Monday, May 28, 2012

Use. Misuse. Reuse.

To all those Eco-activists, sorry to disappoint you, this is not a post on recycling.

Humans have changed. Humanity has changed. In today’s world, we all have great networks to remain in touch with our obscure relative who lives at the opposite end of the earth. We have become smart, our communications have become smarter. And we have learnt the art of “instant gratification”.

We use people around us to meet our ends. We misuse the kindness of someone to our own advantage. We are not shy to reuse a poor soul which has already been used and dumped by someone else.

What happened to the great virtues, like kindness, friendship, love and most important of all HUMANITY.

When I was a child, I saw great men and women around me, I saw them forge great relationships, a friendship was never for ones own advantage, a neighbor was never an enemy, the kind bus conductor didn’t think of his own discomfort to let a lady sit on his seat. Where are they now?

Why are we using people, why is a ‘friend’ just a ladder to success or a link to another powerful person, why is a ‘lover’ just there to satisfy ones sexual needs, why we do not bother to get into a brawl where an innocent is being beaten up, why don’t we help our neighbors anymore?

I have met some who only talk to me when they need something, at those times I feel like an ATM, to be only interacted with when they need to withdraw some benefits.

Humans are not things, they are not there for your advantage. Love them, hate them, but don’t use them.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Captured Evening

There is something soothing, something calming about evenings, specially the ones spent near water bodies. Here are few of my clicks, of a pleasant evening spent at Bandstand, even the pics are calming. 

Evenings always tell us, that the day that you had is coming to an end, the bad day or the good day, the boring day, or the super exciting day, its ending. And it is time for you to end today's worries, and relax and unwind to renew yourself for another day that will dawn after the evening sets and the night passes.

Enjoy the pictures!

Okay this one isn't of Bandstand, its a river which I clicked on my way to some place in the evening... But water bodies in all forms do calm me.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pentecost is not the “Happy Birthday” of the Holy Spirit…

…it’s the “Happy Birthday” of our spirituality…

Catholic Church celebrates Pentecost as a solemnity, a day to commemorate the descend of the Holy Spirit upon Mother Mary and the apostles

The upper room wasn’t exactly a nice place to hangout before the Resurrection! No. It was a refugee room for those who were afraid, lost, didn’t believe, lacked courage, who were hiding from the Roman centurions. It was a dark and dead place.

 And then, Jesus appeared to them in the same upper room! What joy it must have been for the apostles and the women and most of all for Mother Mary! The upper room was now a place of prayer, worship and deep fellowship.

This was what I call the ‘Jesus-encounter’ of the apostles. Do you remember your own ‘Jesus-encounter’?

For the next forty days Jesus stayed with them, teaching them, encouraging them, guiding them, and making them understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). On the day of Ascension, he commanded the disciples to wait, for the promised Gift of the Father, which would empower them to bear witness to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:4-8). And whoosh! He was taken up to heaven.

So what did the disciples do? They waited. And they prayed in one accord till the day came for them to receive the Holy Spirit. On the glorious day of Pentecost the Spirit of God descended upon them like great tongues of fire, they began speaking in strange tongues (some even thought that they were drunk!), and Peter stood up before all those people (3000 actually) and spoke boldly, bravely of Jesus and what a speech he made (yes that fisherman dude), people actually heard him and asked him what should they do! He asked them to repent and to get baptized. And guess what, all those 3000 people sold their property, turned from their sin and really did get baptized (now that’s what I call mass conversion!) and took Jesus as their Saviour.

So why didn’t this feat happen at the Resurrection? Or at the Ascension? Why didn’t Jesus directly ‘convert’ these Jews? And why didn’t Peter begin his ministry right after he saw the resurrected Lord?

Because, Jesus wanted the disciples to carry on his work, and the disciples needed the Gift to carry out the work!

You need a ‘Jesus-encounter’ to believe, the belief turns into faith with more such encounters and learning and deepening the faith, your faith becomes your spirituality, and your spirituality is incomplete without being a witness to the faith. To complete that spirituality you need the Gift.

So, it’s a day when your spirituality was complete! Happy Birthday! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I got a tiff with the IPL

IPL, you’ve got it all. The cricketers, the movie stars, the high profile business men and you-can-love-them-you-can-hate-them-but-you-cannot-ignore-them cheerleaders (another excuse for men to keep them glued to their TV set, cricket plus scantily clad women! BONUS!), then there are the merchandise (that people would kill each other to lay their hands on) and I don’t even want to go near the controversies. It’s a powerful magnate, charged with entertainment that has every one captivated, from a 10 year old kid to 60 year old man, and women too have found out through IPL that all cricket matches are not boring. So you now have IPL, its matches and its catches, its star power and its controversies, being discussed by everyone in the offices, on the road side, by the vegetable vendors, at the kitty parties, by house maids. IPL is the talk of the town.

And why wouldn’t it be the talk of the town! IPL offers gossiping material for everyone. You can discuss the performance of your favorite team, you can share views over whether the latest change in some team’s uniform is favorable or not. You have individual team anthems to choose from and also the new avatars of their cheer leaders. Speaking of cheerleading, it has its own fan following, some shout out against the cheerleading squads for corrupting our culture, others ogle and drool over them, some carry around a smug face that they don’t care a thing about these pom-poms carrying girls while secretly grabbing every opportunity to see them dance and twirl. Then there are the appearances and disappearances, reactions and lack of it of the movie star/business tycoon team owners to look forward to.

Throw into this a few controversies and you have a circus!

 Now don’t get me wrong I really got nothing against the IPL. I have watched some of the matches too and enjoyed them. I just want IPL to know that it has everything.

So, IPL, you are cool, you got it all, so will you please let my brother go? He didn’t even look at his dinner while the match was on. 

Hey... whats the score????

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

God at the steering wheel

God was at the steering wheel, and I by His side. We were driving through the life road, and there came a steep descend, I said to Him,

“Oh come on God! We really don’t want to go down THAT road, I can’t even see where it ends. And its so steep…”

To which God replied,

“I am driving, you will be safe. It may look very steep, but I know exactly how to drive through this road, and besides you only said you don’t know where this steep road ends, wouldn’t it be fun to figure it out? Just sit back and relax! Let me drive you through it…”

Adamant as I was, I wasn’t going to let go that easily.

“But I just ate you know, I don’t think I am ready for a steep descent, how about we drive through a different way? I am surely gonna puke if we roll down this slope…”

“Why don’t you believe me when I say that it just ‘looks’ steep. You will be safe with me, and I promise that you will find a fantastic place at the end of the road…. And dear muffin, I am GOD, are you really threatening me with a bit of puke???”

He laughed after saying that, but I wasn’t remotely amused. There were so many other ways we could go, why go down that stupid steep road? I had to do something, could not let Him drive through that road.

I cried, I sobbed, I wailed. 

“I don’t want to go down that road! I just don’t, don’t, don’t! Why are you doing this to me? Why won’t you just let me drive through in peace? Why this road Lord, why this road?” 

He just smiled and promised me an amazing ride. So we began our journey, down the steep slope, the panic within me rising…

He began the journey, and I felt the g-force pull me down, I was very frightened, I tried to grab the steering wheel to steer away, the car swirled wildly. All the way down the road I tried to control the steering wheel and take charge, oh the stubborn God of mine wouldn't let me.

In the process I got mildly bruised too. And my anger was rising increasingly, when suddenly the car came to a halt and a beautiful place met my eyes. Oh there were fountains and trees with birds singing in them, the laughter of children playing around the rosemary bushes and the air had a mild fragrance in it.

I was mesmerized. I turned to God to thank Him, when I saw He was looking at my bruises, I realized at that moment that I had made my journey unnecessarily uncomfortable by trying to take control of the wheel.

When God is at the wheel, make sure He has the freedom to steer the way He wants to too, and do trust His driving skills!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is India truly free?

I know it’s been a long time since the Republic Day and Independence Day is far away. But I did want to post this on a regular non-teaming-with-patriotic-sentiments day.

I boarded a bus to go to my college one day, it was mostly empty (an unusual thing), and so I chose a comfortable window seat, looking out the window. A few stops later a woman boarded the bus, with a child in her arms, inspite of many empty seats to choose from, she sat beside me. I gave her a smile and resumed my gazing out of the window exercise.

She opened the conversation after a few idle minutes. Asked me where I was going, in return told me the place she was headed to, she asked what I studied, in what year I was and so on. We chatted genially asking a few more general questions to and fro and then she dropped the bomb on me.

“You are a Patel?”

I told her I wasn’t; she was mildly surprised, told me I looked like one. Moments later she asked me again, “So what caste do you belong to?” With respect and the same genial manner I told her that I was a Christian.

She put her baby on her shoulder, grabbed her bag, and without a word got up from my seat and went to sit on another far away seat at the back of the bus. I was numbed with shock. Unable to believe what had happened. After a while I collected my thoughts, chose not to take it too personally and began gazing out of the window again!

The incident shook me to the core. The India about which I studied in a Social Studies class and the India I met in real life where stark opposites of each other.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pebbles in the Pond

She was sitting under a tree, throwing pebbles into the pond, still brooding over the events that took place earlier that day. Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Went the pebbles into the pond, each time creating a ripple in the calm water, her thoughts echoing an entirely different chaos.

He should not have yelled at me like that! So what if he’s my elder brother. I’ve grown old too now, I am not a baby anymore…

Plonk! Plonk! Plonk…!

And how dare he call me an idiot? I am not an idiot! I am as intelligent as he is, may be more! And what happened was an accident…

Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk…! 

I know he’s always had this hatred for me. Momma’s blue eyed boy! Why is he always trying to put me down!!! We are just a few years apart anyway. Why does he have to act so superior?

Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk! Plonk…!!!

I was insulted. I am ALWAYS insulted by him. This time, he’s going to pay for it! This time I will make him regret yelling at me! I will show him I am equal in all respects to him. This time…


She was wet; the big splash brought her back to reality. Droplets had formed on her face; her hair and dress were wet too. For a while she was confused. She had no idea who made the splash. With anger in her eyes she looked here and there to locate the source of the splash. She found no one. Slowly her eyes fell on her own palm. The one which was throwing pebbles in the pond. It now held a big stone. SHE had made the splash!

While brooding over her brother, she never realized when her hand began picking and chucking larger stones in the pond. With each passing thought her hand was grabbing a bigger pebble, till it turned into grabbing stones.

How often do we let, small grudges, misgivings and self pity to take a big ugly form by brooding over it, by unnecessarily dwelling on it?

Anger, ego, jealousy, self pity, pride, malice, vengeance, vanity all begin at pebbles, and we only realize their hazardousness once we are drenched by a big splash. Do you want to curb it at pebbles? Or are you waiting to get wet?


Spirituality. A word often used by many to convey different concepts. Right from following a specific religion or worshiping a certain god, to different precise practices within the same religion, spirituality encompasses these all and more.

But if I add another word to ‘spirituality’, it takes up a whole different meaning. The word I would like to add is ‘Catholic’.

Catholic Spirituality: The beautiful means of combining the inner search for God with our actions. The pathway to know, show and grow in Faith by, through and in union with the Holy Spirit.

Catholic Spirituality is a rich well to draw from. A search in Wikipedia will give you some 18 different forms of Catholic Spirituality. And I am sure there are more.

You as an individual may follow one or more of these spiritualities. Some may be Benedictine, others Carmelite, or Charismatic, Ignatian, Franciscan or a combination of these, whichever suits you the best! All of these forms aspire to achieve the same goal. A Faith bound union with God.

A week or so ago, I asked myself a question. Do I just use my ‘spirituality’ during the time of prayers and worship evenings? Does being a Charismatic mean only to shout ‘Hallelujah’s’ in prayer meetings?

Yes, spirituality does mean praying in a certain way, a specifically drawn path to reach out to the Higher Being during our hours of prayer and meditation. But that does not mean that the spirituality we follow is only restricted to our ‘prayer life’.

As St. James truly said:

“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17

Do you actually make your spirituality a way of your life? Is your Dominican /Benedictine /Francisan /Charismatic /Carmelite /Ignatian /Whatever spirituality reflected in your daily activities that you do in life? Do you drive like Charismatic, speak like a Carmelite, work like a Franciscan?

We, who are not suffering from bipolar disorder, should stop living a double life and let our faith inspire our action. Let your SPIRITUALITY be SPIR’ACTUALITY’.

So tell me, which spiractuality do you follow?