs are better trained than our children."
Well behaved Sheeba waiting for her 'goodnight biscuit/cracker ' a tradition established by my Dad.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Who wants to be a Millionaire?

My friend Donetta tagged me.What would I do with a million dollars.

I would renovate my house, throw away all the old stuff and get a designer kitchen.

I would renovate my church and campus.

Buy a house in the mountains.

I hope I would be able to do all this because of the high exchange rate.
Last night I had a horrid attack of vertigo. I felt I was riding the world 's speediest roller coaster.Managed to swallow the pills.Took daytime medication too, feeling somewhat better.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Two Headed

Today I feel like the two headed alien in MIB.Because of my auto sclerosis and my allergy to temperature changes I get severe attacks of vertigo and my head feels heavy and dopey.I got medicines for that.It takes a while to get over it

This afternoon I was taking Aunt S to the bathroom and I nearly fell to the floor , I screamed so loud and quickly sat on the nightstand near the bed otherwise I would have crashed down with Auntie in tow.I still took her to the bathroom , both of us could hardly walk and she says;"There is some ice cream, I am going to eat it." And I said "Yes", thinking I hope I can take the next step. She comes up with disjointed sudden things, part of her dementia.

Later on I laughed about it acting out the whole scene to mama and the maid.I went and bought meds, they are so illness is really dear to me. Here were all these people enjoying and buying silly stuff and my purse was getting to my head.

Earlier on I saw on TV that Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt got bail from the Supreme Court and his fans (I 'm really not one) were rejoicing and distributing sweets.So I said what the heck and bought some black and white rasgullas (Bengali sweets), needed the excuse.

These are a variety of sweets on display. Rasgullas are black or while balls made with milk and flour immersed in sugar syrup.

Please pray for my vertigo to go, I really feel ill when I get this spell.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Nag Panchami, Serpent Worship Day

Summer 2006, my niece, Mahima, from Canada took these pictures, she was thirteen, very brave she was.
A snake charmer wandered down our street. They are banned by law but this one came along so we had a private snake show.

When we were kids the monkey man and bear man used to come around every Saturday we had a show in our garden.They had the animals enact little stories into the event. The monkey husband and wife had a fight and she would run off to her mother 's house. The poor husband would follow her and offer her gifts to please her and bring his beloved spouse back home.
Now you know where we got our knowledge of marital discord from.But I always pitied the bears because they looked so hot and agitated.I wanted them free.
The last bear man came around twelve or thirteen years ago. We recorded the dance on video, VHS, I don 't have the means to upload it on the computer.

Now such activities are prohibited by law and I 'm glad they are.

But there is tribe of snake charmers
They trap snakes and 'cure '
snake bites. There is a village of snake charmers close to our town.

I want to add here that I hate circuses as the animals and performers are not looked after properly. During my childhood we went to circuses every year, but the last one I saw was 5 or 6 years back and I disliked it

Everybody looked so undernourished. I wanted to go up and free all the wild cats.There is a circus in town and I don 't like its presence.

Today is Nag Panchami, a day Hindus worship snakes.They go to temples or make snakes idols and offer them milk, rice,honey and flowers.The snake charmers do brisk business as the devotees offer them money.

But each year thousands of snakes die in the offing as they starved before the festival so they can drink the milk offered by the worshippers.They are killed because of over feeding and over handling.There are NGOs trying to educate people about this.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Kashmir ours and occupied by Pakistan

The Hindukush Valley in Pakistan occupied Kashmir

Shalimar Gardens in India and a Kashmiri woman

Some pictures of Kashmir which fall in the territory of India and Pakistan.I went there on a holiday with my parents when I was 7 or 8 years old. We got a broken crucifix from a church bombed by the Pakistanis, I 've hung it in my living room.
On holiday we snow-carted on glaciers, camped in tents besides rivers, went boating in lakes and rivers., had fun around bonfires. Went to all the popular tourist spots.Just had a lot of fun.
In the afternoon 2 young men entered our campus , it was raining hard and they wanted to see the Pastor.They were law students and had written the Indian Administrative Services exams but had failed . They were very depressed and despondent. Walking down the road and saw the church. They thought this is a place of peace so they wanted to talk to the priest. They met with Pastor Shailendra. You can pray for them their names are Tewari and Mishra.
After dinner Sheeba and I watched the Independence Day fireworks organized by the Businessmen Association. It lit up our garden, so close it was, with the circus lights as a backdrop it looked pretty. But Sheeba doesn 't like fireworks and she wanted to jump up and grab the raining sparkles.

A tryst with Destiny

The world 's largest democracy is celebrating its 60th birthday today quoting from our first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru; "long years ago India made a tryst with destiny" It was a long hard struggle against our colonial rulers, the British and on August 15, 1947, "at the stroke of the midnight hour, India awoke to freedom"
Here are a few pictures of my land. Which is rather doing injustice to it because India is so vast, myriad and multicultural and multifaceted that its difficult to capture it in any form.

Kanyakumari, the southern most tip of India

Left- a beach in Kerala

Right-The Mysore Palace

Left -Charminar of Hyderabad

Right - Gateway of India in Mumbai (Bombay)

Scenes from Rajasthan, a palace and a folk dancer

Above are pictures from Kashmir

There is so much more to my country.
Today is a day of national celebration. There are parades and festivities everywhere. If I had the skill I would have posted some utube videos.

Its been raining since 2 days so its cool. I am gong to cook chole which is a chickpea stew with onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices, and paneer parathas (never tried them before) and in the evening I could get take away dosas (rice/lentil pancakes with veggies and stew) or just make omelets depending on the weather.
PS; The paneer parathas turned out great. Shared with pastor Shay who turned up for a visit. Later on Sunila (his wife) brought us a dish of chicken biriyani (aromatic rice with spicey chicken) I 'm saving that for dinner. Wish all of you friends from blogland could come along too.
Maybe we should all get together for an International Blogland Potluck.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

`"and you are complete in Him" Col 2;10 (Bible)

These days I am reading a devotional by Selwyn Hughes called Strong at the broken Places. I recommend it for everyone who floating in the Slough of Despond or sitting by its side.

In today's reading he says if we are to recover from the brokenness caused by troubles in our personal lives we are to depend on God and not on anyone else to meet the deepest needs of our personality.This truth can really transform our lives.

The needs of our human personality can be categorized in a number of ways but the most basic ones are these
1) the need to be loved unconditionally...SECURITY
2)the need to be valued ...SELF WORTH and
3)the need to make a meaningful contribution to God 's world ...SIGNIFICANCE
Human beings can function effectively only to the degree that these needs are met. if they are unsatisfied,our ability to function as a person is greatly hindered, if they are adequately met then other things being equal we have the potential to function effectively.

Our need for security, self worth and significance can be fully met only in a close and ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do not let Christ meet these needs then because they have to be met in order for us to function effectively we will attempt to get them met in and through others. But no human being however loving ,kind and considerate they may be,can fully meet these needs.They can only be met in Jesus.

We 've had a hot and humid spell and now its raining, COOL.

Aunt S is doing OK she seems happy oblivious to all troubles of life. no tension, no worry,just wants to go home.She is like a small child.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Sunday Blessings

Church was good.Worship really uplifting. A student from Mizoram ( NE state) spoke from 1 Peter 1;3-9 How suffering can make us grow. He said it was the first time he was preaching in English but he did very well.

He told us a story about his cousin sister who had rejected God. She was wealthy and satisfied and felt no need for God in her life. One day the police caught her smuggling contraband and she was sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment.That brought her close to God. She is serving time and asks her cousin to pray for her.

In the evening we had a Partners in Hope seminar in church.Dr John Thomas, an ex-medical doctor and 3 friends from the US (Maryland) spoke.They talked about unity among churches and witnessing. They belong to a Messianic church and sang the benediction in Hebrew.It was a real blessing.

At the seminar was present the Pastor of the 7th Day Adventist church. We know him and he has visited us several times and tried to convert us to his doctrine but to no avail.Anyway some months back he barged into one of our church member 's house (two retired sisters) with a bunch of land mafia goons and threatened them to leave the house.When I saw him I was really mad and confronted him about it. Well he really squirmed when I stepped on his toes.Tried to make excuses but I did what I had to do, speak against injustice.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Girl Interupted

Hello friends.Took aunt Sybil to her bank yesterday. They wanted her to sign her cheque in front of them as her signature doesn 't match the original. Asked a friend to drive my jaunty jalopy.Had to get it fixed first. Its such a struggle trying to deal with the people at this particular bank. Its the worst bank in the world. They treat you as if you 've come to rob them, very uncooperative.I found a man who was good and helpful.

Anyway some paper work was left and it was lunch time, my driver friend had to get back to work so I sent auntie back home. when the bank person got back after lunch, he coolly told me that he needed another signature from Aunt S , which had to be witnessed by him.So there. I will take her again to the bank on Monday and Mama too as she also has to get some paper work done.

Today I went to another bank. This one is really user friendly and helpful. What a difference.I deal with 3 banks on behalf of various people and its quite a muddle.

A shopping mall is having a 5 day sale , so I went. It was a lesson /exercise in self denial. bought 4 pounds of potatoes, 2 pounds of paneer, 2 packets of cookies, and a small perfume spray. Said no to thousands of other things begging to be bought.

Yesterday we had a prayer meeting in our living room. Good time. I
served a cold chocolate drink and homemade blueberry muffin bread.

Aunt Sybil 's dementia is increasing day by day. Her personality has changed. She used to be so quiet, now she talks non stop.Rationality and logic has gone. Remembers old things. She wanted to go to her parents.

I said; Phupi (aunty) Dada, dadi (grandpa/grandma)went to Jesus many years ago

You should be ashamed of yourself, calling them dead, they are very much alive.

OK phupi, if you say so. I shall give them a call.(Pick up my cell phone)

Ring ...ring Dada are you there?

Yes my dear

What is your address?

Rajapur (name of the cemetery) my mama is laughing and calling me crazy.

Where exactly are you located?

In the basement...6 feet under (mama is saying stop it) You can 't come in here my child.

Shall I send Sybil over dada?

Dada in an angry voice; No, Sybil can 't come in here yet...keep her there.

Poor aunty S is looking at me with a puzzled expression on her face, while mama is scolding me light -heartedly.

And I say, mama, what if Dada really comes over to talk to me

The conversation was much longer, I can 't put it all in here. But it releases tension.We have started to accept Auntie 's mental problems much better now. Its very disconcerting to see her wandering around aimlessly and babble disconnected things.For days we suffered from depression and anxiety attacks and still do, but God is giving us the grace.Aunt Sybil was a caregiver to so many people and now she has become like this. Mama prays with her and asks her to repeat the Lord 's prayer with her.

Do pray for us.We are coping much better by God 's grace, otherwise I was thinking this is the end of the world.
Pain is inevitable, misery is optional.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Wired for Life

My friend Carol Ann asked me for string instruments stories. Well I have to dig my memory for those. But I can recall that I got my first guitar when I was grade 8. Went to a music school. Discovered I could play by ear.

Our neighbours (mother and daughter) who were very staunch Pentecostals (Holiness types) visited us one day.Mrs D asked me to take out my guitar and play a tune. I obliged her by playing hymns and choruses. "Oh no, no " said she,"Play me the latest pop songs" So I did and she sang along not caring if her Pastor or church deacons were passing by. It was so funny.

Later on I took up the sitar (Indian instrument) in senior high school and I have a bachelors degree in it.Somebody gifted me their old violin and I wanted to learn that , but couldn 't find a teacher or the time actually to learn it.


Got this photo from www, .

When life puts us in a tight squeeze, we can look at it from the outside and laugh to release the tension.I 'm trying to do that. I suffered from depression for many years and got victory over that, but sometimes the devil tries to throw it back at me and spirit of heaviness creeps in. To counter that I read the Scriptures, biographies, happy books and listen to music.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Sunday blessings

Had a good worship and communion service. A Bible College student named Rahul was the leader.He heads in a very Spirit filled way.

My cough is a lot better thanks to a herbal medicine. One dose and I feel better, the conventional cough syrup was taking too long.And I had Tulsi or Holy Basil tea, it helps the throat. Wonder why its called holy Basil?

Since Uncle Kenneth died Aunt Sybil 's mind has deteriorated very fast. Her eyesight is almost gone too. In the evenings she gets very agitated. I am giving her a mild sedative recommended by the doctor otherwise she was driving herself and us crazy. Its hard to see her like this, but this is life. It is very stressful for Mama and me, please pray for us. We need special grace to go through this. Its very hard.

Yesterday a friend, Verghese Cherian visited us after 24 years.He was a student here and we were in the Christian fellowship (like the Inter Varsity Fellowship). He holds an important position in the state dairy of Kerala (S.India), his wife is a dentist.His church wants to do outreach work in N India, he was visiting in that connection.

He reminded us of a Christmas program we had many years ago in which he was the leader.The music group I had formed called Singing Disciples sang a song.When Verghese announced the next group, he found that they were not ready.He asked the Singing Disciples if we could sing another song and never to miss an opportunity we got right back and sang another song. I had forgotten this. But its a good memory.

One thing I remember about the program was, my Dad was responsible to provide lunch and tea for about a 100 people.He charged very little money and provided such good food abundantly that everyone was surprised.

A few years ago there was a ladies conference at the Bible College and Canadian missionary Rev. Krampitz asked my parents to do the catering.As usual my Dad provided excellent food as the minimum cost and Rev Krampitz could not believe it and asked my Dad to check his accounts over and over over again saying he must have spent his own money somewhere.He requested my Dad to manage the College cafeteria, but my Dad refused saying he had his church ministry and after retirement wanted to lead a less active life (which he was not able to do really).

Terminal Velocity

Traffic scenes from Veitnam. I thought our traffic was bad. Some of it is really dangerous. A friend e-mailed these pictures.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Age is just a number

Today is my birthday and I am saying to myself ;"you can only be young once but immature forever."
We 've been having rain since the past 3 days but its quite humid too.I am coughing like a steam engine and feel pretty weak.Everybody says this fever just drains you out.
Since Saturday our electricity connection is off. I sent my complaint to the electric company they still have to come and fix it. Till then we are "borrowing" electricity from next door.
I am going to make egg curry for lunch. You boil eggs, shell them and fry them. Then prepare a gravy with onions ,tomatoes and spices pop in in some potatoes too and add the eggs to it. For dinner I 'll make paneer pizza. I 'll get someone to fetch me prepared pizza base from the shops.I make the topping with panner, tomatoes , onions and bell peppers.
There is a prayer meeting in Aunt Virginia 's house, but I won 't go as my coughing will shatter the peace.
Allahabad is a College town and people are coming to join various educational institutions.People we know have cone to put their kids in.Yesterday a family (from east U.P.) came with their two daughters, the elder one is joining B.Tech.We had seen them ages ago when they were little.The teenage girls were sweet and petite and my mum has one look at them and says,"Oh my what has happened to you both , you were such baby dolls and now you look so different". The faces of the whole family fell.And the self esteem of the teens took a nose dive to the centre of the earth.I tried to say a few encouraging words and later on chided Mom and forbade her from making such statements to anyone.Call my Mom a motivational speaker LOL.
I share my birthday with Herman Melville, writer born in 1819.