Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Does God Exist?

See how Albert Einstein
answered this question.
The German reminds me of my German
lessons in school.
I was taught by an ancient, very strict German
nun, Sister JoAnna.
She gave me an award for reading
and pronunciation.

On Oct 2nd is Mahatma Gandhi 's birthday, its a national holiday and we are having a day long camp for kids and teens in our church. Since the past 2 days we are getting the grounds prepared for the event. We have employed 4 workers for this. Tomorrow also, we have a lot of cleaning to do.

Then in the evening a group of volunteers will arrive to set the place.

Looking forward to the 2009 Kidz Fest.

Do remember us in prayer.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Libera - The Voice of Angels

Listen to this divine music.

It will lift you up to heaven

Monday, 28 September 2009

Yugratna - Child of the Future

Yugratna a 13 year old girl from our state capital Lucknow addressed the UN on issues about climate change. Yugratna has attended conferences in Norway and Kenya.
She studies in Grade 9 in a Catholic school. Her parents are college professors. She received a rousing welcome when she returned home.

Here is a report from Times of India
A young girl from India’s Gangetic plain, where climate change issues affect everyday life and quotidian tasks such as burning the
chulah ( open air wood or coal stove) affect the climate, made a plea for the ages at the United Nations on Tuesday, asking world leaders to show vision and leadership in stopping “those who make mother earth cry.”

Thirteen-year old Lucknow girl Yugratna Srivatsava, whose first name loosely translates as a precious stone for all times, spoke eloquently about the need for the world to stop pillaging the earth in a speech that was cheered by world leaders, including the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

“Environmental problems do not recognize political boundaries,” the young girl, wearing a green and white jacket, told a packed UN audience that included India’s external affairs minister S M Krishna, environment minister Jairam Ramesh, and senior diplomats Shyam Saran and Nirupama Rao. “We have one mother earth, let us share it.” She wanted world leaders to make environmental education compulsory in schools.

But beyond the United Nations decision to invite Yugratna to speak as a representative of the world’s youth simmered serious concerns that the climate change issue is heading for a deadlock ahead of the Copenhagen summit in December.
Wealthy nations are reluctant to cut enough emissions to take the world out of the danger zone, while poor and developing countries such as India are refusing to commit to binding caps, saying this would prevent them from growing their economies speedily. There was no indicate of any significant change in the positions on Tuesday.

Opening the summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said it would “morally inexcusable” not to act, a scolding that prompted both President Obama and China’s Hu Jintao to acknowledge that reaching an agreement is an important goal, although neither committed to any precise numbers. The US and China are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas.

India has been persistently clubbed with China, although its emissions are less than one-fourth of China, and in a subtle effort to put things in perspective, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given the UN session a miss, instead having ministers Krishna and Jairam Ramesh – who has very firmly stated that New Delhi will not agree to mandatory emissions target — do the batting.

Handle with Tender Loving Care

Dear  friends please  go my  my  friend
and  read  her post 'Miracle  at our  house '
and  watch  the  video  she   has  posted.
Keep  a  tissue   handy.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Happy and Holy Birthday Celebration

On Sept 24th I was invited to little boy Yash 's
birthday party who turned 5 years that day.
His parents are distantly related to us and used to attend our church services.
Now they go the Full Gospel Church.
(The embroidery on the place mat was done by my sister Anjali
when she was in school)
The party was held at Yash 's grandparent 's home on the outskirts of the city.
My cousins gave me a lift in their car.
But the journey was very tiring and arduous
because we got caught in a traffic jam and lost our way quite near to the venue.
It took 1 & 1/2 hours to get to a place 1/2 an hour away
and that too when temp. was in the 90s with high humidity.

They had the party on the terrace.
My pictures are not very good due to poor
light and my camera cells were about to give up.
So most of them are in silhouettes.
That area was having a power cut but they had
a generator.
Before the birthday festivities,
Pastor Daniel of the Full Gospel Church
led in a time of worship and devotions
together with his team.
Pastor Daniel 's wife, Ida is South American.
She could not come as she is expecting their second child
(a boy) in 2 weeks time.
Pastor Daniel gave a 30 minute sermon,
rousing and fiery -
the Full Gospel way!
(most of us were not prepared
for the revival meeting before the party)
Food for the soul first -
then food for the body -
said Pastor Daniel.
Praying for Yash.
This little fellow is an animal lover.
He prays for us every night
his parents tell us.
He looks so sweet here.

He had a chocolate teddy bear cake.
His parents are with him.
My niece Nishu.
This photo does not do her justice,
she is very pretty.
The food was very nice.
There was pilaf, chicken, fried fish
kebabs and lots of other dishes.
My camera batteries failed and
I could not take any more photos.

To a boy 's birthday party one
has to wear blue.

Come let us give thanks to the Lord.
I took this video in the dark and my
camera batteries were
very low too.
Here is a part of the crowd singing.

The time to love is short

A young father leaves a message for his new born child before he slips away into eternity. This video just tore my heart.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Orthorexia- When eating right is all wrong

These days its fashionable to don the uniform the health police and tell others what NOT to eat.

They frown as they pump the following bullets into your guilty frame...

"What ... do you still eat red meat?"
"The sugar from that dessert with stick to your arteries and choke you".
"Did you wash those vegetables in salt water or potassium per magnate?"
"How can you ever think of consuming an egg yolk!"
"We don 't eat fish in months which don 't spell with an 'R '.

There is an endless list of admonitions and recriminations.

I have just learnt to politely mumble vaguely , sigh inwardly and repeat to myself the wise maxims EVERYTHING IN MODERATION ,
Now seriously...

When eating right is all wrong

A new type of eating disorder is emerging where people are becoming obsessed with eating to improve their health. According to the Swiss Food Association, this new wave of nutritional obsession, known as ‘Orthorexia’ or ‘Orthorexia nervosa’, from the Greek “orthos” meaning right and correct, and “orexis” meaning appetite, is reaching worrying proportions.
In a quest to cure themselves of a specific disorder, or simply just taking healthy eating to extremes, orthorexics develop their own increasingly specific food rules. Working out how to stick to their self-imposed dietary regimen takes up more and more of their time and they are compelled to plan meals several days ahead. They tend to take a ‘survival kit’ of their own food with them when they go out, as they cannot eat readily available foods for fear of fat, chemicals or whatever their particular phobia might be. Sticking to their regimen takes strong willpower and they feel self-righteous and superior to people who do not have such self-control. “Someone whose days are filled with eating tofu and quinoa biscuits can feel as saintly as if they had devoted their whole life to helping the homeless” states Dr. Steve Bratman, the man who initially described orthorexia back in 1997. By contrast, if the orthorexic breaks their health-food vows and succumbs to a craving for a ‘prohibited’ food, they feel guilty and defiled. This drives them to punish themselves with ever stricter dietary rules or abstinence. This behaviour is similar to those who suffer from anorexia or bulimia nervosa, except that anorexics and bulimics are concerned with the quantity of food consumed whereas orthorexics are concerned with the quality.

We are now bombarded with information about what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ for us all the time. Food scares and the organic movement have added to the complexity of decisions people need to make about the food they eat. Dr. Bettina Isenschmid, consultant for food disorders at L’Hôpital de l’Isle in Berne, believes that this focus on good and bad foods is problematic and fuels an increasingly neurotic relationship with food in modern western society. Health is now an important consideration for many Europeans when menu-planning . How do we get the right balance between eating healthily and healthy eating obsession?

As with most aspects of diet, moderation is the key. Changes in food choices should be made gradually and in a way that fits in with a person’s tastes and lifestyle. Eating more healthily should have a positive effect on health without reducing the enjoyment of life or affecting relationships with others. To check if someone has healthy eating in perspective, or is becoming obsessed, try the ‘Bratman Test for orthorexia’.

The Bratman Test for Orthorexia
Do you spend more than 3 hours a day thinking about your diet?
Do you plan your meals several days ahead?
Is the nutritional value of your meal more important than the pleasure of eating it?
Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet has increased?
Have you become stricter with yourself lately?
Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthily?
Have you given up foods you used to enjoy in order to eat the ‘right’ foods
Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat out, distancing you from family and friends?
Do you feel guilty when you stray from your diet?
Do you feel at peace with yourself and in total control when you eat healthily?
Yes to 4 or 5 of the above questions means it is time to relax more about food.
Yes to all of them means a full-blown obsession with eating
healthy food.

Orthorexia Nervosa isn 't common in India

but its growing like other eating disorders.

Let me end in a lighter (pun intended) note.

for posting a photo of a
restaurant somewhere in New York which is
named after me. LOL

Monday, 21 September 2009

Name this plant

A lady gave these 2 branches from this plant.
She doesn 't know its name, but
believes it is a native of West Africa.
Does anyone know its name?

It can stay green without water for a week.
The tablecloth is my mother 's handiwork.

Today is the Muslim festival of Eid.
A Muslim lady came to see us with
her teenage grand daughter.
I took a photo of her
brightly hennaed hands.
Dear friends, I drew flack on a blog because I took a stand for righteousness and holiness.
And I apologized to the offended commentators not for my point of view but for stating it in strong words.
Most of the commentators including the blog author
hold the same view as I do.
It says in Romans chapter 1
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
(New Testament)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Leap of Faith

On my rickshaw trips
I took pictures of various
places of worship
in my city.This is a small Hindu temple.
The free masons came to India
with the British.
There are quite a number of them
present in India.
Influential prosperous people.
An Anglo Indian free Mason (now living in UK) whose
pilot son was killed in a helicopter
crash in our church campus
about 38 years ago
approached us to let him build
a monument for his son on our church land.
We could not permit him.
He could embellish his son 's grave in the cemetery instead.

This is a Muslim shrine.
Mazar or grave of a Muslim saint.
People come here to pray and make offerings
hoping the dead Baba will sponsor their prayers.
(in the background is a Protestant English Medium School,

Here is another view of the mazar.
The dome is being repaired.
People visit various shrines and ask for mannats or wishes to be granted.
This is the Green Mosque

Not far from my house sits a roadside shaman,
or Baba.
He is a fortuneteller, soothsayer, exorcist and
wizard all rolled into one.
He has a little tent dwelling which I could not photograph.
Besides his occultic practices he is very
kind to stray dogs and feeds about
5 of them. The canines are very
faithful to him and guard him 24/7.
I have seen him feed a semi paralyzed dog with his hand.
For his consultation fees Baba asks for
liquor or opium.
He owns a fleet of rickshaws which
he rents out to drivers and receives a steady income.
His wife lives in another house not far from this place.
She sends him food etc.
He has 2 other girlfriends
who are his tent companions.
His wife doesn 't mind as they look after his needs.
He is 60 plus.
I got all this information from
our church helper, who drinks
tea at a tea stall near the Baba 's domain.

22So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, unknown, this I proclaim'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being. Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28for "'In him we live and move and have our being" Acts 17

Mars Hill or The Areopagus in Athens , Greece

A Man Fell Into A Hole - Watch

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Mr India - Man Begs To Feed Orphans

Three-year-old Nani Soren is crying inconsolably for his mother, till Kantha Singh, 45, takes him in his lap.
Nani’s mother abandoned him after her husband’s death two months ago and fled with another man.
Singh, who runs an orphanage in East Singhbhum’s Dampara village, around 200 km north of Ranchi, appears to be inspired by the character Anil Kapoor played in the ’80s blockbuster Mr India.
In the film, Kapoor held violin classes to support his ‘extended family’ of nine children. Singh, the biological father of three, raises 42 orphans from neglected tribal communities by begging.
The former car mechanic’s love for orphans has played havoc with personal life — Singh’s family has severed all ties with him — but he has no regrets. His biggest concern is the welfare of these orphans.
“Reckless alcoholism and the polygamy leave tribal children to fend for themselves. Once orphaned, these children either die prematurely or spend their childhood working as bonded labourers in farmhouses and fields,” he said.
The challenge of any intervention to help orphans in India becomes even more enormous in the absence of official government data, said Enakshi Ganguly, co-director of the Delhi-based HAQ Centre for Child Rights.
According to Pune-based NGO Catalysts for Social Action, there were at least 12.4 million orphans in India in 2006. The last Census in 2001 put the number of child labourers in the country at 12.7 million. Jharkhand’s seven registered orphanages provide shelter to 420 children.
To teach the orphans in a thatched hutment converted into a shelter-cum school, Singh had to shut down his garage on the National Highway 33. Now, he begs and offers shramdaan (free service) in villages, along with his bunch of volunteers, to feed the orphans.
With no permanent income, how does he plan to run the orphanage? “I don’t feel any humiliation begging for alms as I am carrying out God’s work,” he said.
Neekanth Singh, 6, has never seen his parents. After he has recited a rhyme, when HT asked him his father’s name, he promptly said: “My father’s name is Kantha Singh.”
Mamoni Singh, 7, and Sonamoni, 8, also refer to Singh as ‘papa.’
As long as he is alive, Singh says the children won’t sleep on an empty stomach.
But sometimes, the meagre donations are not sufficient. “At times, we just have salt and rice to eat. Some day, I hope, these children get an education and go on to become government babus (clerks)

There was a huge response to this story published in the Hindustan Times ( newspaper) . Many people from India and abroad and offered help. The President of India has invited Kantha Singh to meet her.
(this girl is performing in a roadside circus act -she is walking in a thin wire stretched between 2 bamboo poles)
Its encouraging to see that when the media brings such stories to the notice of the world, people respond positively. There is hope in the world.

According to Kaushik Basu (Indian Economist) who is Professor of Economics and Chairman Dept. of Economics, Cornell University, selfishness and breakdown of social values beget poverty.

In other words he says,"Human qualities like altruism,integrity and appropriate norms and institutions are vital for economic development".


The Bible says," If you obey the Lord your God and carefully follow His commandments...the Lord will grant you abundant prosperity."

Deut 28;11
(all photos are taken from the web)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunday Blessings - Oreos

I want to share this poem as quoted by

Dr Margaret J. Rinck
in her book 'Can Christians Love Too Much? '

Like An Oreo

What is on the inside is not the same as on the outside
The outside is hard,independent,confident,

Strong to fend off the world
The inside is soft, vulnerable,easily damaged or hurt.
The outside is like chocolate-everybody loves it.
The inside is lovable but it doesn ' think so.
The outside is responsible,caring,serving,looking to
meet the needs of others.
The inside is afraid of failure,
yearning to be special,
needing to be loved.
The outside says;"I can handle it.
I don 't need anyone."
The inside is dying for affection, seeking approval.

The outside is proving I am worth something.
I am lovable.
The inside does not love me,
does not know I am worth something.
Lord please take special care of my inside first.
(Author Unknown)
I have felt a lot like this.
Have you?

Friday, 11 September 2009

Thursday Visitors

On Thursday we had a lot of visitors.In the morning Uncle Freddie dropped by.
He is a retired Pastor and fund raiser for
the Bible Society and Scripture Union.
He travels far and wide on his bicycle
visiting homes collecting money for
these two societies.
He has worn out several bicycles.
Uncle is in his late 60s and suffers
from several health problems
but he is not slowing down.
Through his tireless efforts he has contributed a
lot for these mission agencies.
He has a symbol of the cross on his carry box.
I suppose it brings him luck or favor.

Late afternoon I got a call from my friend Poonam
saying she wanted to bring her football team
to cook a dinner of scrambled eggs and bread in our home.
Most of the girls who belong to conservative
vegetarian homes expressed a desire to eat home cooked eggs.
So I scrapped the plans I had for the evening
and invited them over.

Poonam is a High School PE teacher and Cricket coach
in a Methodist Girls School up north.
She was my friend and colleague in the American school
where I taught.

The gals preparing dinner in my kitchen.
Everyone had a lot of fun.
Mama was also very relaxed as she chatted with Poonam.

Before dinner we had tea and snacks.
And my goodness the gals were famished !
They had played two football matches that day.
But they were so good.
They made scrambled eggs with onions and tomatoes and
lots of hot chilies, rotis (flat bread)
and potato sabzi (stir fry).
(2 of them did not eat eggs)
And after dinner they washed and cleaned up
and even put away my dishes and stuff.

Poonam with her students.
They left later that night
and caught the 11.30 pm train
for their city.
We really enjoyed this lively visit.
Although I was a bit tired afterwards
as I got a short notice to prepare
for the visitors.