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Showing posts from December, 2015

AS I STAND NEAR THE NEW-YEAR DOOR

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Pic.: Shankar R
As I approach the threshold of New Year, I, get this feeling, that I am approaching God’s altar holding an offering in my hand. And, all of a sudden, the words of Jesus Christ come back to challenge me… Yes, all afresh:
“If you are presenting your offering at the altar, and, there, remember that your brother has something against you,leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering…”
Do I have a ‘brother’ who has something against me?
Do I have a ‘brother’ against whom I have something?
It has been a mystery to me as to why Jesus asked me to go back and make peace with a brother who has something against me. Why didn’t He say, “If you have a brother against whom you have something”?
I think it is relatively easier to go back to that brother against whom I hold a grudge. All that I need to do to go back is: realize what I am holding… have a true intention to make peace with my brother… and go back…

ONE EXTRA DAY IN THE NEW YEAR? GRAB IT WITH BOTH HANDS

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Pic.: Nicole Gubin The thought that 2016 – the so-called New Year – would be a ‘leap year’ hadn’t crossed my mind, till a young-man reminded me of it at a function, two days ago. This man told me, that he was trying to go abroad for better prospects; but, he was unwilling to do so in 2016 as it would be a leap year. “I am told, that a leap year is not good for a major decision,” he said with conviction.
“Do you believe in that theory?” I asked the young-man, almost amused.
“Yes, I do,” came the answer, “I prefer to be a little superstitious when it comes to some things in life.”
Well, I preferred to change the topic!
2015 is still not over. The flood-waters in Chennai haven’t fully gone back, yet. Nobody expected 2015 would be so bad for Chennai and its beautiful people… Earthquake shattered Nepal in 2015. Nobody expected that would happen, too, in 2015 for such peace-loving people. Syria, France, Greece were battered in 2015. Gang-rapes and gang-wars were very much rampant in 2015. Weddin…

TALENTS, TOO, COME TO US WITH A CLAUSE ATTACHED

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Pic.: Dilip V.
If you think, there is a dearth of talent around us, you are wrong. There is talent galore… Loads and loads of it. There is dearth of discipline… Self-discipline.
When I was in eleventh standard, we had a wonderful teacher who taught us the Language, Kannada.  His name was Shri. Padakanayya. One day, while discussing a poem, he made a very profound statement. He said, “God gives each one of us a great strength (read it as Gift or Talent); but, He holds back ‘something’ from us so that we remain humble, grateful and deserving.”
I was barely a teenager, then. Still, I could grasp the depth of our teacher’s words. What God holds back, becomes our weakness… Our lack of self-discipline. He expects us to work on it before we can encash our talents.
Talents and gifts are God-given, no doubt. God is all loving and merciful, no doubt. But, He isn’t a fool to ruin us by placing precious pearls in our hands. If man knows what happens if pearls are placed before monkeys, doesn’t God k…

GRACE BEFORE MEALS

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Pic.: Shankar R.
Apart from Christmas and New-year, this entire month – particularly the last two weeks of the month – has been a heavily-loaded season of weddings and other social events like First Holy Communion, birthdays, anniversaries and re-unions. I had been attending, almost, one in the afternoon and one at night, yes, practically, for last full week!
Yesterday was a Sunday. In the afternoon, I attended the First Holly Communion celebrations of Alisha, my niece. At night, I had another niece Janice’s wedding reception to attend. A celebration is a celebration… It has to be grand, lavish. But, imagine my dilemma… There is a limit how much I can eat and digest. The hosts want me to feast on what has been so lovingly and generously arranged by them. They are delighted to see me indulge in it. But, how can I do so, at noon and night, day after day, for, almost, a week?
Yes, that has been my dilemma. At some places, I just skipped the food… Just offered my wishes and returned… At some…

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

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Pic.: Nicole Gubin
Last night, the little children and their mothers celebrated Christmas tree function. I was the only Christian amongst them, and was there as the Hon Chairman of our Society. Everything was planned and executed by the children and their mothers… They call it ‘the Christmas Spirit’…. Yes, I could feel that, breathe that and even touch that in the cold air…
What is this Christmas Spirit? Is it ‘Giving’… ‘Reaching out’… ‘Touching someone’s heart’… ‘Giving a pleasant surprise?’…
I think, it is all of these… For, they all come from that amazing space in our hearts – called ‘Giving’.
We do not need to own much to give… and we do not need much. Giving is being spiritual, even godly…
Kahlil Gibran’s famous words on ‘Giving and Receiving’ (from his book ‘The Prophet) have been my favorite. Here I share them with you…

Then said a rich man, "Speak to us of Giving."
      And he answered:
      You give but little when you give of your possessions.
      It is when you giv…

AMAR, AKBAR AND ANTHONY IS BACK

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Pic.: Natrajan Ramsubramani


As I write this Post, I can hear continuous devotional songs. Just outside our window, there is a temple dedicated to Datta Guruji. They were cleaning and decorating it for a week almost. Sharp at 12 in the night, we heard crackers cheering the Guru’s jaynthi… the soft devotional songs began to be played right before the dawn… They are so soft and pleasant!
In the night yesterday, I, also, saw a procession on the occasion of Eid-e-Milad… Prophet Mohammad’s birthday…
And, here, inside our housing complex, we have lit up the whole complex with bright stars, lanterns, Christmas tree and the crib. Tomorrow, the children and the ladies will be celebrating Christmas… Out of the total 140 flats in our complex, hardly five of us are Christians, another five are Muslims, four are Sikhs… and the rest – 126 of us – are Hindus!
Milind, one of our residents, shared on our society’s Whatsapp group, last night: “Amar, Akbar and Anthony is back”…
“It is time,” I smiled…

The be…

A GREAT VOICE... WHAT IS THAT?

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Pic.: Nicole Gubin
One doesn’t need a great voice to be a great singer, these days. There are highly sophisticated devices in the state-of-the-art studios around, to fix that. Similarly, these days, one doesn’t need a great creative-eye to be a great photographer. The Photoshop is there to fix that!
Well, the up-side of the story is: the music, songs and pictures can come out fast and effortlessly. Even at an extremely low cost. But, the flip-side is: the singers thrive without possessing great voice, the musicians thrive without possessing mastery over their instruments… and, the photographers thrive without possessing the creative eye…
And, in the end, everything and anything goes!
“Years and years of riaz!” “Fourteen years of learning violin or tabla”… Do you get to hear such statements, now a days? Things are to be done fast these days; they need to be done with less fuss…
That’s how the music and songs are recorded today in studios… Every musician and every singer can go there and do…

THE EVERYDAY CHRISTMAS

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Pic.: Nicole Gubin
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Roy L. Smith
“Happy Christmas to you,” a friend of mine wished me today, “in advance.”
“Right in time, not in advance,” I said spontaneously to my friend, “Thank-you so much and wish you the same.”
My friend, though was puzzled a bit on my unusual response, “seemed to have gotten the meaning quickly.”
Why do we wait for the Christmas to come on 25th December? Why do we wait to celebrate… attend the midnight-mass wearing our X’Mas best? Why can’t this day be a Christmas day? Why can’t this day be a day of Christmas-mass and celebration? Why can’t every star in the sky be the star of Bethlehem? Why can’t the sweets and wine, the hugs and kisses… why can’t the jingle-bells, silver-snow and reindeers … the Santa, yes, why can’t all of these be the part of my daily life?
Why don’t I feel the presence of baby Jesus every day?
Why should sweets, cakes and wine be prepared and preserved only for the 25th?
Am I …

WHEN I SEE MYSELF REACTING

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Pic.: Amrita Jeurkar
When I see myself reacting, I feel very disturbed…  No matter how much I try justifying from outside, I know how it feels from inside!
Reacting comes from my loss of self-control. Which means, someone else is controlling me… my actions, my words, my behavior. And, to see someone else manipulating me, like a toy, is not a pleasant experience to live by…
Slowing down helps… Consciously slowing down. When I consciously stand aside and allow another person’s comments to ‘be’… Just allow them to ‘be’… without attaching any meaning to them, without interpreting them, magnifying them… read through them… making a dramatic story out of what is being said… Yes, by not allowing someone’s words assume that epic proportion… by keeping my two feet firmly planted on the ground and my head firmly planted on my shoulders… a lot can be achieved in terms of my mental hygiene…
Other people make their own choices. No matter how desperately I try to change them, prevail upon them… it is, f…

THE HUNGER OF HEART IS STRONGER THAN THE HUNGER OF STOMACH

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Pic.: Pradeep Nanda I have written about him many times before.
His name is Buzzo, and he has been living in this colony (where I have my classes) with his wife, Sony, right since his birth.  His mother is no more… and, his siblings - more than half-a-dozen of them – too, live here no more. He survived, essentially, due to the exceptional love and care showered upon him by the Kapoor family which lives in my building. Vinay and Devika, the Kapoor children, are, now, in their twenties. When Buzzo was a baby, they would fondle him so much, that, even today – almost, after ten years - he is so loyal to them… To believe the magnitude and depth of Buzzo’s loyalty to Kapoors, you must see it.  He can sense the presence of any member of Kapoor family from miles afar, literally… He would leave everything else, go near them, and bask in their affection…
The affection is so important to Buzzo… so much more than the food he needs! And, this morning, he made me strikingly aware of this simple fact…
B…
THE WILD, WAYSIDE FLOWERS
There is, always, something extra-ordinary in the wild, wayside flowers...