Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cool Aid

Stepping out in temperatures hovering between

40-45^C (105-110*F) is quite a feat.

But life must go on hot or cold.

These are the girls from Hindu Mahila School (K-12)

(Hindu Women 's School)

The lass on the left has covered her face with a kerchief. Many

do likewise and wear long gloves to avoid sun burn and tan.A fair or light complexion is favored in India.

Schools are meeting in the mornings between 7am to 10 or 11 am.

See the girls in the school rickshaw.

This type of rickshaw is used to transport school kids.

Its quite convenient as parents don 't have to take

their children themselves.

But the rickshaw walas stuff too many kids

into the seats.They get paid by

the month.

Dad is taking his two kids

home on his scooter'

Others travel by car, bus or their own cycles , motorcycles etc.

But when you are hot, you need

some refreshment.

This sign outside MacDonald 's beckons

me whenever I pass by.

At Rupees 10 their vanilla cone is quite cheap.

But I give it a

cold shoulder for the obvious reason.

I read about a chocolate fountain on Donetta' s blog

and I wondered what it looked like.

I found this man displaying one

in his little cupcake stall

outside the Big Bazaar Shopping Mall.

I have never tasted any of his treats,

but these chocolate cakes look good.

This man is selling a spiced mango drink called Panna.
Its a traditional cool aid.

I make it at home.

You can check the recipe HERE

The Bael fruit is another cooler and is known

for its medicinal properties.

It is also known as Indian quince, wood apple or stone apple.

You have to extract its soft pulp

and make a sweet sherbet with it

adding ice.

I make this at home too.

These drinks are for men on the move.

They are best made at home.

But there is nothing like plain old H2O to

quench your thrirst.

Here under the shade of a peepal tree

are earthen pots containing water.

The peepal tree is worshipped by the Hindus

and feared too, as their believe

spirits reside in it.

So you can say your prayers,

quench your thirst

and read the newspaper

all in one spot.

On a side street there was a metal stand with

drinking water pots.

This man is drinking from a cup.

And a street dog is closely watching

hoping for a sip.
(The last 2 photos are from the www)

Yesterday we had a power cut from 10am till 4pm,

the hottest part of the day.

So hand fans should be within reach.

Here is a man selling them.

They are made with palmyra leaves.

Many kinds of fans are available.

Many people don 't have fridges.

So clay water jars are a good option to keep water cool.

When we were growing up we did not have a fridge.

We used jars like these.

And in the evening the ice man came around

and we bought ice to put in our sherbet.

Good old days they were,

we were not dependant on science and technology.

And life was simpler and people centered.

There are many more ways to keep cool.

I will share more later on.

What are some of the ways

you keep cool?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sunday Blessings-Small Things

Sometimes a little thing like extra salt or pepper in the food I' ve cooked can teach me a lesson.

I can let it either frustrate me or humble me.
This is from Max Lucado encouraged me greatly.
Uncommon Use
“He gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Heaven may have a shrine to honor God’s uncommon use of the common.
It’s a place you won’t want to miss. Stroll through and see
Rahab’s rope,

Paul’s bucket,

David’s sling,

and Samson’s jawbone.

Wrap your hand around the staff that split the sea and smote the rock. Sniff the ointment that soothed Jesus’ skin and lifted his heart . . .
I don’t know if these items will be there. But I am sure of one thing—the people who used them will.
Can you recall a small thing which has taught you something recently?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Driven by Despair

I will indulge my sorrows, and give way To all the pangs and fury of despair. Author: Joseph Addison
These must have been the terminal thoughts of a young man called Goray who took his life yesterday morning.His relatives found him hanging by a rope in his dark hut in the village when they went to call him for breakfast.
Stories like these appear in the newspaper everyday. Today I read that 3 adults and 2 children killed themselves because they were wronged by a village council (khap panchayat).But Goray 's death came as a big shock to my Mama and me because we knew him since childhood. He had come to see us recently and we tried to help him.

We had known Goray since he was a kid. His uncle and family used to live in our church out house and helped us with odd jobs and errands. Vishamber (uncle) has a blue collar job in a government office. Vishambar 's son Chummu got involved with the law, so had to ask them to leave the church premises.

Goray worked as a houseboy and driver for government officers. But 3 months ago he lost his job. His married elder brother Kallu who has a criminal bent of mind gave him unending trouble. Kallu defrauded Goray to give him all his savings under the pretext of buying a house and sharing it with him. But he turned him away.
Kallu is married and has forced his wife to undergo several abortions.He has been involved in various anti-social activities. When Goray came to know that Kallu was planning to elope to Mumbai (Bombay) with another woman, he prevented it.
Kallu reacted with terrible anger and rage and beat up diminutive and frail Goray several times. The injured brother incurred severe head injuries and Vishambar paid for his treatment as the poor boy was destitute and had no where to go being penniless.
Goray 's father is an impoverished farmer and does not care for his family at all. Vishambar was sheltering his nephew for the past 3 months. He also finds hard to make ends meet as he has a large family to support.
About 10 days ago I called Chummu, (who has somewhat reformed himself and is married with a 3 yr old son) to fix my window swamp cooler. He came along with his pretty wife Manju who sat with my Mama and me and shared her family and life problems with us.
I will tell her story later on.
All these are village based people belonging to the peasant caste. Manju belongs to a higher caste. Chummu has a Bachelor' s degree and he does small electrician jobs.
While Chummu was fixing the cooler, Goray also came over . We met him after several month and he looked a mess. Skinny, weak and very depressed.
He shared his tragic story with us and said he was desperately looking for a job. With tears in his eyes he said he was contemplating suicide. Mama and I counselled him for a long time and asked him to pray to Jesus ( none of these people are Christians).
Our church groundskeeper said he would look for a driver 's job for him.I gave them Gospel portions and tried to encourage them.
Then Goray suddenly asked,,"Didi,(elder sister) can I make tea in your kitchen?" I immediately took Manju and Goray into the kitchen and showed them where everything was and said ;Go ahead and make tea for all of us, which we had with cookies.
Goray must have been feeling really destitute because he aske d me for vegetables. I had already made up a packet with what ever I had and gave it to him.When we paid Chummu we said use some of it for Goray too.
The news struck us very deeply. And my Mama was sick the whole day today, she suffers from nervous anxiety. Earlier this week Mama 's cousin sister passed away. I went to her funeral on Wednesday. This was grief upon grief.

These days people are giving up so easily. Depression, fear anxiety hopelessness is choking life out of people.Poverty fuelled by despair is pushing people over the edge.

Vishambar and Goray belong to Ganne village which was in the headlines earlier this month.
The newspapers reported that children of Ganne village were eating silica laced mud to assuage their hunger.Helped has reached that village just 45 kms away from my city.

Read the story HERE

But there is so much to be done. Our church groundskeeper Jags is very sick. Doctors suspect ulcers in his stomach. We are doing whatever we can and still more is needed. Please pray that the Lord fulfil our desire to help this poor man.The salary we give him is not enough for his medical treatment.

We believe our God -

"He raises the poor from the dust.

And lifts the needy from the ash heap'" Psalm 113;7

"How blessed is he who considers the helpless.

The Lord will deliver him in the day of trouble,

The Lord will protect him and keep him alive,

And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;

And do not give him over to the desires of his enemies.

The Lord will sustain him upon his sickbed;In his illness Thou dost restore him to health."

Psalm 41;1-3


I got the following email from Google. I am not sure if its genuine.
Has anybody else with a Gmail acount received a similar missive?
Should I send them the info?

The Gmail Team is working on total security on all accounts and as a result of this security upgrade we require all Google members to verify their account with Google. To prevent your account from disability you will have to update your informations by clicking the reply button and filling the space below.
Phone Number:

PS Thank you dear friiends for your input . I just hit the Delete button

Monday, 19 April 2010

Be sober,be vigilant

Masked men attack Christian prayer meet
Apr 18 2010
A group of masked men attacked a Christian prayer meet in remote Sarni area of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, police said on Sunday. Locals claimed that a man died in the resulting melee after he jumped into a well in panic.
According to eyewitnesses, the man died due to the ruckus on Saturday night created by the miscreants, allegedly belonging to "rightist organisations".
"The incident took place around 8.30 pm at Saliya village where around eight to nine masked men forced their way into the Christian prayer meeting, attacked the organisers, damaged their vehicles and fled," Sub-Divisional officer (Police) Abhishek Rajan said.
"Later, the police found a body floating in a well, located 400 meters from the prayer venue. According to the locals, the man was attending the meeting and jumped into the well in panic when the miscreants attacked," he said.
"The police are yet to ascertain whether his death was related to the attack as his body was found floating within two hours of the commotion while medical experts say that it takes at least 12 hours for a body of a drowned person to surface," Rajan said.
Several attacks on Christian meets have been witnessed in the past in tribal-dominated Balaghat district also with the latest one on April 15 when some miscreants, allegedly belonging to rightwing Hindu groups, stormed a function organised by a Protestant group and attended by over 5,000 people.
Father Lijo Antony, assistant parish priest of the lone Catholic church in the area, said: "Hindu groups tried to forcibly enter the venue alleging the programme was aimed at converting gullible tribal people."
The police imposed prohibitory orders in the area after the incident. The administration also gave protection to 23 Protestant pastors working in the area, the priest said.
Although the district is in Madhya Pradesh, it comes under Nagpur archdiocese in Maharashtra.
Source URL:http://www.deccanchronicle.com/latest-news/masked-men-attack-christian-prayer-meet-216

Please continue to pray for the advancement of God' s kingdom in India
Like I said in my comment ,life is very difficult for me as a single , physically challenged woman in a male dominated, very often hostile and intimidating society.I feel very insecure at times.The demons of crime and discrimination hover around us, breathing down our necks. But self pity is one enemy I have learnt to keep at bay. Self pity is the first crack in the wall before the entire wall comes crashing down.
Sometimes feeling very weak myself I have encouraged and admonished others.
"My health may fail and my spirit may grow weak,but God remains the strength of my heart,He is mine forever" Psalm 73;26
This afternoon, when the lights went out for the umpteenth time in the 110* heat I read the following poem from Henri Nouwen 's book 'With Open Hands
Hope means to keep living
amid desperation
and to keep humming
in the darkness
Hope is knowing that there is love
it is trust in tomorrow
it is falling asleep
and waking again
when the sun rises
In the midst of a gale at sea
it is to discover land.
In the eyes of another
it is to see that you are understood...
as long as there is hope
There will also be prayer...
And you will be held
in God' s hands.
"For I satisfy the weary ones
and refresh everyone who languishes." Jeremiah 31;25 (Bible)

Sunday Blessings; 5 Stones to Keep Ready

Last night I read this devotional to my mother to encourage both of us as we face the challenges of life. I try to prevent my Mom from watching too much alarming news on TV. Sometimes she gets overtly concerned watching all the disasters and catastrophies. And I also worry about various problems and issues I face. We have plenty of reasons to get discouraged .Then its time to pause and remember the Lord 's faithfulness to us.

Take Goliath Down

by Max Lucado

Goliaths still roam our world. Debt. Disaster. Dialysis. Danger. Deceit. Disease. Depression. Super-size challenges still swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace and liposuction joy. But they can’t dominate you. You know how to deal with them. You face giants by facing God first. Focus on giants—you stumble.Focus on God—your giants tumble. You know what David knew, and you do what David did. You pick up five stones, and you make five decisions. Ever wonder why David took five stones into battle? Why not two or twenty? Rereading his story reveals five answers. Use your five fingers to remind you of the five stones you need to face down your Goliath. Let your thumb remind you of …

1. THE STONE OF THE PASTGoliath jogged David’s memory. Elah was a déjà vu. While everyone else quivered, David remembered. God had given him strength to wrestle a lion and strong-arm a bear. Wouldn’t he do the same with the giant? A good memory makes heroes. “Remember His marvelous works which He has done” (1 Chron. 16:12). Catalog God’s successes. Keep a list of his world records. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Have you not known his provision? How many nights have you gone to bed hungry? Mornings awakened in the cold? He has made roadkill out of your enemies. Write today’s worries in sand. Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone. Pick up the stone of the past. Then select …

2. THE STONE OF PRAYERNote the valley between your thumb and finger. To pass from one to the next you must go through it. Let it remind you of David’s descent. Before going high, David went low; before ascending to fight, David descended to prepare. Don’t face your giant without first doing the same. Dedicate time to prayer. Paul, the apostle, wrote, “Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long” (Eph. 6:18 MSG).Prayer spawned David’s successes. His Brook Besor wisdom grew out of the moment he “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). When Saul’s soldiers tried to capture him, David turned toward God: “You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble” (Ps. 59:16). Invite God’s help. Pick up the stone of prayer. And don’t neglect …
3. THE STONE OF PRIORITYLet your tallest finger remind you of your highest priority: God’s reputation. David jealously guarded it. No one was going to defame his Lord. David fought so that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Sam. 17:46–47).David saw Goliath as a chance for God to show off! Did David know he would exit the battle alive? No. But he was willing to give his life for the reputation of God.What if you saw your giant in the same manner? Rather than begrudge him, welcome him. Your cancer is God’s chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God’s opportunity to showcase grace. Your struggling marriage can billboard God’s power. See your struggle as God’s canvas. On it he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Announce God’s name and then reach for …
4. THE STONE OF PASSION David ran, not away from, but toward his giant. On one side of the battlefield, Saul and his cowardly army gulped. On the other, Goliath and his skull-splitters scoffed. In the middle, the shepherd boy ran on his spindly legs. Who bet on David? Who put money on the kid from Bethlehem? Not the Philistines. Not the Hebrews. Not David’s siblings or David’s king. But God did. And since God did, and since David knew God did, the skinny runt became a blur of pumping knees and a swirling sling. He ran toward his giant.Do the same! Let your ring finger remind you to take up the stone of passion. One more stone, and finger, remains:
5. THE STONE OF PERSISTENCEDavid didn’t think one rock would do. He knew Goliath had four behemoth relatives. For all David knew, they’d come running over the hill to defend their kin. David was ready to empty the chamber if that’s what it took.Imitate him. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One apology might not do it. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two … but don’t quit. Keep loading the rocks. Keep swinging the sling. David took five stones. He made five decisions. Do likewise. Past. Prayer. Priority. Passion. And persistence. Next time Goliath wakes you up, reach for a stone. Odds are, he’ll be out of the room before you can load your sling.
From Facing Your GiantsCopyright (Thomas Nelson, 2005) Max Lucado

Friday, 16 April 2010

A Fiery Post

We had just begun our Sunday morning
worship service when we
were told that there was a big commotion
near the Parsonage gate.
A wooded area in front of the Parsonage
was on fire.The neighbours were
worried it would spread to their homes.
We stopped our service and tried to douse
the flames rapidly licking up the
dry trees, bushes and grass.
In the meantime a neighbour called
the fire brigade.And they arrived
within 15 minutes, which is
a miracle in itself.
See the fire truck outside the gate.
It took more than a hour to
extinguish the flames. We pumped
water till the electricity lasted (10 am)
The fire truck also ran out of water.
We resorted to the bucket brigade too ,
but praise God the danger was over
after a good bit of work.
This is a second fire incident on our campus.
A few days ago our back yard was on fire
My mother saw it and called
Jags , our church groundskeeper to help
put it out. Some of our banana trees were destroyed.
The cause of the fires could be
accidental or intentional.
We just don 't know.
All we know is in both cases
God protected us.
The God who answered Elijah with fire
saved Shadrach, Meshach
and Abednego from the fiery flames.
This Chandi ( official name Shristi)
She is wearing a million dollar dress.
Notice the $ pin on the side.
All richly dressed for church.
Milka also wanted to be photographed
with her friend.
Chandi has a horse shoe pin too.
I suppose her parents don 't know what it is
and that it stands for good luck.
Many people in India wouldn 't.
A horse shoe isn 't considered lucky here
(but is a $ is- if you posses it LOL)
Chandi is a spunky little gal and
sings special numbers in church with Milka.
Her parents are awaiting baptism.
Yesterday it was 45*c -112* F (plus)
But our lillies are making an appearance.
The roses have withered.
We have many heat resistant trees and flowers.
Wish we were heat resistant too.
On Tuesday we had a lot of electricity trouble.
It took a great toll on my mind, body and soul.
After an unscheduled power outage
everybody got their current back but us.
I just panic when this happens.
I send desperate prayers to God as the
supply people are not helpful. In a situation
like this I pray a very selfish or
even a malicious prayer
in my desperation,
'Oh Lord, why only us,please
let everybody 's power go off,
then there will be a greater chance of
it being restored '.
Has anybody prayed for their neighbourhood
lights to go off?
Anyway at past 10 pm, Pastor came out
for an after dinner walk.
He jiggled my fuse box and got the
current back.
After a while darkness fell on
the whole area
and only after 11.15pm we
were given relief.
It took me an hour to recover from this trauma.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Any buyers for these ideas?

I 've got a cold and an itchy throat
so I wouldn 't mind having this contraption-
I might make it on the front page
of the newspaper too.

I can 't eat piping hot food -
so this will work for me.

Spreading butter would be so much easier.

Isn 't he cute

This is a real comforter

Now you cab catch your forty winks

while travelling in the metro.

The anti-splash umbrella.
Dear friends, I not feeling
too good I have a cold
and sore throat and the heat
doesn 't make it better.
On Sunday morning by God 's grace a
major fire was averted on our church campus.
On Sunday evening I went to visit
little Simran who got severely burnt
when she accidentally spilled hot tea over herself.
The poor child is suffering.
Please pray for her recovery and relief.
Her parents are far from God and living very irresponsible lives.
It is heart wrenching to see
their condition.
But misfortune and hardship is
finally making them to
see the light.
For the first time Simran 's mother asked me to pray for them
She used to mock God.
Now she is going to church
and sending her children too.
The door is opening a tiny crack.
Please pray for them
the parents are Bunty ( father)
and Shaloo (mother)
Simran (daughter 9)
and Babu (6)
I took them veggies from our garden,
cookies for the kids,
2 large bags of clothes
and a little money.
Its heart breaking to see
people suffer because
of the wrong choices they have made.
I went to the district court
yesterday on church business.
Just got myself fried in
44*C ( 110* F) heat.
No air conditioning in the transport or buildings.
Then we had a Pastor 's family visit us
in the evening.

This evening Aunt Maya came
wanting me to take her to visit
2 senior church ladies
who are ill and house bound.
We went to their place
to encourage them and pray for them.
Maya aunty wants to
spend the day with
us tomorrow and wants
me to help her with some bank work.
Not a very pleasing prospect in the
heat and with my cold.
But have to do it.
I get tired easily.
Say a little prayer for me.

I will post photos of the fire and garden later on.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Jungle Book Soccer

Please take a moment to watch this video.
A deer and a dog playing soccer

Saturday, 10 April 2010

In House-Street Food

Made some popular street food at home.This this sweet chutney made with
sour tamrind pulp, jaggery or gur ( kind of brown sugar)
grated ginger root ,I used candied ginger,
salt and little cayenne pepper. You can add dry fruit if
you want. All the ingredients are cooked
together till thickened.

This is matar ki chaat-
savoury dried peas.
The peas are soaked overnight and boiled
till soft. Then you can add chaat masalas and garnish it with
fresh chopped coriander and mint leaves.

These are aloo tikkis or potato patties
sizzling on the griddle.

Tonight I made pizzas from scratch.
I made my own pizza dough and topping
which was made from garden fresh cherry tomatoes.
green peppers, onion, garlic and grated cheese.
Eating outside is getting dearer,so
I prefer to make these dishes at home.

Food is an important part of a balanced diet. ~Fran Lebowitz

Friday, 9 April 2010

Search Your Calcutta

I read Mary Poplin 's 'Finding Calcutta ' recently and it triggered
a mini revival in my heart.
I strongly recommend this book to all my readers
because I know all of you want
to make a difference with your life.

I have read a lot about Mother Teresa and have visited the local Missionaries of
Charity Malnutrition Center, but was never
shown this panorama of her life and work.
The book made me think about my own commitment to
serving Christ and my willingness to
suffer for Him.
And look at people around me through the eyes of Jesus.
About the Book
"Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are. . . . You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see." --Mother Teresa
Lifelong educator Mary Poplin, after experiencing a new found awakening to faith, sent a letter to Calcutta asking if she could visit Mother Teresa and volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity. She received a response saying, "You are welcome to share in our works of love for the poorest of the poor." So in the spring of 1996, Poplin spent two months in Calcutta as a volunteer. There she observed Mother Teresa's life of work and service to the poor, participating in the community's commitments to simplicity and mercy. Mother Teresa's unabashedly religious work stands in counter cultural contrast to the limitations of our secular age.
Poplin's journey gives us an inside glimpse into one of the most influential lives of the twentieth century and the lessons Mother Teresa continues to offer. Upon Poplin's return, she soon discovered that God was calling her to serve the university world with the same kind of holistic service with which Mother Teresa served Calcutta.
Not everyone can go to Calcutta. But all of us can find our own meaningful work and service. Come and answer the call to find your Calcutta!

(All the above photos have been taken from the Internet)

Here are some reviews

Having been the spiritual director of the Missionaries of Charity in Asia for many years, I read Mary Poplin’s book with keen interest and fond memories of these remarkable women. Finding Calcutta is a love story between God and two women, Mother Teresa and the author. In describing her encounter and the lessons learned with ‘God’s pencil,’ Mary Poplin has penned ’something beautiful for God.’ This book not only captures the spirituality of Mother Teresa and her sisters but also reminds us of an important principle in spiritual formation that God taught its author: our own Calcutta is most often right smack where we are.” — –Albert Haase, O.F.M., director, School of Spirituality at Mayslake Ministries, and author of Coming Home to Your True Self: Leaving the Emptiness of False Attractions

“If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a worldly California academic curious enough to volunteer in Mother Teresa’s Calcutta Mission, prepare to be surprised. After struggling to translate her experience there for a secular audience, Dr. Poplin has ended by translating her readers into Mother Teresa’s own unfamiliar, spiritual dimension. Watch out–you will not be able to keep from meditating.” — –C. John Sommerville, author of The Decline of the Secular University

“In this poignant, elegant, humble memoir, Poplin gives us far more than Mother Teresa or even another Mother Teresa story. She gives us instead the Jesus and the Christianity that operated through Mother Teresa. Poplin’s experience of finding Calcutta irrevocably changed her soul. It will change yours as well.” — –Phyllis Tickle, former religion editor, Publishers Weekly, and compiler of The Divine Hours

“Mary Poplin seeks to integrate her experience with Mother Teresa into her work and life and to come together with others who hunger and thirst. This book can be a platform to gather those of us so disposed so that the flame is not lost and will continue to produce abundant fruit, fruits of eternal life.” — –Father Angelo Devananda Scolozzi, U.F.W., Centro de Espiritualidad Madre Teresa, Chihuahua, Mexico

“Mary Poplin takes us on a pilgrimage toward clarity about who we are and what our life amounts to. The pilgrimage is simultaneously through Calcutta and through the heart of the ’sophisticated’ dynamics of university life in America. As it proceeds we gain a better understanding of the social forces that govern the university in the name of intellect–but falsely so. It will be of special help to those engaged in academic life, at whatever level. They will find here a guide who has been grasped by God and enabled to see that life and the surrounding cultural world for what they really are, and what under God they could be.” — –Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, University of Southern California, and author of The Divine Conspiracy and Hearing God

Not everyone can go to Calcutta (now renamed Kolkata). But all of us can find our own place of service. Come let us find our Calcutta.