Sunday, 30 August 2009

Rations for Comfort and Discomfort

For Sunday dinner
there is nothing like fast and easy

comfort food

So I made Zeera Aloo ( Cumin Potato)
Thinly slice potatoes.
Heat oil in a non stick pan.
Tip in a teaspoon of cumin seeds.
When they splutter
Add the potatoes.
Put in some salt
and you if - like turmeric powder
and pepper powder.
Mix well.
And cook till potatoes are done.
I like them crispy brown.
My sister Anju, emailed me that she was making zeera aloo
the way Aunt Sybil used to make.
That motivated me to cook them too.
You have them as a side dish
or with rice or any kind of bread.
Commencing last week,
there will be a religious fair,
street carnival and procession
every Sunday evening
in a different part of town,
culminating in the last week of September.
The street a brightly decorated as
crowds throng the mela.

Street stalls are set up selling food,
toys, religious and decorative artifacts,
ornaments, bangles, cheap jewellery etc.
There are games and rides too.
And of course loud music on the P.A. system.

Religious floats are taken out in a procession
depicting scenes from
Hindu mythology.
People worship the gods and goddesses
on these floats.
The flip side of this is that
extra electricity has to be supplied to the area where
the fair or mela is taking place.
And in order to do that
the rest of the city is put on electricity rations.
So we had additional power cuts
yesterday and today
and who knows what the
future may hold.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Tears of the Saints

Let this video stir your heart

I live in the middle of the world featured in this video.
My heart bleeds for it

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Finding Friends

Having a Face Book Account has its pros and cons.
But I am glad I got one,
because I am connecting with my long , out-of -touch friends.
One girl I knew 25 years ago.
I stole some of their photos and put them here
for all to see.
Below are saints from an mission fellowship
my family and I are a part of.
Its called Union of Evangelical Students of India,(UESI)
very similar to Inter Varsity Fellowship. Above - Parrot akka (sister) and Sahayam anna(brother).
Parrot akka taught in a women 's Bible School.
She was our mentor and conference speaker.
She served on the OM ship for a term, got married.
Both of them were on the staff of the UESI
for several years.
They have 2 college going children.

They are excellent counsellors
specially in the area of marriage.
For some years they were missionaries
in the Fiji Islands and now they are serving in Guyana (S. America)

Akka had beautiful long hair,
which reached down to her ankles.
Below are Dr's Emmanuel and their fellowship group
in South India.
Brother is the head of a department in a College of Engineering
Dr Marjorie (his wife) works in a Leprosy hospital
started by the famous Dr Paul Brand.
They have 2 lovely daughters and 2 sweet grand kids.
Akka and Anna were based in my home town for several years.
They started their married life here.
They were the pillars of our fellowship.
Investing their home, resources and energy
for the kingdom.
They were like glue which cemented us together.
The more I talk about them is less.
Here in their home in South India
they are having a fellowship Birthday Feast.
Every one who had a birthday in August
got together with friends to celebrate.
(akka is serving the food)

(above Dr E and Dr M in front of the bookcase)
They had dinner and prayer

and worship.
Daughter Jerusha, an engineering student,
is playing the piano
Above are Sav and Den (short form of names) , a young couple
with their kids.
They were students in my hometown.
Now they are serving impoverished
and sick people in a neighbouring state.
Once Sonia and I were returning from a village wedding
about 50 miles from Alld.
We ran into Den. who was surprised to
see us in the middle of the village in
the blistering May heat.
He was there on a mission to sink a well
for peasants who were facing
shortage of water.
I am proud and blessed
to be a part of the family of God.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

O Love that Will Not Let Me Go

My dear friends I want to thank you for
praying for Namrita.
I called her up in the morning
and she sounded much better.
She said she felt weak and there was
a throbbing in her head.
but she she felt better.
She told me , on Friday night
she felt a Presence enter her room and draw out the pain
and sickness from her body.
She has never felt this way before.
It was such an amazing thing.
" When you were in trouble,you called
and I saved you
I answered you with thunder"
Psalm 81:7

We are convinced this is the Lord 's doing.
It was the time when family and friends
were interceding for her.
Please continue to pray for Namrita,
her husband Marak and boys,
Mishael and Rayguel.
May the Lord cause all of them
to be conformed into His image.

God will whisper. He will shout.
He will touch and tug.
He will take away our burdens;
he 'll even take away our blessings.
If there are a thousand steps
between us and him,
he will take all but one.
But he will leave the final one for us.
The choice is ours.
Please understand.
His goal is not to make you happy.
His goal is to make you his.
His goal is not to get you what you want;
it is to get you what you need.
And if that means a jolt or two,
to get you in your seat,then be jolted.
Earthly discomfort is a glad swap
for heavenly peace.
Jesus said ,
"In this world you will have trouble,
but be brave!
I have defeated the world"
John 16;33

(Max Lucado -A Gentle Thunder)
We had a very nice Friday fellowship meeting
last night at Aunt Virginia 's house.
A young man spoke on Acts chapter 4.
The last few verses where we are told
how Christians sold their belongings and land
and pooled in their money to meet
each other' s needs and shared
their resources.
It was a great reminder to us
to live for one another
and share each other 's burdens.

These teapots are so cute.
The pumpkin teapot is a creation
of Dame Penni, my dear artist friend.
The rose pot is from the web.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Prayers Needed

Please pray for my younger sister Namrita, who lives with her husband and 2 young sons in Meghalaya (North eastern state), thousands of miles from us.

She has been diagnosed as having chronic migraines.And the doctor treating her put her steroids without informing her. That really worsened her condition and she is practically bed ridden since Tuesday (Aug 18th). I got an email from her son telling me this as she was unable to talk to me. Then I called her up.
Her throat is swollen, gums hurt and she can barely swallow anything. Apart from weakness and the pain.
Another doctor has taken her off the steroids now. She needs to recover from that. Namrita has a thyroid issue too.
She will be travelling to Guwahati (Asam) to consult another doctor, in a few day 's time.
Please pray for her. My sister has had a lot of struggles in life.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Meat Or Without It

Watch this little fellow play the U2 song' With Or Without You. '
He is a child prodigy. Look at his fingering and the expression on his face. He doesn 't need a tutor.

All carnivorous beings in our state got

a tongue tying shock on Sunday when the papers announced that

in keeping with the Jain (religious sect) festival of

Paryushan Parva there would be no sale of any meat product

for the duration of 9 days..

The Jains are a minority religious sect

who advocate total vegetarianism. In fact the orthodox ones

cover their mouths and noses to keep

nano insects and other fleshy UFOs

from entering their digestive system.

Of course this drew the consternation and ire of

everyone involved in the meat industry (thousands)

(I almost wrote flesh trade).

The Holy month of Ramadan is beginning from August 24th

and the Muslim meat sellers need to earn

money in order to celebrate their month long festival.

Anyway the police enforced the order and several meat shops

were closed or partially closed.

I sent someone to buy doggie food for

Sheeba, fearing she might starve for the next 9 days.

And what do you know

the packet I buy for Rs 15 was selling for Rs 35.

Dogs were being fleeced right out of their skins.

Wonder how much the

chicken, mutton etc. cost?

(entrance to a Jain temple)

Anyway , after alot of brouhaha

and foot stamping (and tail wagging too)

It was discovered that the Supreme Court

order was valid only for the states of Rajasthan and Gujerat.

So all the carnivores of my state heaved and wagged a sigh of relief.

Here is Sheeba look quite washed out
after her civil rights protest.
Now she can have her victuals in peace.
Illustrates the proverb well -
"One man 's meat is another man 's
poison or livelihod"

Monday, 17 August 2009

Sunday Blessings - You Have A Voice

Last week we had our Friday Fellowship Meeting
in our home

There was a time of worship, prayer
and a message from the Pastor.

Milka always smiles at the camera.
A church worker carried Aunt Virginia from her
house to ours .
She has been immobile since January '09
after hip surgery.

Mama listening intently
I took a video of the prayer time.

When you speak the truth you are God 's ambassador

As you steward the money He gives you are His business manager

When you declare forgiveness you are His priest

As you stir the healing of the body or the soul

you are His physician

When you pray he listens to you

as a Father listens to his son

You have a voice in the household of God.

Max Lucado in

'A Love Worth Giving '


I desire to transform this blessing in my daily prayer

A Franciscan Blessing
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection,starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
And the Blessing of God, who Creates, Redeems and Sanctifies, be upon you and all you love an pray for this day, and forever more. Amen.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

At the Stroke of the Midnight Hour

The following is an excerpt from the speech given by Jawaharlal Nehru, India 's first Prime Minister, at midnight August 14th 1947, when India got her Independence.
At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, then an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.

At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.
Here is another video which showcases India.
Happy Independence Day

Friday, 14 August 2009

Celebration Weekend - Rajasthan Desert Festival

India is celebrating this weekend.
Today our Hindu friends celebrate the birthday of Krishna
And tomorrow is our Independence Day.
But the festivity is dampened by the
price rise and H1N1 .

Here are some photos of the

Rajasthan Desert Festival

Tourists trying on the traditional turbans.
The top photo shows two men donning the turban.

A desert dweller showing off his long moustache.
Its a matter of pride to grow and tend this appendage..
Here is video from Rajasthan.
The music is enchanting.
In the end he sings a line in Sanskrit
our ancient language, which means
"Guests are gods"


Rabindranath Tagore was one of the greatest poets of India.

He was a Nobel Laureate and freedom fighter.

Here is a short poem by him.

Man's abiding happiness is not in getting anything but in giving himself up to what is greater than himself,to ideas which are larger than his individual life,the idea of his country, of humanity, of God.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Comfort Zone and Out

(I love this cute graphic, the doggie looks like my Sheeba)

Since Monday I have been down with a cold.The heat and humidity did me in.
I treated myself with DeCold Total, herbal balm
and Tulsi tea (Basil)
I am much better today.

H1N1 is spreading its tentacles in India.
We 've had more than 10 deaths in the past one week
in different parts of our country.
One case tested positive locally.

I have a patch of Basil growing in my kitchen garden.
I spiced up the chai with some peppercorn,
crushed ginger root, gur (jaggery),cinnamon
and regular tea.
Makes a refreshing brew.

Benefits of Tulsi Tea
(Holy Basil Tea)
Tulsi tea, which originated in India thousands of years ago, is known for its rich antioxidant and adaptogenic properties that are known to promote wellness by building the body’s immune system, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity.
It is recognized as one of India's most sacred herbs because of its health benefits and healing properties.

Tulsi Tea's antioxidants protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals that facilitate the cause and progression of various types of diseases.
Also referred to as holy basil tea, this herbal brew’s adaptogens serve as powerful anti-stress agents that protect your body from a wide range of health concerns.
The adaptogens guard against and deal with physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional factors that produce high levels of stress that compromise physical and mental health.

Potential Health Benefits
Strengthens the immune system, promotes longevity and enhances well-being.
Promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Reduces the negative physical and psychological effects of stress.
Increases the body’s efficiency in using oxygen, which improves stamina, strength and endurance.
Promotes respiratory health.
Helps with digestion and gastrointestinal problems.
Neutralizes dangerous biochemicals that contribute to cancer, degenerative diseases and premature aging.

Facilitates healthy liver function.

Reduces cell and tissue damage from sun rays, radiation therapy and other radiation sources.
Relieves inflammation from arthritis and other diseases.
Helps fight infections.
It is important to note that, while there is scientific evidence that supports many of these health claims, additional research is needed to further substantiate medicinal impact and safety -- as with any herbal therapy. Always consult with your doctor before using herbal treatments.

(I copied the above information from a website)
The Hindus worship the Tulsi plant.

My mother is reading George Verwer 's book

'Out of the Comfort Zone '

little by little every morning. On the back cover it says -


George Verwer has managed to write a book that is humble and hard hitting at the same time.He doesn 't pull any punches in his heart 's cry for a 'grace awakened" approach to mission

and wants to cut through any superficial spirituality

that maybe lurking inside you."

Francis Chan 's challenging video goes well with it.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Sunday Blessings - Gifts

The Gift Of Friends
by Karin Schaefer
There are days when bubbling from us comes the innocent child within,who giggles at the little thing and wears a silly grin.There are days when melancholy comes to visit for a while;the mind feels tired, the body weak;we have no strength to smile.There are days when joy abundant grabs a hold of you and me;wraps us up in all it's splendor,lifts us up and sets us free.There are days when sorrow wraps us in its cloak of grief and fear,'till our hearts ache to the breaking,'till our eyes can't shed a tear.There are days when love bestows us with its wonderment and light;with its beauty and its mystery,its power and its might.And there are days when life rewards us and seems to make amends by granting us a marvelous gift,the precious gift of Friends.

My Pastor 's wife brought me this
beautifully hand crafted bead and sequin purse
from her hometown , Bhopal,
situated in Central India

Its highly embellished but
too ostentatious for the simple places
I go to. Besides the rickshaw drivers will
mistake me for a woman of substance
if I carry a reticule like this and demand double the fare.
Now I am hoping to be invited
to a wedding or party or
some fancy occasion befitting my accessory
I am aware that in the West these sort
of purses would cost a lot. But fortunately
in India they are moderately priced.
This is such a special gift.

This morning, before church the lady
in whose home we had last Friday 's
Fellowship Meeting brought
these farm fresh eggs for us.
She has a clutch of farm chicken
(desi murgis)

These desi andas (farm eggs) are very expensive
in the market.
I can make egg curry with them.
Just boil the eggs shell them,and deep fry them in oil and set
aside. Prepare a curry gravy of your choice.
The gravy should be nice and thick.
You can add pureed tomatoes
and boiled potatoes in it.
Pop in the eggs and cook for a few minutes.
Garnish it with fresh cilantro.
And its ready to eat with steamed rice.
Noodles, pasta chapatis, nan or bread.

Here is a video of this Friday 's Fellowship Meeting.
It took place in the home of 3 retired sisters.
We were singing Amazing Grace.
While shooting the video I did not sing.

In the book of James in the New Testament ,it is written "Every good and perfect gift is from above,coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,who does not change like shifting shadows" James 1;15 (NIV)

I have received such precious gifts from beloved people from near and far.
Today I thank God for the gift of friendship.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Shots from a Rickshaw

Two weeks ago I went to see an Aunt on her birthday
and took these photos from a moving rickshawCars parked in front of the Indian Coffee House.
All old colonial cities have the institution
of the Indian Coffee House.
It was a place for intellectuals and commoners
to gather and discuss politics and current affairs.
There were cubicles where families and
romantic couples could have South Indian meals.
As children we used to go there for outings.
A temporary shop being dismantled.

The IPEM building Institute of Psychological and Educational
Measurement, established by Presbyterian missionaries.
It is very successful and popular. They hold the TOFEL tests.

All Saints Cathedral

Stalls near the government offices.
People from rural areas who come to the city for
government work buy clothes etc. from
these cheap makeshift stalls.
The fruit and vegetable market
I shop here.One has to bargain quite a bit.
Fruit shops.
People are more interested in buying vegetables because fruit is so expensive.

The Board of Revenue office.
Established by the British. Its like the IRS.
My Dad worked here.
Another Government office
A car sales room.

Eklavya 's effigy.
He was a tribal boy who had to offer his
thumb to his guru in exchange
for mastery over archery.
This is another story.
The statue of our late Prime Minister Indra Gandhi.
I could only get her back.

As I passed through the affluent section of town,
I took pictures of the houses of wealthy people.

Above is the Circuit House -again from the British Raj.
It is a government/VIP guest house and
conference center.

I hope I did not bore you with
my zipping across town.

Found this interesting photo and caption
in today 's Hindustan Times newspaper.
Click and enlarge to read the fine print.
After completing a puja (worship) idols are supposed to be immersed in the river. These have been abandoned on the river bank.
Jesus said;God is a Spirit and those who worship Him,
must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
The Psalmist says;
I cannot run away from your Spirit O God.
God has not abandoned you.
Don 't try to run away from Him.