Thursday, February 19, 2015

Post Valentines day Special

( a delayed post - better late than never)
I never thought I will come back to you all with yet another post in a day.  Almost like a blog marathon of sorts.  That reminds me I should try one.  That’s one I am going to add in my “To-do-before-I-die” lists.
I had planned and scheduled to meet my bosom friend Petula on Valentines day. It didn’t happen – I couldn’t make it. Mea culpa – didn’t plan my day well and the letting go part that I was mentioning in the earlier post, was a bit heavy on me.  Anyways, we planned it for the next day and got my son to accompany me, which was real good.
So, the Sunday turned out to be a blockbuster Sunday in more than one way.  We cut the valentine cake ( Petula and me) with our brats around clicking photographs and making us laugh with all their comments.  The children are meeting each other after a couple of years, and they hit it off like an house on fire. BTW, Petula, my friend is a mother to a lovely daughter  and 2 naughty boys. The boys ( brats)  were just out of control. Teaching each other stuff that annoyed the mothers and recollecting the nasty tricks they learnt earlier and what not.  Rosann, the daughter was so well behaved.  She always was.
Notice all of us in Blue?  Blue is the colour of Mother Mary of Lourdes and We wore it intentionally!
I realized it was the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, the church that Petula  belongs to and she wanted me to stay back.  I have attended the church feasts and I am not a great fan of them, ( except in kerala, they are real good) here in chennai they are generally crowded,  too gaudy and definitely not my cup of tea.
I was hesitating until she said I am animating the rosary and I will be doing the introduction for the feast.  Like she told me, Vincy I will be on stage and there was no turning back – I knew she wanted me there.
The church feast normally happens in the church grounds and so I was braced for a dusty evening – only to be proven wrong.  The feast was happening in Railway stadium in Perambur and can you believe there were more than 20,000 people, a Bishop, 40+ priests, 50+ altar boys, 100 plus flower girls all in white, School bands from atleast 3 schools and four large LED screens for the crowds to watch.  The stage itself was almost like a live show stage decorated so well.  It was all so organized that everything went on like clock work.   I was so proud of Petula, when she came on all the LED screens while giving the introduction to the Feast day. Petula had got VIP passes for us and we were in the third row from the stage ( or should I call it altar?) 
Petula doing the Introduction :-) - In the background is the Bishop who is waiting to begin the mass
The massive make-shift Altar!!! 
Infact, during the mass, in an open ground there was so much silence, that praying just happened by itself.  The English  choir was simply superb – They were almost like a rock band.  The songs like “ My God is an awesome God” got me into a trance  J  Since this was a bilingual worship, there was the regional language (Tamil) choir too and the mass itself was in both the languages.  A word about the English Choir of Perambur church – they are one of the best in the city, standing first in many competitions.  Petula herself is one of the key choir members and unlike me, sings very well.  She goes Solo during the prime time of mass on Sundays and for that, one has to be real good. I remember her singing songs like “Lady in Red” and effortlessly touching the high pitch while we were in the hostel.  Another one of my favorites that she used to sing among a lot of others is “ Everything I do, I do it for you”.  
sending up prayers in the form of helium baloons
The celebrations went on and it took us a lot of time to come out of the stadium – I reached home like Cinderella, just before the clock struck twelve.  ( What a comparison!! – oh Vanity is not my virtues definitely) thankfully I had both my shoes on  ha ha ha – You know what? that is another first of its kind in my driving.  Driving so late and I also used GPS for the route.  I wasn’t sure of the route to her house, though I had been there umpteen times before.

The Groupfie!!!

Valentines day Cake cutting amidst a lot of funny noises !!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines Day!!!

I personally do not believe in special days such as these, but nevertheless, since there is so much hype and ado about these “so-called-Special” days, I was giving it a thought and what this day signifies to me.
 
Well, for a person who remembers the dates so well, ( I remember my close ones birthdays / anniversaries and special dates ) even without a diary or a planner, or the social media sites, that makes these days so impersonal.  I get hundreds of wishes on FB for my birthday, but the calls that some of my loved ones make at probably atrocious time of the day from whichever part of the world they are in, makes my days special.  Some do email / text me, and there are also those who do not even call me, but that does change the way I love them. So, to me, its not these special days coined and marketed so much by the western world that matters the most, but the actual days and incidents that one remembers so well that makes all the difference.
 
For example, I met Joe on September 8th, at a common friend’s wedding, and this was an arranged meeting. We didn’t even talk to each other.   I never miss that date to wish Joe Happy Anniversary, Anniversary of our first meeting.  Can you believe, I still have the saree that I was forced to wear for that wedding?  I have never worn it after that day, even once in the last 20 + years. I am a sentimental fool that way. So If someone asks me how long have you known a close friend, I would have the exact years that I have known that person – Oh I don’t remember the dates of every Tom, Dick and Harry, whom I meet,   I only remember these of the special ones.
 
That does not mean that I totally ignore these “advertised& marketed-special” days.  I do wish people on these days and there are loved ones who wish me too.  The first one today was from, no not hubby dear, from Anita, my friend, at an ungodly hour of 3.30 am IST, she must have just then woken up in Singapore.
 
The whole point is love need not be expressed just on one specified day, but on all occasions and in multiple ways, not just by saying “ I love you”. 
 
I was pondering over this point and thought, while I await Ramesh’s updates every single day, or when I hope that all is well with him, during  his long haul drive that he has undertaken, that I guess is love for a blog-friend.   or while worrying over Nancy who has not updated her blog for the last 9 months or so, I guess that’s also love.  Wanting to talk to Rekha so much, while I keep piling excuses of all kinds, is another form of love.  Dennu saying to me, have fun ma, I guess is love.  Joe kept calling me so many times, to check if was overdoing my weekly cleaning, today,  I guess that is love. A friend was talking to me some time back about some unfortunate events in her life, and half way through we both were crying and I guess that’s love too.  And to another friend I had to speak my mind and say the decision that she has taken to walk away from marriage, is not right ( and I seem to be the only friend against it)  - I did it out of love for that friend. 
 
Love also need not be an action or a word.  I realize the concern in someone’s voice is love.  a smile / laughter / a wink / a look / a mime / a hug  or a loved one simply being there for you,  all these are statements of love.  someone checking on you asking how your day has been, is love.  Letting go can be love too. Sometimes letting go is the best way to show love.  I did that today, and it hurts, like hell.  And I know for sure I did that out of unconditional love. So many ways in which we can love.
 
Here is a wish to you all,  may we all have enough opportunities to show our love to our dear ones and let us do it as much as we can all through the year, all through our lives. And BTW, Happy Valentines day!!
 
And beātitūdō friends.  It simply means Happiness in Latin.  ( for those who know Bible, I am preparing for my Catechism classes tomorrow, and the topic of my session happens  to be “The Beatidues” )

Sunday, February 08, 2015

I did'nt sign up for this!!!!

I was telling you in the last post here how I have signed up for being the Catechism teacher at Church.

It is now mandatory for children who are in school, in every parish to be part of the catechism classes that are organized in the church every Sunday.  The format is very structured, but in certain states like Kerala it runs so beautifully, that a Sunday Catechism is conducted  literally like regular main stream school.  The attendance is marked, every class has a teacher, there is a standard curriculum followed, recommended books, examinations and children need to clear the evaluations, to move from one class to another.  Not so well in any other states I guess.  Chennai is no better.
 
So the whole structure is a little fuzzy and for someone like me who likes being organized and formal, this is a little difficult to handle.  ( I realized I find a lot of stuff that is difficult to handle just last week, but that is fodder for another blog post, maybe)  But I am mentally prepared to manage this and I instruct  myself to fall in place with the madness around these classes when I signed up for this.
 
So today, I walk in for the Catechism class, and I get a message from the senior co-ordinator that two teachers are on leave, and hence between the remaining two of us, we have to manage.
 
And by the way, must be my age, the moment I said I am in for this as a tutor, the senior co-ordinator   at church told me that I have to handle the children coming from the higher secondary classes, and I have been handling the older children till now.  Which means my preparation for the sessions need to real good and I also realized how limited my knowledge is in the religion itself, and I am not mentioning about how much I know of the bible.  Shame on me. My father stands first in Bible Quiz held at a city level, which also includes some nuns as participants and he did that some 7 or 8 years in a row. I digress again.
 
So today while assuring the senior coordinator that I will take care, I realized that the little children, the ones who are in grades  4 and below had no teacher and so I just out of curiosity thought of handling them.
 
First of all I realized if you had to get the attention of these kids, you need to be real good and its not simple.  So I had to add a lot of drama to my sessions. Lots of movements, lot of voice modulation, swaying and headshakes, and using my hands and literally my entire body and all my lessons that I learned over a period of time, as a Learning and Development professional had to put to good use to get it, and I did.
 
As per the lesson plan I had to teach them Creation and once I had their attention, I started telling them the story of creation.   I felt like a pied piper in front of those kids.  They taught me the meaning of optimistic curiosity, pure enthusiasm and sense of wonder -  they were swaying along with me, putting out their hands and loudly emoting when I asked them questions, with eyes that opened out like a saucers when I explained how god created the various animals and living things.  Their Jaws dropped when I narrated how God created Adam from clay and breathed life into him,  and it stayed that way for a long time ( the dropped jaws, open mouthed – you should have seen how cute they looked).  When I told Adam was an unhappy man since he had no company, their brows contracted, lips drooping down and had such a sad face, that I felt no wonder God created Eve for Adam.  And this was so different from the reaction you manage to get out of the grown ups in the IT industry.
 
I was so thoroughly enjoying this and I didn’t see how 45 minutes flew past in a jiffy, leaving me wide eyed, happy, content and blessed.  Infact, I had yet another reason to thank god for, today. Among other things.
 
Now you see, this is not what I signed up for.  :-)

P.S:
Catechism classes : Classes conducted in the churches of predominantly, Roman catholic churches, to teach the principles of christian religion

Parish: A small administrative district in the catholic church typically having its own church and a priest.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Self Realizations

A caveat before we begin - the following is an unedited version of something I scribbled to be posted in my blog and was in the draft till now. It was written sometime Mid November 2014. Stumbled on it just now and posting it in the same rough and ready version.
Many psychometric tests that I have taken has revealed that I am an Introvert – hard to believe for anyone who knows me. I speak dime a dozen and am a big chatterbox. I realized I was a chronic Introvert after I started driving. I enjoy my company so much that the best thing I love doing is talking to myself while I drive and I seem to thoroughly enjoy it. There are times that I even switch off music because I find that intrusive in my conversations with self.
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Mental blocks are the biggest show stoppers I realize all over again. It took me 12 years to get to drive on my own. Today I guess I fairly manage to drive well. 8 months of driving without adding scratches to the badly beaten around car is my testimony. And to think I let my constraints in my mind to rule me for more than a decade, leaves me disgusted.
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It is not easy to let go off these mental blocks – and my life seem to be crowded with them. I was uncomfortable with music while driving. I got into that discomfort zone often and got over that. Wearing sunglasses was a discomfort while driving – have managed to get over that too. I thought I never had the-time to blog. I think this is the most hectic time of my life, a local travel, wedding of a cousin, niece receiving her religious habit, guests, work, an international travel on the cards next week and I still managed to write a post :-)
Yet another mental block busted :-)
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Been a lot on an introspective mood of late – not that am enlightened. I guess it is a grace to get answers for all you seek, and am not yet blessed with that grace. Anyways, I realized that I need to do something more for others, as my list included only stuff I do to please myself and my family. I volunteered to be the Catechism teacher at the Church, which means I need to be an hour and half extra at church every Sunday and consistently be there. prepare for the sessions, read bible and be thorough in the topics etc., All these years my excuse was I have a travelling job, and I may not be able to contribute. But what the heck, If I work a bit more towards being organized a bit, I guess I will work things out. Being a catechism teacher is not an attractive position, and someone who was impressed with my volunteering to a lackluster post, gave my name to be the Youth Representative and so that’s another position that I have taken up. I realize I could squeeze in all this into what I thought was an hectic life that I was leading. Now my introspection is on.
What more could I possibly squeeze in?

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My dad is a great inspiration for me especially for selfless service for others even at the cost of one’s own troubles. And he is pretty religious (that’s a mild term) So the catechism teacher position comes from his life.

What I realized was, the last week, I had to renew my passport which was supposed to expire in a few months and I need to travel in December, I was really hard pressed for time to apply for a new passport and I got in touch with an agent. I had to meet him to show my documents before he accepted money. It was a Saturday, and I had a meeting at church for the youth in the evening the next day I had classes and hence I could not meet this guy. Earlier this guy was particular about verifying the documents. I was explaining my appointments at church and how I cannot forego that, this person softened up immediately and said – Ma’am, you are so particular about church and I know all your documents would be right. I will go ahead and do the required procedures and you come when all your appointments are over.

Little things in life make your faith grow deeper. :-)
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What a person means to me is not equal to what I mean to that person. Some relationships just do not balance out. Another law of nature :-)
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It has always been difficult for me to be away from family – so much for the travelling jobs J and I have. I am going to the US for around 2 weeks in Dec and I am already missing my family. J laughs it off. The baby who made so much fuss for my first international travel, told me to bring as much chocolates as I can and didn’t mention a word about missing me or didn’t bother asking me when I will be back. Life can be cruel :-( and I will see to the two most important men in my life, after I return, suitably :-)
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Monday, February 02, 2015

Solitude

Serenity is thy name
you provide companionship with my own insignificant self
helping me to cherish my own company
an opportunity to belong to myself
with my own thoughts
I exist in the depths of my solitude
dreaming awake
truly living the moments that I want
 
Thy name is bliss
Strength is what I derive to go on in life
when I get time to spend in perfect solitude
million conversations with myself
with no fear of being judged
contemplating the known and the unknown of my mind
Solitude, I submit myself
unto you, and Implore to seek me often.