Posts Tagged ‘love’

A Centre That Cannot Fall Apart!


On the one hand you’ve the pseudo-entertainers stoking the fire of baseless ideologies in a society whose very fabric is being ripped apart. The last remaining threads of values can barely hold the weight of what’s happening in and around it. The value of empathy, the value of purity, the value of love, the institution of family, the importance of God – they’re all disappearing like melting crayons, leaving in its wake abstract puddles of colour.  And people are busy lapping it up like the post-Renaissance man did surrealism or Dadaism, cubism or abstract art, none of which anyone understood.  With no ideals to fight for and no pressing needs in life, we see young men and women give their own meaning to what has lost its inherent meaning.

The visual media is riding on this confusion by promoting voyeuristic, self-effacing, consumerist ideas to a generation which thinks it is feeding on organic food while the very genetic make-up of what they eat has been altered.  This visual media that penetrates the unguarded minds of millions spews forth the degenerate waste of wicked human imaginations. Almost everything from alternate reality games to movies border on pornography. Well, man’s imagination has been attacked and conquered through the power of the visual, so the sewage of evil is now attacking the intellect and through it the will of man.  The lust of the eyes has been served through the media. The lust of the flesh is currently being served and it is fast seeping into our societies.

Homosexuality.  Live-in relationships.  Sex the moment you attain puberty. Extra-marital affairs.  You say every society has had them throughout history?  Yes, but back then there was the accompanying sense of shame. There were prohibiting laws. There was the voice telling them it is wrong, if not by the force of culture, then their own consciences.  But do you know what is happening now?  These choices are being projected as the individual’s own choice and therefore as being right. There is no source to point fingers at. That’s the power of evil. It has no face. It assumes the face of the one who accepts it. People are placed on pedestals with their bodies symbolizing the ultimate source of pleasure. Is it really the ultimate source of pleasure? Is that all there is to life?  Is there anyone who is ready to think through this confusion and find answers? This is a generation which does not know what to stand up for or what not to stand up for. With no one to question and no answers given to valid questions, the society as we knew it is tumbling.  Who can stop this cascading of evil into our midst?

On the other hand now, you have the God-lovers who are enthusiastic about proving to the world that there is a God while their lives are blasting out a different message. It’s the Christian who carries the name of Christ, who is doing more damage to the watching world by living out a poor testimony.  They force the rest of the world to say again and again that a person without God lives a more moral life than one who imagines he knows God. These so called Christians nations and its teeming millions walk around like they won a lottery ticket to engage in bigotry.  Pathetic ? Yes.  Do you know why? Because they don’t believe in what they say they believe.

Christians are called to be the sons of God. Can they even imagine the power that such a position entails? Can they imagine what they are called to? Can they begin to imagine the depth and height and heaviness of that grace and love that they are supposed to reflect?  Sadly, they love the world too much to be set apart for God or find out the answers to these questions. They have not tasted of that glory to begin to speak about it. They have only silenced the voice of God with their actions along with the rest of the world. And the society as one is moving farther and farther away from that God. Is it any wonder then that the rest of the world under the guise of atheists and rationalists are crying out against the existence of such a God?  The Christian who does not believe in what the Bible says is as lost and rudderless and immoral as the next person. In fact, the so called Christian more-so, who does not understand the value of the Cross.

In effect, people are running amok looking in all the wrong places for love, happiness and trust.  There are millions committing suicide around the world. Elsewhere there are people being killed in the name of Allah.  There are hordes of people falling prey to alcoholism and drugs. There are a million others being led astray by the promise of love through homosexuality, bisexuality and so on which is really just lusting after the flesh. People no longer depend on God to meet their longing for happiness, sustenance and protection. That need has been wiped away and in its place the self has taken the centre. But has anyone thought about what happens when the centre falls apart?

The innate ability of man to recognize between right and wrong gets lost. Faith hope and love disappears. In its place fear, lust and pride appear.

Isnt’t that the reason for the existential chaos around us?  Is there a way to restore balance to our societies? Look to the cross today.  You will find there the power of evil. Its power to break.  To cut open. To lacerate.  To completely destroy. That is what sin is doing to you and me today. But it is on that same Cross where God took upon himself the world’s sin that you will find the holiness and faithfulness of God, the power of His grace and love that calls you and me away from that sin. It is not enough to know this. You and I need to feel the brokenness and the healing with our heart.

So let’s begin by recognizing in our self the emptiness and the need for a standard against which we can measure our self i.e.,  a God who cannot fail you and me.  A centre that cannot fall apart. There is such a God who can fill the emptiness within us. There is a God who can pull us together and love us eternally. The one who gave his life for us and rose again by the power of God.  A God who will come again to judge you and me.

Who would want to find themselves on the wrong side of the power and the glory on that day? It’s time to turn from the world’s wicked ways. Let’s open the Bible and read what the Word says. And let’s watch in awe every single one of the promises come true. And every one of the warnings too.

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Born free to follow your heart!!


ONLY CAT LOVERS READ THIS. OTHERWISE YOU MIGHT DOZE OFF IN FRONT OF YOUR SYSTEM.

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My little darling when he was 7 months old

January 2012

“Dad, I want a kitten.”

Dad replies, “Yea, right.”

I go back to watching cat videos on YouTube.

The conversation repeats itself every night at 10.

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February 2012

“I really want a kitten, please.”

Dad responds, “Hmm” (More like a grunt)

The conversation repeats itself every night.

March 2012

“Kittens are so adorable. I want a kitten.”

Dad grunts, “Will you please keep quiet? I’m reading the paper.”

I sulk. This happens every night around 11. I go back to watching my cat videos especially Sparta and Loki. (Check them on YouTube people.)

ImageApril 2012

“Appa, I want a kitten.”

Dad throws daggers at me with his eyes, “Don’t ever ask that again. Keep quiet now.”

I sulk. This continues for a few days.

I relent. By May – June, I ask for a baby elephant, a rabbit, aparrot, anything to keep me occupied and irritate Dad. And by this time, I have literally watched 1000s of cat, puppy, dog and kitten videos on YouTube.

July 2012

Thursday morning. Around 10’0 Clock, I open my sleepy eyes to the pitiful cries of a kitten somewhere nearby. I turn over fighting the voice in my head urging me to go out and help. The second voice reasons, “There is no way Dad is going to let you keep a kitten. There is no way you can help the creature.” I can almost picture Dad’s BP rising.

Saturday morning. Around 10’0 Clock, my eyes flutter open to the sound of the same kitten pleading for attention. I drag myself out of bed and into the garden. There in a corner, a little white kitten is hoarsely meowing. I ask a few questions as to where it came from and being answered with a few hoarse meows, I go back into the house. I come out into the garden. I go inside. I come out. Its cry has turned into a real croak, the sounds of which resembled– mac – mac – mac.

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Picturesque!!

My mom’s hearts has melted seeing me stand and talk to the kitten. She appears with a little cup of milk. Now you, the readers, should know that I have almost succeeded in drowning out that second voice of reason in my head. I open the garden door and walk towards the kitten. It moves away.  I move towards it. It totters away into the array of plants. I follow. It runs. I follow. Finally I sprinkle a little milk towards it, almost performing a ritual of welcome. It stops for a millisecond and then it flees.  After sometime into this drama, running up, down and around the garden, it runs right up to the place I most  dreaded it to go. Under Dad’s car, somewhere into the deeper recesses of the its engine compartment.

Now a duet begins. The kitten goes Mac, I go meow. The kitten responds Mac, I cry meow. After 15 minutes of meowing, I pull out a hose and spray water under the car.  No sign of the little creature.  Again mom appears- this time, with the car keys. We open the hood to find it shivering with mischief on top of the engine.  Immediately, it jumps under, only to be stopped by its tail by mom as I watch.  I religiously hold him by the neck and take him all the way down to the backyard. I place the cup of milk in front of it. The terrified creature realizes it is milk once it has calmed down enough to allow its sense of smell to take over.  Once the milk is lapped up in under a few seconds, he resumes his song – mac – mac- mac. And it laments on, into the night.

Next day morning, a groggy-eyed and furious Dad comes out of the kitchen with a cup of water. And he tries every trick in his bag to scare the kitten away.  No one dares to stop him at the point, although, I’m already scheming. But miracle of miracles, it refuses to leave. And it continues to cry day and night – lamenting the loss of its mother and siblings. I start feeding it. Now the cries reduce to when it wants to see me. It would stop only when I appeared. So I appeared all the time. The little white kitten thus cried its way right into my heart.

Another week passes by. One day around noon Dad asks, “Where is that Mac-Mac?”

I answer with a smile, “It is right outside the kitchen, playing.”

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Posing for the camera..

Thus, a name was born – Mac Mac.

I prepare a presentation of Mac Mac and I sent it across to friends and relatives. Everybody said they loved it. But the truth rears itself in my sister’s impetuous question, “Where exactly did you find such a pathetic looking scrawny kitten? I gasp. Mac Mac was the answer to many months of pleading and wishing. It was the manifestation of my very wish. And to me, Mac was beautiful.

A special bond starts to develop between cat and cat lady. Through the weeks and months that ensued, Mac followed me around like a dog, played endlessly, and ate insatiably. It responded only to my calls and let me alone touch it.  Through hours of sickness, depression, sadness, happiness and boredom Mac stayed by my side. And seeing the change in my character – sulky to happy – Dad stopped objecting.

Fast – forward.

During this time Mac made a new friend- a beautiful yellow and brown long-haired, bushy tailed kitten from next door. He invited it home to stay. That kitten was too scared to let any humans go near it. So, from a distance, I watched the two of them play happily, without a care in the world.Image

But do you think I left it alone? No! With food, Mac’s presence and trickery I manage to pick up that kitten too – once twice, thrice. Now dad starts his old antics, trying to drive away the new cat. Sis tries her best. Mom tries her share. Me? I feed it, love it and win over its confidence. Why? Because, it was Mac’s friend and hence my friend. As the two of them grow, other litter mates and friends start to appear in our compound.  I delight myself in taking pictures of Mac and the friends, in fact, hundreds of pictures.

Fast- forward

May 2013

I leave for a distant land for a time. Mac is lost without my love. Desperately Mac turns to Mom and my sister. And he demands that love by not leaving their side. One day, my sis relents and bents down to pat Mac, only to find that she has fallen in love with him just the way I did. Only difference was that Mac had grown into a beautiful cat – lovely to see and dignified in its manner. (Until my sis revealed it to me I imagined Mac to be a girl but as it turned out, Mac was male – a good looking tom cat and the envy of many other male cats.) Why was he envied? He got free food, had a girl friend (the brown cat was a female as luck would have it) and was a WEAKLING who did not know how to fight back. (I guess he never learnt, having lost its mother at a young age and not having litter mates.)

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Enjoying each other’s company

I returned home to find the brown kitten (a cat now) pregnant and screeching all the time for food. I then named her Keet (meaning- to screech). Around this time Mac was continuously being attacked by other male cats in the area but he was in love with Keet as much then as he ever was. They play. lick, court and mate?? (I don’t know). Anyway, the day comes when, to Dad’s ultimate horror, Keet gives birth to two tiny little critters right outside our kitchen door.

The story will continue in my next post. Stay tuned.

The girl from music school.


Photo0737Small gestures, random smiles, laughing together, loving each other, caring without demands…  Everybody dreams of that perfect relationship with the significant other. But to sustain it and keep it going over the years is nothing short of a true miracle. Over the years more can change than just the shape you initially were in ( I mean both physically and emotionally) but to be able to accommodate your love into the very soul of the other being is real love.

I recently had the good fortune to watch my aunt, a dedicated housewife, going about her business. Life had dealt hard blows along the way. There had been scary accidents. There had been health problems. The kids had grown ‘up and into’ their own worlds. But as I have come to realize presently, the mother’s love only grows taller as the years roll by. No matter how loud the screams or shouts got, there was always (and only) room for wonderful love.

Getting up in the wee hours of the morning to prepare for a busy day of guests, husbands, relatives, sons was unimaginable to me until I saw her at it( I mean I guessed it, since I don’t wake up that early). Having perfected the art of cooking (the cleaning and the cutting were bonuses I had never thought of before) a number of dishes for the afternoon meal in a matter of few hours before cleaning up for breakfast, making sure that everything looked as sparkling as before, even wiping the floor a zillionth time and then waiting patiently for each member to come and have their breakfast of choice; the last one in being me for a glass of juice when lunch is already simmering on the stove..  ah … if ever there was a wonder woman, it was her (and included without exception, all the others out there who have dedicated their lives to building beautiful families).

In between and around these chores, she would put out the clothes for washing, clean any other part of the house that needed cleaning and continually dish out something to eat for anyone sitting around. It didn’t end there. She could go on a shopping spree which would last hours (I couldn’t keep up myself), come back with heavy legs and still get up and continue the music the next day. Of course, her garden of flowers in the hot Arabian desert climate is another point to be noted. She is a wonder woman also because, through all this, she could talk of a million things -past, present and future and keep you glued to the kitchen chair for hours together. I say glued to the chair because she did not believe in helping hands (and so I did not have to help- no need to consider this heartless). I had in the short time I spent with her,  learned of her favourite plate’s origin and life story and of the marks on her kitchen floor, each of them carrying the history of a dropped utensil or even a coconut by a servant who was long gone.  Every-thing in that kitchen told a story.

I digress from my main point- the love that she shared with her husband, the continuation of a love story that began 2 decades ago. To him “she was still the girl from music college; that beautiful girl who sang like a nightingale.”(And yes, she is beautiful- present continuous). It was a joy to hear him tell her that he will not let her go before his time and mean it too. The amazing part was that when they sang together (with karaoke and surround systems now) and I being the sole audience, there was always the emotions which rang true which no technology could synthesize.  It becomes then for that moment their song, their life.  And I clapped to this.

But beyond the visible, the invisible love was more radiant.  The short-comings which seems unbearable to an outsider could be borne so naturally, each in its own turn, only because of the love which they bore in their hearts. The thing hated did not make the person any less valuable.  In fact, it showed how you could cut a channel right around hate and let love flow through it. Love and prayer.  It is so true that a praying family stays together. Not just in my life, but in many families, I have seen this come true and more so in this one.

That they could call each other every so often even if it is just to hear the sound of each other’s voice and be assured of the love that waited them when they returned home – office, shopping or wherever it was.  In their hearts they are still so young.  Of course, as the years go by it becomes a more serious and independent dependence (which also I commend). But while they were still young in their hearts, they could make melody together. Raise amazing kids.  Weave friendships which would not be severed so easily. Throw memorable parties.  And through it all sing to each other the very love that had brought them together and held them close all these years. Let that love surround and comfort them when life takes unexpected turns and may they grow old together.

This post is dedicated to my uncle and aunt  who put me up at their place for a week and with whom i enjoyed every moment. I kept my promise 😛 but i wish i had taken pictures of you both.

The Violinist


Lenna walked limply down the side steps. She paused and looked around. There was a small space there which her mother referred to as their garden. Some orange marigolds hung their heads from a few stalks across from where she stood. There were weeds all over the place and a few wild creepers climbed over the high wall which surrounded the little space on all three sides. Lenna felt an unfamiliar suffocation as she frantically looked around. Her face was contorted in pain. She needed air! Quickly, she suppressed her emotions and walked over to the marigolds. Absent- mindedly she plucked one and stared at the bright orange. It had started to fade at the edges as though someone had smudged the colour there. She felt nauseous and she tossed the flower away. Wandering thoughts came bobbing up for air in her head. Why did life deal unfairly with her? Had she lost forever what she most loved? She had fought with all her will against this decision made by her family. Did they not believe in her purpose?

As tears came rushing she made another effort of her will to control the tears. What was the use when there was no one to listen to her pain? Submerging into a world within herself would take away a little of the pain, she thought. She sat down on a patch of grass and closed her eyes. Faces and colours appeared in a dissolve pattern before her closed eyes. She saw the waves swirling in white foam before crashing onto the shore. She saw hills that she had climbed and heard the familiar sound of her dog Ror barking. Had he come to comfort her? But she didn’t move. She kept delving deeper into her self, bringing up pictures and places and animals and people she had once found meaning in. But she shut off the one thing which mattered most to her.

Quite some time passed. The evening sunlight on her face woke her from her trance and she stood up. She glanced around, sighed and made her way back. Her frame was bent as the burden of life hung over her. A desperate prayer came to her lips. “Lord.” She stopped herself. She no longer knew how to ask. She had exhausted all means of asking, trying in every way she could possibly imagine. She walked back into the house to hear the nagging voice of her one parent, who tried to take control of the chaos which surrounded them. She stood frozen in the doorway. There was no solace anywhere. And she slung down on to the threshold.

Day after day, she came back to that patch of grass in the garden. She sat down there and thought about the life she had left behind. Every day she made an effort to forget a little part of her, so that today, her mind could re-call only a few things which surrounded her. Immediate things like finishing some homework, washing some dishes, and some change she saved for her daily bus fare, which she held in her closed fist. She heard her mother call for her. Her mother loved to talk. She was an expressive woman who had lost all her flair and finesse and had become a mess. But Lenna felt strangely unrelated to her. Not only to her, but to all who came near her, she became hostile. She wanted distance. She wanted space. She needed only herself.

As she sat in the hot sun she heard muffled steps. She turned away from the direction of her house but the sound came nearer and then suddenly stopped. Lenna heard a scraping sound and then heavy breathing. Her eyes fluttered open. There was no one around. Was she imagining? She breathed in calmly.

A high strain of a bow against the string made her gasp. What was that sound? As though from heaven, a few notes and then a string of pearly notes wafted across to her. Was she in her senses? Lenna felt numb and could not move. Maybe she was dreaming. The notes were playing havoc with her senses and she could feel her fingers move by itself. But as quickly as the music started it ended. She did not hear the rest of the sounds of the chair scraping on the grass or muffled breathing. She was lost in her own world and she awoke from sleep when the felt the dew on the grass by late evening. She hurried inside wondering what had happened.

The next day, as she sat there the same thing happened. She heard music which took her away from her world of pain. The third day, she struggled to keep enough composure to walk around and find the source of the music. It was coming from a house or two across the garden wall, she guessed. But by the time she walked out and down the road, the musical spree was over. Besides, the sound was not coming from the side of the houses facing the roads. It was coming from the courtyards. But there were so many blocks of houses huddled together and separated by alleys she did not know which one contained the heavenly music. She was too frustrated to talk to people or ask around and she headed back home.

As days passed, she immersed herself in the evening sonata, never really wanting to break the joy she felt as the music washed over her. Her heart rose with the beats and she felt her steps move into the house. She couldn’t understand nor cared as long as the music played on.

Soon she was in her room, bending down to pick up the violin case she had stashed away into the space above her cupboard. Dust had settled on the hard cover. Nevertheless, she held it like she would a precious treasure. And as she turned, her face caught the twinkle in her father’s eye in the picture she had leaned on her study table. She quickly walked out, dusted off the cover and picked up her instrument. Tuning in so that she would not disturb the player, she slowly joined into the soft melody of “Ode to Joy’.

The stranger beyond the wall paused just a second only to resume his music once again. And a duet ensued, when the notes of the song ‘Rebel Heart’ drifted into the golden sunset. As it came to a stop, the violin slid from her hand and the months of tension broke within her and Lenna burst into tears.  Everyday, she came at the appointed time to play with her unknown companion. Life started to show shades of colours again.

One day, she came out and waited for her companion to start but no music began. Impatiently she started to play, not wanting to miss the one thread which had saved her drowning spirit. No one accompanied her. All she heard was a rasping cough which irritated her. The next day and the following, Lenna waited punctually for her companion and played by herself for hours on end when she did not get a response. Her mother always watched her silently from the window, feeling her pain but never able to reach out to her.

Lenna became more and more immersed in her own evening music but deep within her she missed the solace of the stranger’s music and presence. So finally, she gained enough courage to go in search of the house. It was a melancholy neighborhood. Serious people walked about and no one seemed to care about her presence there. One man condescendingly told her to go down the street and turn to the right. This would bring her to the violinist’s house. Hesitating, but determined she walked to the house and entered the gate. It was more run down and dilapidated and an eerie silence hung about the place. She went to the door and knocked. A man dressed in an attendant’s dress opened the door for her. Upon questioning, she was led to a small bedroom. It smelled of dampness and stale food. There on the bed lay a wizened old man. He was fidgeting on the bed and threw a rough glance at her before letting his gaze wander around the room. Gingerly, she walked to his side and asked,

“Are u a violinist?”

He did not answer but kept looking around. Lenna looked at the attendant for help and he nodded. She touched his withered old hand and asked again,

“Do you play the violin everyday?”

He did not answer. Anger began to build up within her. Why did she waste her time here? As she got up to go, the attendant brought a violin case to the old man’s side.

At once, his eyes lighted up and he extended his hand. But his shaking hands could not hold the violin case. Tears sprang up in Lenna’s eyes and she turned to leave. She thought to herself, ‘I might be in the wrong house. There just might be someone else.’

Just not ready to give up, she sat back down and took the violin from the attendant’s hand. As she opened the case, she saw the most beautiful Stradivarius violin she had ever set eyes on. Carefully she picked it up and began to play the notes of her favourite song. As the music rose to a crescendo, the old man lifted a hand to hers to stop her. She put down the violin and looked at him. Tears were flowing from his eyes. He rasped rather than talk.

“I think the circle –  is complete. My daughter used –  to play like yu. I am gifting this violin to yu. Yu ers is not good enough for yu.”

Lenna was too stunned to talk. After a few moments she replied,

‘My father played like you before he died.”

She paused to control her sobs.

“His Stradivarius was crushed next to him, in the accident. He was my favourite violinist and he played like you.”

She went on and on. She did not care if the old man was listening to her but she had to tell everything she had been holding up inside her. And when she stopped finally, she saw that the old man had slept. She got up slowly so as to not disturb him and walked out. Holding the violin to her chest she sat outside in the garden for sometime and then started playing into the night. Somewhere in the early hours of the morning, the old man quietly slipped into a deep slumber never to wake again. But for Lenna life had just begun anew.

The blessing called – My Grandfather


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Eventhough those of us left behind feel a big vacuum where Grandpa once was, and miss his presence every moment, I am assured that he is happy in heaven because Precious in the eyes of God is the death of his saints. God satisfied him with long life and called him home when it was the right time.

He was a wonderful person-always soft-spoken, kind, serving and forgiving. Though he had flaws like everyone they were never to hurt or harm others. He lived a balanced life giving importance to practical living as well as spiritual life. He was always interested in other’s welfare and made it a point to visit them and when he was confined to home, he always kept in touch with friends and relatives through phone (endless were the calls which would stretch for hours and I so miss the sight of him walking slowly to the phone and picking it up and occasionally asking us to keep quiet in his very style) – he even found jobs and arranged marriages for many relatives.Going back some 20 years I remember how he used to take us grandchildren for Sunday school classes and on early morning walks to church in Zionhall, Vacation Bible classes, Child Evangelism camps, music classes and also my favourite memory of when he walked us to school and back. He not only took us to these places but also waited patiently for us till the classes got over at some of these places.The familiar strains of a devotional song come to my mind which he sang to put us to sleep. As a Sunday school teacher he engaged us little ones’ attention by showing us maps of the places mentioned in the Bible and thereby linking our knowledge of the Bible and our interest. I can so vividly remember one year when I was his sole student in our scarcely populated Sunday class and we plowed through the chapters patiently.Even more fondly I remember his hobby of keeping hens and how I used to trail behind him to watch him collect the eggs and feed the hens. But I only had the chance to hear stories about his pet goats and I feel I would have loved to look after them with him.

From our younger days I remember how he was always busy making something or other and my favourite memory is the ball he used to make for me from the coconut leaves and also the very favourite hand-held fans. He also loved to do scrap booking and he was always the first to encourage our artistic talents. He so loved my oil paintings and wanted me to do them for the church.

He taught me (and us) games like chess, draughts, checkers and even a star game which he introduced to all of us. I remember how even last year at age 92, he was able to beat me at draughts. He was always asking one of us children to play indoor games with him. He used to play Sudoku till his very last days of health.

Grandpa was most disciplined in his personal life. Wise in all his dealings, I remember him as a good steward of all that God gave him. He strictly set apart time everyday to read the Bible and devotionals early in the morning and I always watched him do that, with admiration. He also used to pray for everyone who had met him at least once. And now I long for that kind of commitment and dedication.

Grandpa loved food. I remember how he enjoyed his every meal till the last when his body could no longer take it, and there was not one time that he sat at the dining table when he forgot to give thanks to his Provider before eating. I remind myself every time I suffer from eating disorders to remember my 93 yr old grandfather enjoying his food with gratefulness.

I remember now how miraculous his recovery was, from his near terminal illness, being admitted in the hospital for 2 and half months. But with the prayers of his innumerable friends , loved ones and acquaintances, and his own will to come back, he was back at home and as smart as ever except that he was confined to bed. How he used to enjoy home-made delicacies even then !!

He was a man so determined in all that he set out to achieve that he could carry out his plans as and when God enabled him. I love to term him as a scholar because he loved to read and collect knowledge ranging from politics and social sciences to science and the medical field and he loved to engage those who were interested in those fields in conversation.

The number of Christian magazines he read was remarkable. And he was always upto date on the latest news. Even on those days when he was bed-ridden, he used to ask about the latest happenings especially those which concerned family members. All who knew him admired his scholarship and many are the notes and thoughts he has scribbled on papers and books. He was always interested in learning new things and I believe he was always young at heart wanting to master the latest technologies and gadgets, more than the younger generations.

He hoped and dreamed for us grandchildren more than we did for ourselves. He always had suggestions on how we could be better in our respective fields. He took interest in our works and individual subjects by reading about it and encouraging us to take up good positions. He gave all of us advices from his experience, told us about his life choices and how he gave first preference to God. Many anecdotes from his past – his spiritual life, habits, office life, hobbies – were always rich and amusing to me.  I have heard stories from him about the independence days when Gandhiji and Indira Gandhi visited south Kerala. I have heard stories of his wading through marshy paddy fields to school and also how he used to cycle 30kms daily to work or shops and come back and do a bit of farming too. Till the end his well-built body was strong and told of the hard work of those days of sweat and toil.

Looking back at all this, I see how God blessed him thrice with all that he had wished – good health, wisdom, children and grandchildren and an extraordinary memory till his very last breath. When I see the name Abraham I think, God honoured him because he gave first place to God and he ran his race faithfully without missing a beat. He feared God and was wondrous of his love that he lived the gift of life thankfully to the very end. His passion for life was rooted in God and his steadfast faith and fulfilling life saw him safe to heaven as peacefully as he had wished to go. He did his part in ushering in the Kingdom of God, for a long ninety three years- a prayer he had prayed and lived. And today it is the faith of our grandparents which has been passed on to us – to do our part in the Kingdom of God. And the good memories he has left us, is one transcending the boundaries of time and life.

Unfading village scenes from ‘yesteryears’


-Memories of a better life

A quick weekend at my mother’s native village had me longing again for the life once lived by the inhabitants of that beautiful house. Beautiful ‘sunful’ mornings, and time spent roaming about the abundance of fruit trees, taking a pick of seasonal fruits from among them; afternoons spent sucking ripe mangoes, alternating it with raw ones; enjoying the companionship of cows, hens, ducks and other animals, their revenue itself remaining meager compared with the silent joy these loving animals gave. Of course the dogs were always part of the family and they still are for the old house keeper who remains alone in that house. I also remember a cat which ventured to make our ‘Palasseri’ home its own when I spent summer there in 1995.

I captured a few snaps to record the shadow of ‘once upon a time’ so that I could still associate the memories of my childhood – which in itself was a shadow of my mother’s childhood there.

Here are the snaps with a few comments:

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The outhouse and the well taken in the early morning rays of the sun

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The same captured just before twilight – more lighted and brighter like my spirit when it lands on this soil.

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Many summer rendez-vous have been spent with cousins, uncles, aunts or just grandma, papa, mama and my sister, sitting on this veranda, swinging like a monkey on those pillars and even stretching out in the L shaped corner for a quick nap – still love doing that !!

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The cowshed can be seen in the background where the milkman used to come and collectMilk. Now all that remains is the shed, leaving a tad of the taste of fresh, thick milk in my mouth and scenes of frolicking calves on the canvas of my mind. I remember feeding banana peels to some of the cows which I used to name after my sisters and cousins (a long-kept secret shhhh!! )

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Standing tall – I’ve spend many hours gazing at the chimney smoke and even getting doubts in my toddler mind on how chimneys worked. A sooty old chimney against which the freshness of the mangoes stand out – I love this shot.

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Dew drops on the leaves, just after dawn – it’s a sight which will captivate any mind dirtied by the pollution of modern cities.

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Droplets on yam leaves – they are THE best but the beauty is hardly seen in the pic taken on a low pixel mobile camera.

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Ah the indigenous genius fruits of Kerala. Any mallu (keralite) would love this sight. Note it that I only love the sight!

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This was a glorious sight too… so many upcoming (downfall-ing) promises of tasty meals and desserts and stomach pains! Oh, by the way, my mother recollected some of her halcyon days spend studying under the cool shades of these trees. No wonder she went on to be an engineer. I have an excuse to tell her that I was never so comfortable with the fan in my room.

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After taking a round of the one acre land I came back on the other side of the cow shed. I have stood here and watched dung fall out – fresh from the holes as it was washed down to be collected in the trench and later made into dung cakes (for floors n walls –FIY gen X) and also used as fertilizers. One thing which amused me enough to look into the dung trench were the hens which used to sit on top of the dry dung on one side, to hatch its little eggs. Maybe it used to know instinctively that it was safe from my curious pokes down in the dung hole.

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A heritage monument – a wooden hen house used to be on top through which the hens could potty down into this hole. I have spent many summer afternoons trying to teach a cock to sit down and not stand pulling at its tether. I used to be furious that it disobeyed me so I would literally press them down and make them stay that way with my hand. I never knew that it was only the force from my hand which kept them down. Cruel me!  But I loved those clucking, colourful, spotted and speckled hens and I ran behind them as they tried to evade me as well as approach to the sounds of ba ba ba baa kozhi baa – sounds which promised them mouthfuls of tasty, crispy grains some of which I myself stole to taste. I didn’t share their joy at the taste though!

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This sight on Saturday morning brought tears to my eyes because words cannot express the number of tasty meals this comfy nook has prepared for me and my family. As sooty and old as it seems, it still fries the best “karimeens” (pearl spot fry) and makes the best meals a mouth could ever taste.  These stone stoves with firewood collected from the land behind, crackling cheerfully can give you hunger pangs and other worldly tastes one can never forget.

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A closer look at the rice boiling over- getting ready for the afternoon meal.

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The store-room from time immemorial, even the termites eating into the threshold seem to be doing a slow job relishing even the taste of the centuries’ old wood. This place was out of bounds to mischievous children like me, begging for extra mangoes and sweet jackfruit- jaggery desserts. 

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This was where the vessels with fresh fried foods were kept so that the ants nor us reached them before the appointed time.

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As old as it is, it is still the strongest roof in Kerala-dom and the light filtering through a misplaced tile could easily be corrected with a little re-arrangement. Albeit, it be done before rainy season or the kitchen would be flooded. But isn’t the sun rays coming through a pretty sight?

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She is the talkative keeper of our beloved “Palasseri” house. Doesn’t she just fit in with the scene?

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She is amused that I should take so many pictures. Her condescending look showered on me!

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Fresh white dough being swung into swirly white noodle strings, for my morning breakfast.

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On the way to becoming sweet soft Idiyappams. I was hungry just seeing the sights of noodle strings, fresh grated coconut and sugar.

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These white flowers have always stood sentinel on either side of the gate. I never remember a time spent there when these white flowers were not in bloom. They represent the purity of the memories I associate with “Palasseri” house.

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My mother says one of these can feed five poor families. Wow!! Imagine tht…. Maybe I should start a jackfruit farm and feed the poor? (*Blink*)

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Kanna – smart doggy , keeping watch. He is a fussy eater and his ribs can be counted out but he has a powerful bark which can scare anyone away.

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Vellu – best friend of Kanna and mine too!

He eats jackfruits papayas mangoes and 2 kilos + of beef . He took some time to come to me but once with me, he didn’t want to leave.  You know, he even growled at me when I imitated his panting (I got scared 😛 )

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Waiting faithfully for his share of mangoes. He is a plump one- this one.

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“Don’t come in or leave without my permission. This be my territory! “

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Sigh! This little mango tree represents the evergreen memories I have of this place. They are etched deep into the recesses of my mind where a few cobwebs can climb in which can nevertheless be wiped away by the love captured within the frames of these pictures.

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